Write and Shine

Writing advice doesn’t get better than Seymour’s note to brother Buddy in JD Salinger’s Seymour, An Introduction.

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I dread saying anything to you tonight, dear old Buddy, except the trite. Please follow your heart, win or lose. You got so mad at me when we were registering…. Do you know what I was smiling at? You wrote down that you were a writer by profession. It sounded to me like the loveliest euphemism I had ever heart. When was writing ever your profession? It’s never been anything but your religion. Never. I’m a little over-excited now. Since it is your religion, do you know what you will be asked when you die? But let me tell you first what you won’t be asked. You won’t be asked if you were working on a wonderful, moving piece of writing when you died. You won’t be asked if it was a long or short, sad or funny, published or unpublished. You won’t be asked if you were in good or bad form while you were working on it. You won’t even be asked if it was the one piece of writing you would have been working on if you had known your time would be up when it was finished – I think only poor Sören K. will get asked that. I’m so sure you’ll get asked only two questions. Were most of your stars out? Where you busy writing your heart out​? If only you knew how easy it would be for you to say yes to both questions. If only you’d remember before ever you sit down to write that you’ve been a reader long before you were ever a writer. You simply fix that fact in your mind, then sit very still and ask yourself, as a reader, what piece of writing in all the world Buddy Glass would most want to read if he had his heart’s choice. The next step is terrible, but so simple I can hardly believe it as I write it. You just sit down shamelessly and write the thing yourself. I won’t even underline that. It’s too important to be underlined. Oh, dare to do it, Buddy! Trust your heart. You’re a deserving craftsman. It would never betray you. Good night. I’m feeling very much over-excited now, and a little dramatic, but I think I’d give almost anything on earth to see you writing a something, an anything, a story, a poem, a tree, that was really and truly after your own heart… Love, S

Next time you sit down to write ask: Are all my stars out? Am I writing my heart out?

Oregon Wine Pioneers Stockists

Bookshops… a great place to be.

Cila Warncke Writer

Vine Lives: Oregon Wine Pioneers is crossing continents and oceans!
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In addition to being available online at AMAZON.COM, AMAZON.CO.UK, and VineLiv.es it is in stock at the following independent bookstores:

Portland, OR:
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W Burnside St., Portland, OR97209 Phone: 503-228-4651

Broadway Books
1714 NE Broadway, Portland, OR 97232 Phone: 503-284-1726

Annie Bloom’s Books
7834 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR 97219 Phone: 503-246-0053

Wallace Books
7241 SE Milwaukie Ave, Portland, OR 97202 Phone: 503-235-7350

Salem, OR:
Escape Fiction
3240 Triangle Dr. SE, Salem Oregon, USA, Phone: (503) 588-5865

Reader’s Guide
735 Edgewater NW, Salem, OR, USA, Phone: (503) 588-3166

Newberg, OR:
The Coffee Cottage
808 E Hancock Street, Newberg, OR. 97132 Phone: 503-538-5126

Chapter’s Books & Coffee
701 E 1st Street, Newberg, OR 97132 Phone: 503-554-0206

McMinnville, OR:
Third Street Books
334 NE 3rd St, McMinnville, OR, USA, Phone: (503) 472-7786

Aloha, OR:

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Poem of the Month: O Me, O Life! by Walt Whitman

October flew – here I am on the 30th only just adding my poem of the month. Work. Moving. Family. Love. What good, amid these, o time taken to memorise poetry? Answer: that the enrichment outweighs the effort.

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Oh Me, O Life!  by Walt Whitman

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,

Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,

Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)

Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,

Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,

Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,

The question, O me! so sad, recurring – What good amid these, O me, O life?

Answer:

That you are here – that life exists and identity,

That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse

Share your favourite “city” poem in the comments.

How To Be Creative: Vino y Co

Creativity isn’t the exclusive privilege of so-called creative professions. You can be a creative retailer, waiter, mechanic, teacher, or botanist.

To see this in action, step inside the sliding glass doors of Vino y Co in Sant Jordi, Ibiza. Behind the counter are the shop’s yin and yang: Jeroen Hamersma and daughter Rosa. He sports Cuban shirts and black-rimmed specs that snap together at the front; thick dark hair styled in a wind-tunnel. She is cool and elegant, with freckles and a showstopping smile.

