Rendered Fat Content


Winslow Homer: Boy with Anchor (1873)

" … that must be my manner of living."

For the eighteen hundred and twenty-sixth time in an almost unbroken chain, I sit down this morning to write yet another missive. I hold one intention prominent, the very same one I've held for each of the preceding mornings. I intend this one to be different than all of the others. A different title, a different focus, at least a slightly different perspective. Some insist that each of my postings, each little chapter, sums to pretty much precisely the same thing and that, while not exactly nothing, isn't ever very tightly focused, either. None of them convincingly concludes yet each seems to be up to something. I've explained before that I intend to project here a manner of living, not explaining how to live or even how to live better, but rather merely how it seems to be that I go about my living. I've previously established that I do not hold myself to be in any way an exemplar, an example of how one ought to go about living, going so far as to insist in one collection of stories just how Clueless I've always been. My most prominent purpose seems to be exposition.

That said, I also write my stories to remind myself what it is that I'm doing.
What I'm doing seems at best only loosely related to any intention. An old systems thinking concept insists that the real purpose of every system can be determined by merely looking at what it's producing. A marriage, for instance, founded upon the stated intention of producing Happily Ever After results might instead come to manifest the opposite of those aspirations, with the principles seeming to produce Miserable Ever After results, ultimately producing renewal or divorce or something else, maybe more of the same. I concluded that the purpose of my first marriage must have been to break my heart, a product it produced with a vengeance. By producing these stories, I create examples of my purpose so that I might come to know what I'm doing.

You catch me Againing here, beginning again what I've so often begun, with the stated intention of producing something unique, a result never before produced precisely like this. I cannot credibly claim to possess that proverbial beginner's mind, either, for I too well remember much of what I produced before. All that's poison for this effort, though. This time through, I intend it to be different. I'll need to learn something or at least discover something I haven't experienced before. I dare not try to get by with some slight variation on a previously proven successful scheme. I'll probably need to unlearn something to make room for something different this morning. This explains how I've begun every morning for the last five years. Today I start my sixth.

I this year, this upcoming season, complete my allocated three score and ten. By the end of August, I will have duly consumed all the time originally set aside for me to practice and perfect my manner of living, and be moving into what I might consider borrowed time, time not originally promised. Before now, I might have died young. I might have failed to live up to my promise. Now, my promise has been fulfilled, however it was, like the systems thinkers remind us, by deign of having produced its product. It's product was not twenty and more completed series of stories, but the experience of beginning again, of Againing. The stories serve as side effects, as medium within which I practice my purpose, my purpose apparently being Againing, again and again and again.

The product of my prior quarter's Againing, my Reconning Stories, have led the snake's head to connect back with its tail again. We inhabit circles, almost endlessly cycling. Here this morning, on this Summer Solstice, I woke early after a fitful last night of Spring. I'd gone to bed still wondering what I would choose to focus upon next, having completed my Reconning efforts. What would I call the next collection of stories? Should I even create another collection of apparently unpublishable stories? What might serve as a fitting purpose? I continued wrestling with this question for the first couple of hours before, as so often before, deciding as I trudged up the stairs to take my seat at the window overlooking the center of the universe. Beginning. Again. Againing.

May I not forget that I'm now writing on borrowed time. My infinite well of inspiration has become a reverse mortgage, a smaller infinity than ever before supported me. But even the tiniest infinity might prove fit for Againing's purpose, which is a simple matter of creating something never before created, first thing every morning, for that, I guess, must be my manner of living and my purpose. Here we go again again!

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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