Rendered Fat Content


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

" … a little embarrassed at my previous blindnesses."

Writing and, lately, Publishing have been my foreground occupations. These occurred within some background, typically unmentioned and perhaps unworthy of mention, for background just is and rarely seems to warrant acknowledgment. We humans are notorious for presenting ourselves as unconnected, as if we were not utterly dependent upon some fairly heavy infrastructure. Each of us belongs to a family which, depending, might or might not warrant mention. We inhabit places, sometimes embarrassing ones, which might seem as if mentioning them would somehow demean us in someone else's eyes, as a small-town rube or a big-city slicker. We conveniently neglect to mention details that might overly complicate how we wish to be perceived by others or even by ourselves. We mostly remain mum on many levels.

But we all understand that we're each imbedded within endless complications.
We might even be defined not by how we explain ourselves but by what we habitually neglect to mention. I have been laboring within a very specific background since way before I started writing this series. I occasionally mention that my desk overlooks The Center of the Universe, which probably strikes most readers as hyperbole, though it isn't. I mostly keep my eyes and typing fingers focused on objects separate and distant from whatever chair I find myself sitting in. The chair's there, and it influences how and even what I produce, but it's a tacit player with no speaking lines, only present to provide background atmosphere.

I this morning find myself far distant from The Center of my Universe, writing without my accustomed accoutrements. I feel their absence. I sat here for the longest time, wondering if I could even write while sitting so far out of my accustomed frame. I find this world extremely disorienting. Yesterday, I boarded an airplane, something I had not done for over three years, since back before The Damned Pandemic showed up. Since its arrival, I've focused on sequestering myself from exposure, which translated into mostly sequestering myself. Whatever variety I once enjoyed, I whittled down into a bouquet of one. Reentering the broader world has left me feeling dizzy. On the plane, once a context within which my thinking and my writing flourished, I found that I could not hold a coherent thought. I also couldn't read, another activity I once reveled in when flying. The best I could muster was to sit with my eyes closed, thinking about essentially nothing, reduced to a seeming idiot, sitting quietly with my eyes shut for almost four hours. That was the best foundation that Backgrounding provided.

I had imagined, before leaving home, that I might further advance my Publishing agenda while flying and translate a few more chapters into final manuscript form, but the background there actively prevented me from even attempting such an effort. The distance between my lap and the seatback before me proved inadequate for me to even think about opening up my laptop for working. I could barely hold a book open in that space. My eyes closed stance might have been the only activity in which that space allowed me to engage. 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.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus

Made in RapidWeaver