I’ve spent years trying to hone my skills, trying to make everyone think I’m all slick, cool and could give two shits about what others think about me, and for the most part…it’s true but I have a weakness, one area where I can be easily wounded, and just as easily elated. It used to be wine, I was terrified that someone would think I didn’t know enough, or thought my palate was crap, so I just kept tasting, kept learning and now, now I am pretty secure about wine. I’ve had some of the best in the business tell me that I have a good palate, and when you have had someone like Michael Sullivan of Beaune Imports tell you that he is impressed with your palate…well let’s just say it’s a giant spike in the confidence department…feel pretty good about my wine chops.
The one place I get all sheepish where I feel exposed and insecure…well, it’s here, here and in The Wine Country newsletter, it’s writing. Words have always been powerful for me, I would rather get punched than have someone say something hurtful, the words hurt more to me…kinda weird, but very true. When Randy asked me to start writing for the newsletter I was absolutely stricken with fear, terrified and absolutely convinced that I was embarking on a task that was going to make me look like an enormous jackass, and the 10,000 readers of The Wine Country newsletter would see me for the 10th grade dropout, hack that I am.
Cannot tell you what I wrote about first, I assure you I was twisted with anxiety when I sent it to Randy, but for the life of me I cannot remember what it was. I started with wine write ups and eventually Randy started requesting full articles…horrible, it was horrible for me, each time I hit send it felt like a dink was being taken out of my armor. So imagine what it was like when Randy slapped down a, just-from-the-printer newsletter in front of me with MY article as the cover story…elated? Hell NO, I felt naked and stupid. He stood there, beaming that giant, radiant Randy smile, (he was so excited and proud) and there I stood feeling like he had just thrown me to the wolves, I still feel bad about that by the way…he looked so deflated and confused, like why wouldn’t I be thrilled….easy for him as he is a brilliant writer, not as easy for me.
I waited, waited to hear the snide comments and have people point out my grammatical errors, thing was, it didn’t happen. Matter of fact people were very kind, they had nice things to say and congratulated me for making the cover…shit they even bought the things I wrote about. I was in no way over the hurdle, (still not!) but it went a long way in making the process less painful. It was once again Michael Sullivan that lent me his hand and pulled me out of the muck, or pulled my head out of my ass in probably closer to the truth, and set me on the path where I find myself now.
Michael took me to France back in 2003, opened up a world for me that was full of wonder, aromas and flavors I could never have imagined…my head spun the entire time I was there, to this day there are pieces of time missing, as if remembering them is still too huge, more spinning than I can bare. It was on that trip that Michael called me a peer, almost cried…seriously, and picked at me a bit, poking me and forced me outta my shell, (man do I bet he wishes he could go back in time and stuff me back in!) pick, pick, CRACK….found my voice.
When I retold the story of my trip, the things I saw, the people I met, the things I tasted, it was retold with a different head and much louder voice, the response from those newsletter articles was astounding, simply astounding. Now, well now I simply won’t shut up! And while I am less fearful when I write now, I still feel a tad naked and not quite steady on my feet…may always have that.
Randy covers me with praise and our newsletter readers have been amazingly supportive, so humbling and reassuring but there were two things that were nipping away at me; one is that a large chunk of people that read the newsletter still think Randy writes all of it, it’s okay I guess but one does tire of hearing, “Who was that guy in the Loire Valley that Randy wrote about? You know, the one that died”…when it was you that poured your heart into that piece. Sure in the scheme of things it doesn’t matter, they are there to buy what was written about…no matter who wrote it, but still kinda stinks. The other issue? I had more to say. More than would fit or be appropriate for the pages of the newsletter, and so Sans Dosage was born.
Now I can rant, piss and moan, retell drunkard stories and emote about wine, the Lakers or any little damn thing I please, really rather liberating and I didn’t really have to worry about being all nekkid because who was gonna read it? Um…yeah, turns out…people are reading, and no that’s not a pimple it’s a birthmark!
In the past few weeks I have been literally overwhelmed by people reaching out to me, saying the most incredibly nice things, telling me things like, “I sat down to read one post and kept reading for an hour” you cannot know, (but should) how happy you make me when I hear things like that…from this, this silly blog. Un freaking believable, my heart is swollen with pride and I am bubbling over with appreciation for all of you…I just wanted to thank you, from the bottom of my swelling heart…thank you all.
So that’s it, no smartass comments, no poking fun. Just me feeling profoundly grateful for all of your support and wanting to tell you how much it means to me…and helps me on my, “not looking like a jackass” journey. I’ll be a fun poking, drunk storytelling, jackass another day, today was a day of heartfelt thanks. Sam