Since moving my blog here from myspace, I have tried to keep my blog entries focused on content that could stand alone, timeless pieces that could be read any time in the future and maintain relevance. I didn’t want to write overly personal or topical pieces.

Today, I am breaking my own rules to say many things, all in one blog entry, none of the things I share today merit their own full entry, but taken together you may get a better glimpse into the writer of the other stand alone entries, past and future, in my blog.

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Although I rent and have no home renovation skills at all, I love watching Home & Garden television, I imagine owning my home and making it feel comfortable, warm and inviting. Recently, I have enjoyed watching a show from HGTV Canada called Holmes on Homes. Mike Holmes helps out home owners who fall victim to shoddy and shady contractors; instead of doing ‘mere’ renovations, Holmes starts with a disastrously botched job performed by a previous “professional contractor” and corrects myriad deficiencies. Although I have none of Holmes’ skill, I admire his “make it right” ethos, and find his television show compelling.

I feel I lack artistry in my writing. I do not have the beautiful turn of phrase, wit, or ability to paint a picture with word easily that I find in the writing of some other writers. It used to bother me that my writing lacked elegance. Instead of an artist, I felt like a laborer.

I craft each piece, word by word. It is work. It is always easier when I have something to say than when I sit down at the computer searching for something to say. To that end, I will not post just to post, but only post the entries that have a reason for being.

I have come to accept that, instead of an artist, I am a craftsman with words. If I keep at it, I hope to emulate Mike Holmes and become a highly skilled master craftsman, by adopting the “make it right’ attitude for my own writing.

I will confess that my work often needs multiple readings and edits before I post it, and I still find myself making additional edits to published work all too often.

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30 years ago, I acted in musical and dramatic theater. A teacher and director helped me make a dramatic interpretation piece more real; he instructed me to imagine delivering the lines to a real person I knew, make the monologue one half of a conversation by holding the receiver of the lines as real in my imagination as possible. The result was an enormously improved audition piece, a conversation (even only one side) is better than a monologue.

I have found myself using the same device recently in my writing. So, you don’t get wine writers or the wine industry? I know why. was really inspired by an ongoing online conversation I was having with a mostly non-wine drinking friend. In writing with Rob in mind, I didn’t come off as disingenuous criticizing wine writers and the wine industry as a wine writer and oft time part of the wine industry. Similarly, when I wrote Wine and pregnancy, a healthy mix. I was inspired by the experiences of my niece. In writing with Jennifer in mind, I didn’t feel like just one more man bloviating on women’s issues.

I will try to write with a point of view, create well crafted work, and make it all feel like the beginning of a conversation.

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Your comments mean so much to me. I appreciate the effort each of you who have made in commenting on my writing. I get a tingle of electricity, a thrill, each time I see a new comment on my blog. I welcome comments. Conversations are not one sided; while my initial blog entry may start a conversation, it is the input of each of you that enrich this blog. I am often in awe of the generosity and artistry some of you demonstrate in writing the comments you leave.

Charlie Olken is a supertar commenter; his comments appear on the pages of many of the “important” and most read wine bloggers. Olken’s comments often are more eloquent and well written than the post he is responding to.

This blog has a Charlie Olken. Nancy Howard Cameron Iannios is a friend from high school, and we are much better friends today than we ever were in high school. Nancy has a wealth of unique past experiences, lives in Oregon with her incredibly generous and perfect-for-her husband Aris and their young daughter Lia, and she is hugely skilled as an Oregon winery tasting room and wine club manager. This morning, Nancy’s older daughter Rachel gave birth to a baby boy, Zak. Let this be the first blog, wine or otherwise, to welcome Zak to the world.

Nancy has contributed comments to this blog, and to various facebook posts, that make me just shake my head wondering what I did to deserve such a good friend.

That Nancy’s comments are often better written than my original post is a testament to Nancy’s generosity and intelligence.

Nancy is a welcome and appreciated contributor to this blog.

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I had wanted to write Friends don’t let friends Vacu-Vin for many years, and it may have been one of the easiest pieces for me to write. It was a letter to everyone who has one or is considering buying or gifting one.

Writing it put me back in touch with Eliiott Mackey from the Wine Appreciation Guild (thanks to Shannon Essa). In a little online back and forth, Elliott recommended a topic or two for me to consider writing about. One topic was wine and health, another was censorship.

These two topics obviously inspired my piece on wine and pregnancy, so, thanks Elliott.

Greater thanks go to Nancy for her brilliant comment response to the entry. I think Nancy’s heartfelt personal sharing allowed for many of the wonderful responses from women that followed. Thanks to Vinogirl (I don’t know your ‘real’ name), Grace, Tamara, and Karen for both your thoughts and your support.

Each of your contributions added texture and value to my original post.

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I think my two best pieces of writing from the archive that I wrote when the blog was on myspace, but are getting missed by you here are A tale of two Merlots and My Piner High School Class of 1979 Reunion Weekend Recap; give them a read if you get the chance. While typically workmanlike in their construction, I occasionally paint a picture with words in each.

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I headed over look at Rick Bakas’ site http://rickbakas.com/ and was impressed with the beauty found in the pictures of food that grace his pages. Food porn.

I have been relying too long on my iPhone’s 2 megapixel camera for my site’s photography. While the best camera in the world is the one you have with you, and my iPhone is always with me; inspired by Back to Bakas, I bought a new 10.1 megapixel camera and some new plates that will present food well for future shoots.

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I am heading to Tierra, an art, garden and wine bar in Ukiah, hoping they are open in Mondays, I want to taste some wines from local winemakers. I also want to find some pork belly to cook. I wonder what I’ll post about next entry. Hmmm.