Rendered Fat Content


Rembrandt van Rijn:
Bust of an Old Bearded Man, Looking Down,
Three Quarters Right

"I imagine that I am watching for it."

It's been a tough week here in old Lake Woebegone, or so Garrison Keillor would have said, starting another in a decades-long weekly update from his fictional hometown on the prairie. He and his Prairie Home Companion radio program long ago left my Saturday afternoons, but it was a staple while it persisted—little remains of much of my experience. I retain more writing than I seem able to manage and a few relatively scant memories. I took very few pictures, opting for the primary experience rather than the experience of attempting to capture that experience. Shifting my focus toward Publishing, the challenges seem overwhelming. I find myself Averting my attention from the full ramifications of my fresh choice. I deliberately avoid trying to see the whole expanse before me. I can barely deal with whatever's right before me. I do not need the complications a panoramic perspective provides.

Averting seems like a minor art form, yet still a definite skill.
I engage primarily to avoid overwhelming myself, so, predictably, I largely feel overwhelmed. Like all coping mechanisms, this one's mostly fiction. I pretend not to see what I sense looming before me. I know of no real way to not see what's staring me in the face other than not fully acknowledging its presence. This approach reeks of denial, the well-known initial stage of acceptance. The heft of what's before me terrifies me. Much heavy lifting looms. I do not feel ready, just as if that constituted an excuse. Not one person in the history of this world so far has even once felt utterly prepared. No reason that I should expect myself to set a fresh precedent.

Publishing, this challenge looming before me, does not at first seem very much like a conventional conversation. I acknowledged yesterday, at least preliminarily, that Publishing would be a more community undertaking than writing ever has been, but the community will never be co-located. It's spread all over this end of the universe, with time zones and narrow communication links connecting as well as separating us. We speak exclusively via half-duplex channels, with messages sent and responses returned punctuated by indeterminate delays. An urgent message sent today might not receive a response for days, with additional follow-ups usually only contributing to further delays. One does not learn patience but gets it force-fed until one finally swallows. Todays and tomorrows lose their distinction. I lose more threads than I follow.

I have yet to construct a pattern for this new series. I do not yet understand where any of this might be leading. I am milling around, a perfectly acceptable early-stage state but also one tough to relate to. I feel I should carry more resolve, a broader vision, and a more profound and abiding purpose, even though my heart of hearts knows that those elements must emerge from some initial turbulence. I never trusted anyone with clear eyes at the start, for they seemed to see through some of what seemed essential for success. Those of us Averting might see whatever narrow slice we attend to much more clearly than our clearer-eyed counterparts, for we're more narrowly focused. True, we're also leaving much unattended to, especially, the future, but we're perhaps much better grounded in our present. Perhaps.

It might even be auspicious to begin with some blinders on. The difficulty always seems that we cannot attend to all that needs our attention, so we blind ourselves in the hope that we won't overlook too much that might be too important. There's no way of knowing whether one's choosing to ignore the more critical presenting elements. No method of knowing until later when, of course, it will be too late to seamlessly do it over. Damned, then, whatever we do, we engage in some hopeful Averting, not knowing if we're choosing correctly and haunted by the notion that we're probably not. Time will sort out all these concerns. There might well be some learning involved. When I cannot know precisely what I should do and what I should be attending to, I engage in some strategic Averting to at least preserve my attention, lest it get too distracted failing to register everything. A handhold will likely eventually emerge from this chaos. I imagine that I am watching for it.

More of a Gallery
This writing week watched me finish my Success Series and start a series which initially seemed like Success’s opposite: Publishing. I enjoyed a scant overnight with my Success before immersing myself into a real challenge. Of all the elements of a writer’s life, Publishing has been the most frustrating, the most mercurial. It has sometimes proved enormously rewarding, but more often confounding. I have believed it a matter of skill and sometimes a matter of fate. It might be properly configured to create hopelessness, with rewards sporadic enough to test and try any faith, whether in self or this universe. I accepted the challenge anyway, figuring that I might accomplish something significant along the way, or at least learn something, but the challenges emerged immediately. My blog, which faithful readers well know, has been cranky lately, so cranky that I am presenting my usual Weekly Writing Summary as more of a gallery. The usual links to separate stories may not reliably work as they've failed then fixed themselves several times. I’ll update this document later if needed, after tech support and considerable effort resolves the conflict to produce reliable links. I will thank you most sincerely for your patience following along through my Success Stories and into this fresh adventure.

See my Weekly Writing Summary

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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