Rendered Fat Content


John J. A. Murphy:
Athletes at Rest (20th Century)

" … they get away with murder …"

The Gospel of Efficiency fails to mention the necessity of Rest and Recuperation. It exclusively focuses on nose-to-the-grindstone dedication, personal sacrifice, of laser-like focus. It calculates using only the sparest arithmetic, not the more complicated calculus of human-powered action. We naturally work in fits and starts, sprints and collapses rather than by more primitive fixed and so-called standard methods. We create by means mysterious, especially to us, so we seem prone to misrepresent our efforts, even to ourselves. We might, for instance, apply fierce dedication when some slacking might better serve. We can insist upon creating by the least creative means, defaulting to mistaking context for something industrial. We're apt to mix our metaphors and garble our messages, then follow our internal directions as if they made sense simply because we created them.

It's not until we catch ourselves slacking that we might notice that something significant must have been lacking from our earlier strategies.
Our horizon had seemed distinctly less promising than we'd been initially aspiring to experience. I'd begun believing myself on a mission intended to right some ancient wrong, to achieve a kind of liberation, to resolve some long-standing shortcomings, and thereby achieve salvation. I oversaw a distinctly less than glee-filled effort, requiring self-discipline and the rough equivalent of swallowing increasingly bitter flavors. I can take my medicine in whatever icky form it might naturally come, but I cannot countenance a sole and steady diet of exclusively bitter flavors. Worthy work should also come in sweet and savory flavors and not only be spiced with bitters. Quality of experience matters.

Still, I understand that I tend to reward myself for the volume of sacrifice I've contributed. I learned early and by repetition that dedication meant simply swallowing the inevitable suffering all human effort entails. I learned to swallow those feelings and focus on how great I would feel once the hard part had ended. I borrowed those feelings from imagined upcomings and not from anything more substantial. I could disengage my body from its physical surroundings and continue laboring until the work was finished without feeling diminished in the least bit by that temporary absence of self. I would even take credit for having done the work, even though much of me had gone absent during the actual execution of it. While this tactic works pretty well in sweat labor situations, it tends to fail when applied to the more necessarily mindful kinds of engagements, like creative endeavors or ones involving feelings.

Publishing turns out to be surprisingly emotional work. It only rarely ever involves pitchforks or shovels relocating fodder or dirt. It requires a focused awareness of surroundings and context, shifting meanings and intents. One simply must remain present throughout almost all of the lengthy preparations. The efforts cannot be meaningfully charted employing straight lines and crayons, for the expectations seem to intend to be shifted. The protagonist is never expected to simply relocate any item to another location, but to reform or reframe it in transit, to almost reinvent everything he touches, or to consider this option at least. He must challenge his expectations and reconsider his options from beginning to ending, so dedication takes on a different meaning. Work and recuperation might even come to mean the same thing.

It wasn't until I'd arrived in New Orleans that I began to feel any lightness again. While serving on the front lines overlooking The Center of the Universe, I'd remained dedicated to completing my increasingly onerous assignment as if I had been laboring within an industrial context. I was simply moving stuff through space and time while ignoring my work’s underlying nature and intention. I required some strategic slacking but couldn't see that necessity through the fog of my own expectations. I might have been killing myself to achieve progress or engaging in some other widespread paradoxical practice. When efficiency encounters paradox, rest and recuperation must be added into the mix with a generous hand. Miss a day of dedicated effort. Catch yourself napping. Leave the dedication to the cats for a change. Lord understands that they get away with murder and still manage to maintain their self-esteem. Maybe their owner might prove no different.


An Irrelevant Measure
The Muse and I mostly go our separate ways when living in The Villa. Only when we're away do we ever seem very close together these days. Distance makes our hearts grow closer. Once the familiar pressures go missing, whatever seemed to go missing at home returns in spades, relatively undamaged by its lengthy absence. Absence might encourage hearts to grow fonder, but absence together seems to do fonder at least one better. Getting away from it all never works.On the contrary, it tends to induce precisely the opposite of its advertised effects. Getting away together tends to produce sharper focus. What really matters tends to finally become properly critical, and much mammon falls away like dust in a sweetening breeze or trail muck beneath an April shower. Some portion of even Publishing seems to sometimes need to be set aside in the interest of maintaining progress. The shortest distance between any two points tends to be an irrelevant measure.

My Weekly Writing Summary

I began my writing week transcending expected predictive process by experiencing
MetaProcessing. "Reinventing the wheel seems to be the purpose and not evidence of any problem. The deeper problem might come from mistaking wheel reinvention as some fatal mistake rather than the eternal imperative."
Unknown, after
Masaccio: Procession of Figures (1700–1899)

" … mistaking wheel reinvention as some sort of fatal mistake …"

I characterized my professional practice as more like taking lessons I'll probably never master in
SwimmingLessons. "I was never once not in over my head. I survived due to the intervention of powers I never once understood, apparently by a mysterious emergent competence not supported by any concrete evidence …"
Fernand Siméon: Gazette du Bon Ton,
1921 - No. 6, Pl. 41:
La leçon de natation /
Costume et chale, pour le bain
[The Swimming Lesson /
Suit and shawl, for the bath] (1921)

"We all engage in SwimmingLessons which we'll never master."

I noticed that my stories each describe some difference, and those differences serve as their unifying thread in *
Erratics, the most popular posting this period. "The unifying theme of this and all my other collections of stories, then, turns out to be their differences. They do not, other than often stretching to seem to fit within the series' overarching theme, carry very much of anything in common other than their apparently erratic presence."
William Pether after Joseph Wright of Derby:
Three Persons Viewing the Gladiator by Candlelight

" … evidence of history having happened and still present …"

I Investigated the curious case of the successfully published author and found him most likely responsible for
Manifestering his success, by which I mean he experienced randomness. "We might learn most whenever observing ourselves interacting with an infinite. We, of course, insist upon sticking with finite rules for these engagements, projecting causes and effects and generally confusing our influence with results."
William Hogarth, Printmaker:
Credulity, Superstition, and Fanaticism. A Medley.

" … never grant us any deeper understanding."

I described the seemingly never-ending effort that preparing for Publishing entails: all beginning and middle with no apparent end, in
Marionating. "He perpetuates rather than resolves. He doesn't seem to have a middle in mind, let alone an end. Ends, he imagines, must also be emergent properties, never properly envisioned, only experienced."
Vincent van Gogh:
Fishing in Spring, the Pont de Clichy (Asnières)

" … emergent properties, never properly envisioned …"

I changed venue, believing that I might find renewed interest in preparing for my Publishing work in
Backgrounding. I did! "That background defined my foreground, and I noticed. I wonder if my backgrounds have always so profoundly influenced my foreground activities. I suspect that they have influenced without me having hardly even noticed. I'm noticing now, a little embarrassed at my previous blindnesses."

Agnes Winterbottom Cooney:
Backyard View, Public School in Background,
Rulo, Nebraska (c. 1900)

" … a little embarrassed at my previous blindnesses."

This writing week might serve as a reminder, perhaps as a cautionary tale. Once in the middle, focus changes. The processing orientation that sparked the beginning might morph into a MetaProcessing focus; prediction becomes relatively meaningless. Practice itself might come to seem more like lessons than improving iterations evidencing mastery. The products themselves might well come to seem more like Erratics than uniform examples of anybody's mastery. Manifesting might fester some; a puppet master might seem to take charge; changing background might not make much difference, though, upon reflection, no difference might be the sort of difference the effort most needed. I took a day off to travel—my first day off in even distant memory. It didn't hurt me. I feel neck-deep in Publishing now! More coming. Thank you so much for following along!

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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