-- delayed, derailed, unbent, unhorsed...?
A pen, a pen-- my kingdom for a pen!
Run, sit zazen, write, loiter, browse, mull it over...now is the morning overcast in Murphys dispelled & warmed into glorious Indian summer '--by this sun of York'.
The misshapen, yet lovely, gibbous moon rose like a casual gob of cosmic mustard over the Oakland hills, flashing between the Bay Bridge girders in rotoscope animation. I was behind a steering wheel for the first time in a whole year, driving East towards the Calaveras County foothils of the Sierra Nevada after a decade of rail & roading rather strictly North & South along the coast in my visits to the Golden State, the former Bear Flag Republic. Kicking up the road ambience with a mix of cultural dislocation & time warp, a version in Portuguese of the old pop ditty 'Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini' played on the radio.
Deflating Selene's form brought the pretty young woman at the Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco to mind. She stood out among the layered-bagpants neo-hipppie chicks & the boho-patrician gypsy-skirted Boomers, wearing a close-fitting denim jacket buttoned up to the neck & short-short cutoff sweats that brought attention to her long, well-turned legs. What's her story, I wondered? Then she turned around: her left arm was missing. I stared-- it seemed a trick of the light, a problem with my glasses...
What is it about flawed or wounded beauty that will bring us to our knees in a welter of contradictory emotions?
Maybe it's the way it pointedly engages the (dominant, normatively male) gaze with the discomfort of self-consciousness without denying or shutting out the desire it excites-- but how much am I projecting my own issues with self-image & self-acceptance (--& desire, & aesthetics...) & how much am I also being invited to project, in such a situation? How aware or at all concerned might this woman be of the range of reactions her particularly striking appearance may trigger?
I haven't read deeply enough in Feminist Critical Theory to address any of these issues in a consistent & disciplined manner, yet I feel compelled to raise them & explore how they might have some bearing on writing that concerns the evaluation of sensuous (sensory?) pleasure-- i.e., in relation to wine; with attendant & pertinent debates on the possible desirability of strictly defining objective vs. subjective criteria for such evaluation.
These weightier concerns have hijacked what I had planned as a travel update in a much lighter vein, focusing on my visit to Murphys & Twisted Oak Winery. I am much indebted to both 'El Jefe' Jeff Stai & 'Fermento el Magnífico', Scott Klann, in ways I must absolutely find time & occasion to detail forthwith, at greater & more leisurely length. For not-quite-full disclosure of my personal relationship with this winery, this post & this one will provide some background.
The Wine Bloggers' Conference is scheduled for the upcoming weekend, & a sizable sampling of intensely dedicated wine professionals & amateurs who double as Internet-focused scribes (read: bloggers!) are looking to meet up & possibly test their sense of community as well as define their relationship to the broader worlds of the wine industry & wine journalism. Serious debate on the above topics & others of more practical import--on making some sort of a living from this sort of writing, & the tools to achieve this, for example-- is on the conference's agenda & I look forward to meeting some of the outsize personalities making their mark in this field, this context, this realm.
Still, the inner parent's voice in my head keeps nagging, 'A little knowledge is a dangerous thing'...welcome to the Hotel California!