Friday, July 10, 2009

Okay, I'm A Dork

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.


Michael Hughes said...

I love this post! I feel like I know you so much more know. Obviously you have a way with words because whatever you're feeling is conveyed in this blog. Cheers!

Michael Hughes said...

Oops. I meant "know you so much more NOW". Sheesh!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Sam,

You already know how I feel about you and your writing abilities. And since you're not being a drunk, storytelling jackass today, I won't be either. OK, I'm still a jackass.

You have more talent than all of the attendees at the 2009 Wine Bloggers Conference put together (ah, if only there were a trash compactor big enough for that). Your humility is touching, your writing skills unquestioned in this quarter. Punctuation, by the way is highly, overrated.

I would gladly spend my days reading you--especially you in Braille...

I Love You
Your HoseMaster

Samantha Dugan said...

I've had more praise in the last few weeks than I think I can stand...enough, this is NOT about me, or a me looking to be stroked, it's me thanking all make me better and want to be better...I owe you so much, but Ron, not THAT much!
Hugs to you both.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Sam,

OK. Never mind. I shall worship you from a distance.

Your HoseMaster

Samantha Dugan said...

Okay...feeling kinda jackass right now. Ron, you know I love you...and Michael you and I share a Rose and puppy love, just don't want this to turn into a "You are a great writer" post...this is about you all, I adore you all, I really do.

Benito, Ron, Michael, Vicki, Heather, William, Richard, John, Lawrence Kansas, Bethpage New York, Vancouver BC, Rancho Palos Verdes, my heart is far more open because of you, just wanted to say thanks, honestly, thank you all.

K Claret said...


It has been fun reading your blog and honestly it is one of the few I try to read and post to regularly. I know my posts aren't that involved but I don't think people realize how hard it is to write well. thanks and keep it going! Cheers!


Samantha Dugan said...

I had posted a long, (too long, too involed) comment and listed you as well...there are issues with posting at 2:30 in the morning, fuzzy headed is a gross understatement! Re-read it and deleted...went with a shorter comment, and forgot you, sorry bout' that my Tempier friend.

Putting words together and having them move, interest and inspire people, really hard...and clearly something that has caused me some um, well...grief, kinda why I felt I needed to say what I said. Means the world to me that you take the time to put fingertips to keyboard, (modern day pen to paper) to let me know that something I said reached you, so powerful. Thank you!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Sam,

We all understand that you are thanking us for participating in your lovely world. But, from my end, I see you as being the Gift, not me. Spending a little bit of time with you every day reminds me of why I have been in the wine business since I was Sommelier at the Last Supper--to meet genuine, funny, brilliant, did I say SEXY, people like you.

But thank you for taking the time to thank me. You're the most beautiful woman in the world.

Your HoseMaster

Anonymous said...

What is your deal? Noticed your interest with Sam and her blog. Seems a little weird to me, and I'm watching you.

Samantha Dugan said...

(Sighing) nice. I know that's you darlin'! I love you and think it is sweet as hell that you are looking out for me, trust me, The HoseMaster is a sweet, kind man that sometimes posts pervy comments but is also amazingly supportive and goes out of his way to lavish me with praise and affection...more importantly, he is my friend. Nothing to fear my sweet girl.

Richard said...

Keep up the good work. There are not too many bloggers that combine solid info AND a piece of themselves. I read more music blogs than wine blogs, because the passion usually shows more. Look forward to seeing your new posts even if there isn't wine content.


Samantha Dugan said...

Thanks dude, both for the comment and for deflecting (Grin) and I agree with you, lots of information out there on blogs but once you have that....then what?! I like the more personal side of wine, the way it touches us, that what inspires me, that's what I want to read and want to write about. As always, thanks for reading and posting!

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