Saturday, December 29, 2012

Am I Back?

The question is directed at me, not at you, if there are any of you right now.

Yeah, it's been a long while. This week, I finished my latest book (my fourth). This one is about the rise and fall of a Finger Lakes winery that once ranked 6th in the domestic winery pantheon. It is important to big wineries that we know where they fall in the ranking. I have no idea why such a thing is important, but it is to them--they boast endlessly about their ranking, provided it's in the top ten.

This book took me more than two years to complete. It also took me on the road a few times, to the West Coast and the South. I had to find some people I needed to interview. It's a good thing I came up with the idea for this book when I did--many of the people involved are up there in years.

Before I got into the wine business I was in the business of creating and producing shows for corporations; mostly sales, new product intro, or promotional events. We took shows from initial design to production to presentation in what often took months to complete. These were big events in hotels and in theaters. The one thing that I could count on after every show was what we called post-show depression--a crushing sense that life or a piece of it had just come to a crashing halt.

When I left that business I also left post-show depression behind--until this week. This particular book was research-heavy and quite detailed. For more than two years, when I wasn't traveling my daily routine had me at the keyboard right after breakfast and the treadmill, until lunch time. I walked the dog, ate lunch, went downtown to get my mail from the PO Box and run whatever other errands I had to run, and returned to the keyboard for the remainder of the day.

All of a sudden, I have no set daily routine, at least not until I start another book, if I ever do. There are moments when I find myself wondering what to do next, and the terrible feeling of going back to the book--again--to do a few edits sucks me in if I am not careful. Art is the pursuit of perfection. An artwork is really never finished because it is rarely perfect.

Whatever it was that caused me to get back to the blog certainly hasn't given me much to say. I suppose I could say something nasty and snarky about a certain Canadian wine writer who made the wine news earlier this month, but I won't. I took part--minutely--in a little bashing on the HoseMaster's blog, but I felt unclean after that. It's too easy to type out snark and then go smugly on our way to doing what we normally do, much of which I am sure many others will find equally snark worthy as well. Sometimes, our little wine world is like a sandbox or schoolyard where we are challenged to get along but often fail the test.

Some wine bloggers simply get on my nerves with their opinions; some make me laugh with their comedic talent; some make me want to join the NRA for cover so that I can take them out. In fact, the Internet could easily be classified as one big snark fest.

Am I rambling?

Yes, I am.

Am I back?

Who the hell knows?


  1. Hello there, oh great Snark-maestro! Snark on, And f people don't like what you have to say they don't have to read it, do they? I have no doubt that you are a person who doesn't hide behind a keyboard: I am fairly certain that if you had something snarky to say in person, you'd just say it.
    Anyway, congrats on finishing the book and it's nice to see you blogging again...

  2. VG,

    The story of my life can be told in the number of black eyes, cuts, bruises, and general beatings I've had to take--because I have (had?) a big mouth.

    I never thought it would come to this, but with age I am definitely mellowing, seeing the world slightly less in need of correction and more in need of affection.

    Introspection consumes me now, as I wonder what my next book will be, or will there be a next book at all?

    Writers are simultaneously perfectionists and masochists--have I gotten the order reversed?

  3. Welcome back! Perhaps you can bring some honor to a scandal-filled year.

  4. The "honor among thieves" type of honor?

    I don't see scandals anywhere. For an activity to be scandalous it has to take place inside an activity that has merit.

    Wine blogging and wine reviewing = merit? Nah.

    I was thinking about you a couple of days ago. Hope all is well.

  5. Thomas,
    "Snark" is too easy a word to toss around. It gets applied in a derogatory fashion to almost every bit of critical writing that one disagrees with that isn't cutesy or insipid. Was Swift "snarky" (well, no, the word didn't exist then), was Twain? (perish the thought). One of my hopes for 2013 is that the word "snark" goes away. It sounds like a harelipped narcotics detective. And, aside from you, my friend, only witless people use it.

    That said, I hope you return to blogging, only more regularly. Not that once a month thing. Have some fun, stop trying to make it all perfect, say whatever you want to say, and I'll read it. Hell, I'll even reinstate you on my blog roll so my other ten readers will show up.

    Happy New Year!

  6. Ron,

    Odd as it seems, I agree with you--about "snark." If I wasn't being sloppy (which is to say, blogging) I would not use that word at all--really; believe me; I'm not kidding; cross my heart; lightening should str--no, I better not go there.

    Incidentally, Twain was snarky, Swift was just fast.

    Oh please, me blog more than once a month? That's like my dog driving a car more than in my dreams, which he has done in my dreams, and quite well, too.

    Mea culpa: I am a slave to the concept of perfection--a slave, not necessarily a practitioner.