Rosa & Jeroen

Rosa & Jeroen

Jeroen got into wine thanks to his brother Harold, one of the Netherland’s top wine critics. Indulging his interest wasn’t easy after he and his family moved to Ibiza, so he started shipping over the odd pallet for personal consumption. Friends asked for bottles, then cases. In 2009 Jeroen went pro and opened Vino y Co. Later persuading Rosa, a successful print designer in London, to return home and become a partner.

Rosa and her dad prove creativity is about how you do what you do. Invest your work with Curiosity, Relationships, Ethos, Aesthetic, Time, Integrity, Value, and Expertise and it will be creative.

Curiosity: Amidst the shop’s wall of white wine is a book nook. Among them, cloth-bound wine almanacs Jeroen bought in the ’80s in Amsterdam. He read, bought and drank teaching himself vintage, varietals and terroir. These days a laptop sits on the shop counter, poised to answer arcane questions about anything from geology to recipes.

Jeroen and friends

Jeroen & friends

Relationships: “Wine sellers are story-tellers,” is one of Rosa and Jeroen’s favourite sayings. Like all good story-tellers, they are adept at making relationships between people, places, and things. Jeroen can take someone looking for “Rioja, I guess” and deftly connect them something they would have never thought to try. Rosa can glance at a bottle and tell you what restaurant will sell it, who will order it and what they’ll eat.

Ethos: A wine shop is a wine shop, unless it’s
Vino y Co. Then it’s a crusade. Jeroen and Rosa’s passion is fruit-driven, expressive wine made by inventive, idiosyncratic, often downright eccentric oenologists. It’s what they drink, buy, sell, and tirelessly promote. They scorn drinking (much less buying) wine based on fashion or reputation.

Aesthetic: Vino y Co is part of an anonymous retail strip on a busy road. But inside is a chapel. Its rosé collection is shelved along the all-glass shopfront, turning it into a glorious stained-glass wall of wine. The zinc-topped counter is faced with wood Jeroen salvaged from packing crates. Tables run lengthwise between shelves of wine, artfully arrayed with books and bottles.

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Time: It took 25 years for Jeroen’s oenophilia to blossom into a business,and Vino y Co is the better for slow ripening. You feel it when you step inside: they are efficient but not hasty, prompt without rushing. Jeroen can talk for hours to curious customers; Rosa doesn’t begrudge gift-wrapping or pouring lemonade for kids while their parents browse.

Integrity: Vino y Co operates at a level of transparency rare on an island whose operational principle is that corners were made to be cut. It is over-the-counter, on-the-books legit. “That’s how I do business,” Jeroen says. Integrity is essential to creativity. Without it, creation lapse into imitation.

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Value: After tasting a superb Casa Cesilia Sauvignon Blanc-Macabeo I checked the price – seven Euros and change. The memorable Gran Cerdo Rioja is about six-fifty. Fabulous Suriol Cava is under a tenner. They could charge more but their priority is to make good wine accessible, and win repeat business. Properly valued work is an excellent way to earn both respect and a living.

Expertise: It is hard to leave Vino y Co as ignorant as you arrived. In the course of a few casual visits I sample Spain’s rising-star grape (Mencía), learn about native fermentation, and discover what ‘sans dosage’ means on a Champagne label. Rosa and Jeroen are equally adroit with restaurant recommendations, saké lore, island gossip, politics, geography, travel, books, design, and fashion. This is the stamp of a creative: never bored and never boring.

Vino y Co
Address: Carretera Ibiza-Sant Josep, 60 (km 1.6, Can Bellotera)
Web: vinoyco.com
Phone: +34 971 305 324
Opening hours: M-F: 10:00-14:00, 17:00-20:00, Sat 10:00-14:00, Sun closed

Cheers!

Cheers!

Ibiza Writing Challenge

Blogging daily in August for my Ibiza Writing Challenge was incredibly rewarding.

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It was a pleasure to go through old photos, choose favourite quotes, and connect with new friends. Massive thanks to all of you who liked, followed and joined in the conversation and inspiration over the past month.

I’d like to do something special to thank everyone who’s read the blog over the past month, so I’ll put it to a vote. Would you like:

A) Another article in the ‘How To Be Creative’ series?
B) A downloadable PDF of the highlights of my ‘How to Write Non-Fiction’ series?
C) My Top 5 Writing Craft Guides as a PDF?

Please vote in the comments!