Sunday, December 11, 2016

at the homefarm


long time, no see 

I have been having the itch to write again.  I've noticed it in the lengthy texts I write to friends, and the wine notes I record that somehow have the opportunity to become poems.  After the last book which took three years to write and a Herculean amount of energy, after I turned in those last pages, after the book came out, I wasn't sure I'd ever have anything to write again.  I felt like I'd used it all up in An Unlikely Vineyard and that I'd exhausted any avenue of what I might have to share further.

When people have kindly asked me, "Are you working on something else?" or "Are you writing?" I've been saying "No" in response, without elaboration and rather unapologetically.  Because what has there been to say? After a time, I began answering with the notion that I might pick up fiction again, but only genre.  "Maybe I'll write romances, or European-style mysteries.   Can you think of a good pen name?" I'd quip, and laugh. But for a writer, or someone who associates themselves with the written word, it's not necessarily a laughing matter.  To suddenly be rendered relatively mute, to not be inspired to put something down to paper or screen, is a loss.  But maybe I've never really thought of myself truly as a writer because I am other things?

I am a winegrower, that I know deep in the belly of my bones.  I am a farmer, a restaurateur, a sommelier of sorts.  I grow flowers.  I like to harvest vegetables, to take photographs.  I like to set the table, paint walls, create a landscape.  And I might call myself by any of these things at any time.  But "writer" has always seemed elusive, or forgotten.  And when I felt that perhaps An Unlikley Vineyard was my last hurrah, maybe the last book, I tried not to grieve, to worry, to feel like a part of me had come to an end and it was time to move on.  I don't like endings.  The end of a meal is melancholy.  An empty glass is full of tristesse. The end of a story often ends in tears.  I only gravitate toward beginnings.  The first taste, the first glass, the first time.  I stitch these together to make up my days. So, the notion that this particular time might herald the end of my writing, the end of an era in so many aspects of my life, hasn't seemed appealing.  And somehow easy to not acknowledge.  I can keep focusing on those beginnings.  My husband Caleb and I are good at those, and we keep turning to them.

Then sometime a few months ago, I began writing longer captions to photographs I would post, or writing snippets of images or memories down in the notebook on my phone.  The notes in my farming and fermentation journal have become toothier and more existential. Something was changing, shifting, drawing me.  I got the notion that I might re~engage in this blog.  But I wondered if it was worth the time and energy.  Would I actually come here to write?  Would anyone else join me? I came around to the idea that this would simply be a place to take notes and write ideas down again.  It would be for me to record, and if anybody wanted to come along for the ride, grand.

Then it started to happen.  Ideas for books.  Something about poems and memories sketched by the portrait of a wine. Then there was something about a Frenchman who came to America in the 1800's and grew grapes, made wine, and his connection to a grape varietal from which I make a wine.  A little animal inside of me cocked it's ears. And then there was something about food, gardens, harvests, tables, telling the tale as it's happening, bringing that table home.  It was like something sharp and precise on my tongue, the taste of something salty egging me on.

I returned to these practically defunct pages, like an old house where the old lady died a few years ago and the great-grand-niece comes to consider laying claim to the structure.  I tinkered with the idea of a simple renovation. I struggled.  Then it was done.  Ready and waiting for whenever I wanted to start.  If I wanted to start.   I saw the date of the last post I made: December 11, 2013.  I saw an opportunity, to christen the endeavor with a bit of luck, maybe even magic.  I could publish my first new post on December 11, a Sunday, three years later.  I'm a believer in cycles and the number three.  I believe most cycles happen in three.  I could start again and see where these pages lead.

So here I am writing.  It's hard to shut up a writer.  Once a writer, always a writer?  Probably.  I worry that I won't feel inspired or have time to write anything down the next time I visit, and this will be a false start. There will be wine to bottle, or a dinner to serve, or vines to be pruned, or seedlings to start.  But here is my hope: An update if you will, every month, not unlike the postcards I send out about what is happening at the farm, in the winery, at the osteria.  But to have this space to go a little deeper, or a little more fragmented, or a little more poetic, whatever the medium provides.  A place to record recipes that we're serving in the new tavernetta, or a tasting note about a wine that has fully captured my attention, or thoughts on an article about wine or food or art that causes introspection, or a photograph of a sliver of moon rising above the winery at the blue-black moment of dusk, a bright Venus sparking the sky below the crescent.

It's here I'll give it another go.  Let me know if you're reading, if you want to pop in and say hello.  I'll be here, and would love the company.


Michele Campbell said...

Hi Deirdre, wonderful to hear your voice. My experience has been that the words always come. I will read whatever you put here. Xoxo, Michele

Sarah Heffron said...

Hi Deirdre, A pleasure to read your writing as always. We'll be listening when you feel moved to write. Excited to see you soon! -S

grongar said...

I'm so happy you're here writing again! I know exactly that feeling of being wordless--it's one of the scariest feelings a writer can have. And when I have it, I try to remind myself that every field needs its fallow time, and I believe every writer does, too. So looking forward to seeing what blooms here.

Valerie said...

Truly hoping your newly reconfigured lives afford more space and inspiration for you to share your voice in this space, or in books, or as Insta-epigrams. As Sarah said above, when you do, we'll be here to welcome it.