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Claude Monet: The Japanese Footbridge (1899)

"I am a begineer!"

The first full day of Spring and I find myself Begineering. Beginning a fresh series, sure, but also Reconning, investigating this new space I attempt to create. I chose Reconning as the name of this series because it lately occurs to me that I have been either outrunning my past manners of living or am very likely to be out running many of them soon. Like many in my generation, I was able to extend my adolescence far beyond my childhood, and my mere adulthood well into middle age, and my middle age out to beyond its relevant range, leaving me in uncharted and largely unwanted territory. I never aspired to achieve either majority or dotage, but they seem to have almost successfully conspired to overtake me. I could die my hair and seek Botox® injections, or find some semblance of dignity in my eventual downfall. We all know for certain where this path is heading, but not its timetable.

No need to go all morbid about this.
I might more reasonably face up to it. I have quite a mass of unfinished business, some of it stuff that I suspect might become beyond my ability to resolve before too many more years pass. I might attend to those with the intention of perhaps buying myself some later leisure. I owe The Villa one final exterior coat of paint. I owe myself another season spent scrambling up and down scaffolding, outsmarting myself, dodging wisdom. I still have several manuscripts left to compile and I might finally reconcile with the gods to unravel how those might become print-on-demand available for my legion of fans. I might also reconsider my Audience, its composition and size, and perform some outreach to invite more interested readers into my throng. I have work to accomplish before I will feel as though I actually belong to this stage of my life. I've fallen a little behind the curve.

My last adventure, that last series, Authoring, left me energized and reassured even though it seemingly left my manuscript rejected. I realized as I read that blessed rejection letter that I had no real intention of ever reentering the formally published Authoring arena, that I had been quietly dreading every move I had been making in that direction, fearful that I might be chosen for a career extension poorly suited to me now. I can keynote but I never once reveled in it. I taught Cracker Jack workshops but feel no compulsion to continue that work. I consulted without ever taking it too seriously. I was not really seeking acknowledgement, appreciation, or permission, and I would have rejected any overt attempt to elevate my humble condition. I got that I am now and finally who I am, no longer aspiring for different. Earlier in my existence, I ached for difference. I even imagined myself a change agent. Now, it seems I ache for sameness while understanding that my destiny will be difference and there's not much other than Reconning that I can do about that; hence, this series.

I might be most skilled at beginning. By my count, this series I start this morning will be, once completed in three months, my twentieth series I will have completed in five years of serious serial writing, of writing every morning; well, almost every morning. The result might seem a pile of unpublishable manuscripts, vanity editions in forms essentially unsharable and in such daunting volume, such that no sane person would ever budget time to read them through. In that respect, my manuscripts seem indistinguishable from what would have happened had I not written a word through those years. Have I made this world any different for having written those books? Have I achieved anything as a result? I sense myself entering a stage of life that's no longer interested in becoming something, no longer aspiring, which had been my primary motivating force since before abandoning my adolescence. What I would become once I grew up no longer stands in question. Whether who and what I've become amounts to grown up seems the more interesting issue. I contend that having written mattered and matters still.

I will not promise that I will not be simply poking sticks into darkness out here on the edge of my unknown. Upon reflection, none of nineteen finished series ever managed to move far beyond poking sticks into darkness. I feel grateful that I've not poked out anybody's eye or my own doing it, and I pray for similar results going forward, if forward's where I'm going. If I have become an expert at anything other than at not being an expert, I might have become a near master at beginning, especially at beginning again again. Our President reports that his father taught him one enduring lessons as he grew up, and that was the necessity of Getting Up. When life trips you, he insisted, job one becomes in that instant, to just get back on your feet, to Get up. I'd hazard that getting up might well be the definition of Begineering. I am a begineer!

Welcome back! Welcome in!

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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