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Hans Sebald Beham: Engraving of the Prodigal Son as a Swineherd (1538)
"Backsliding into my future."

After three weeks of steadily improving Spring-like weather, the temperature started falling yesterday and has plummeted down to twenty degrees Fahrenheit (-7C) this morning, with light snow. I spent a rough half hour this morning finally managing to get past LinkedIn's login gauntlet, failing a half dozen times before mysteriously being allowed in, only then to wonder why I'd bothered. I found messages from three years ago and even older, from before I'd last lost the questionable ability to log into that world. I found an essentially infinite queue of long unanswered messages and no evidence of anything resembling my much-touted network, along with what's still the most bafflingly opaque user interface in an industry where bafflingly opaque user interfaces remain the standard. I still can't tell what LinkedIn does, what it's for, it's purpose. The universe seems to be reminding me this morning that progress, once General Electric's "Most Important Product," does not now nor has it ever moved exclusively forward. Once the very epitome of conglomeration, GE has lately been divesting, retrenching back into once core businesses. Progress was ever thus. Even rivers, if one can quiet their mind long enough to observe rather than project what they see, will exhibit prominent backeddies and backwashes along with what we generally perceive as exclusively forward motion. Progress, seen as it actually manifests, proves confusing, a complicated calculus.

And so it probably should be for Authoring, too. It's both Chutes as well as Ladders out here on the cutting edge.
I went to recompile my master manuscript yesterday and received a cryptic Google message for my trouble, insisting that I could not do that with the current instance of Desktop Docs. The message didn't state what I couldn't do or what I might do instead. While I recently felt as though I finally almost understood how to compile my edits, I now find myself back at Go again, and far, far away from ever collecting my two hundred dollars. Overall, I'd say that after considerable effort, I feel only slightly behind where I was when I started this Authoring series, slightly behind but far more aware of the distance I have left to travel. What once seemed a likely jaunt now seems much more like a forced migration. I might get there, wherever that might be, but only at considerable threat to my sanity. Gaining anything seems to requiring leaving an awful lot behind. I feel reasonably certain that I'm in one of those inevitable Backsliding periods, the kind that erode the naive optimism that started this business.

I know, I need to buck up and start learning how to use my manuscript compiler again, however repellent that prospect might seem. I still have more editing to complete, though I've grown sick to death of the pickiness of that work. The resulting manuscript might well seem flawless as a result, but the endless tidying grows wearying. The stepwise path I though I'd charted has turned meandering and my attention's disjointed. Some mornings, I can't quite recall what it was that I thought I was pursuing. I had somehow expected more closure by now. I thought I might have managed to make something of my intentions, something other than running into yet another layer of gatekeeping barriers. The tech sparingly giveth and enthusiastically taketh away. That, and Springtime's gone away.

The Muse and I were just on the verge of finally cleaning up the formal rose garden when a mighty wind began blowing the few remaining leaves around. We'd managed to almost complete the cleanup before getting tangled up in what appeared to be a confrontation between two weather systems. I'd been untangling leaves stuck within the Candy Tuft boarder when the leaves I'd freed just started fleeing from me. I was making a bigger mess than I was managing to clean up, so I suspended my effort, emptied my muck bucket filled with Maple tree helicopters and leaves, and fled back inside, where I'd been hibernating for two months. The break seemed refreshing at first and we both vowed to return to finish the next morning, but by then the Springlike weather had definitely ended and we reneged on our earlier promise. Are we to go back to sleep now, perchance (sorry, Shakespeare) to dream of progress as we once expected to know it? Is there a snooze alarm on hibernation? I am Backsliding into my future.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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