My friend Sondra Barrett, of just sent this to me as an idea for another blog story:

“Thought of you when I read this – a future blog – growing  grapes helps writing?”

Sondra had just read a New York Times Story about Emilio Estevez, entitled, “Growing Grapes as Part of a Real-Life Script.” According to the author, Amy Wallace:

The year was 2005, and Mr. Estevez was working on ‘Bobby,’ a film he wrote and directed, about the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. The couple lived, as they still do, in a Spanish-style home on a one-acre lot in Malibu — not exactly a prime locale for vintners.

“Mr. Estevez had already planted the front yard with vines, ignoring the protests of his parents, Martin and Janet Sheen, who live right down the street. (According to him, they said: ‘You’re out of your mind. What are you doing?’) Now, excepting the house, the pool and the bocce court, he was determined to fill almost every square inch of the property with 800 vines.”

Estevez told Amy that what he’s doing is a meditation. He’ll tend vines, get an idea, run inside and write it down, then run back outside to tend his vines.

I certainly understand this, as that’s also how many of my ideas are born. Two weeks ago as I began my morning yoga, the name “When it was like a Mirror” popped into my head, as I was finding that quiet place for beginning my morning routine. Not letting the title slip away, I came to my computer, and the entire prose poured out. Then I returned to my yoga, going right back to that quiet place. Meanwhile, once it was published on my blog, my friend Jackie simply wrote to me, “Wow! Wow! Wow!”

EXCERPT: I looked west, searching for the Far East, and an occasional bird’s song enraptured the experience like a moist rice paper… perfectly delicious.

Except for the bird songs, the silence was almost impenetrable. An occasional fish’s grasping of insects on the surface of the water also broke the silence… A quick little splash, and the concentric, outward flowing rings that traveled to their final destination were mesmerizing.

I have three vines that I tend in my back yard, so I can’t get out there for extended periods of time, because they’re very simple to take care of. I have them because they help me to understand what’s going on in the vineyards, if I can’t make a trip to vineyards on any given day.

If I did get to spend more time with my vines, I surely know that it would give me more writing material. My extended times are when I go to visit my winery friends and walk their property. It’s impossible to go on a vineyard walk and not have something new to come away with that’s worth writing. I’m sure most wine writers will tell you about this one. It also makes me wonder why more people don’t interview wine grape growers… those viticultural people who live outside just about every day. I have an interview set up with one this coming week, only by coincidence. I think that this interview is going to take a bit of an esoteric twist beyond the mundane.

How interesting that plays can also be written in vineyards. I’m betting that songs can also be written there, too… If only birds could talk English or French, or Portuguese, etc.

Vineyards inspire the heart and soul in all of us. Lucky are we who have the ability to articulate something as a result.

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