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"If I'm not feeling overwhelmed, I'm never feeling very much at all."

I'm at my best when under the thrall of some BIG, hairy, audacious something. I might be able to limp along with some molehill conflated into a mountain, but my mileage soon lags as if I were dragging along rather than leading any charge. I find my best resources when I'm almost convinced that I couldn't possibly access enough to satisfy the situation before me. Furthermore, I seem to need to really, really, really want some likely impossibility before I ever come close to discovering what I'm capable of producing. I initiate none of these pursuits confident of my ability to achieve closure, quite the opposite. The pall of probable failure must accompany me almost every step of the way. I might conclude my work uncertain if I actually crested the originally-envisioned peak, but for the duration of the effort, I will feel curiously compelled. I might conclude afterwards that my efforts were never really about achieving anything, but more about the heart-filled pursuit.

It doesn't work to make a BIG deal out of some obvious triviality.
Simply having done doesn't amount to much of an achievement, and hardly raises the juices even a modest BIG, hairy, audacious anything might inspire. I can gain some modest level of satisfaction simply cleaning up the kitchen, but no gods cry in the process. Such efforts never amount to life or death duels between me and my fates, and aren't so much about winning or losing but more about something much greater, something much, much bigger than myself. It's about the story I'll tell.

The very best stories seem to be the ones where nobody could ever completely tell what happened, where the means remain mysterious, barely believable, astounding, prompting people to ask how that end managed to manifest. The very best storytellers cannot definitively respond, as if they knew the effect but never themselves quite figured out how in the heck the beleaguered protagonist pulled it off. The protagonist himself should rightly remain mystified, as if angels, demons, or pixie dust intervened on his behalf. He might even appear falsely humble, refusing to disclose his secret weapon, rather than genuinely humbled by the outcome, though he's most likely simply humbled.

Acceptance serves as perhaps the best explanation of these sorts of success. More than anyone might reasonably chew somehow manages to not only successfully chew, but swallow without choking anybody. It's a miracle, for sure, and I wager that nobody involved really understands the means by which such achievements manifest. They seem magical because they almost certainly are magic, no other explanation works. But where did the magic reside? I believe, without any hope of presenting conclusive supporting evidence, that the magic emerged as a direct result of accepting the initial impossibility. Such acts seem to shift the surrounding universe, as if The Gods finally found a channel broadcasting something actually worth watching. The ensuing dance with devils, angels, and pixie dust proves more entertaining than any stupid football game, and might well bear watching closely clear through to the end, whomever wins, whatever's lost.

I'm either up to something or else I'm not. When I'm not up to something threatening to overwhelm me, The Muse might reasonably complain, genuinely wondering where that spry and audacious old bird she so recently knew flew off to. I won't know myself, of course, for I will have wandered off somewhere where the BIG, hairy, and truly audacious never tread. I will have lost my thread then and become genuinely threadbare. I need a mountain to climb, but not just any mountain. I need a river to cross, but not by any conventional bridge. I need uncharted territory to get genuinely lost within so that I might seek and actually find myself again. I desperately need something bigger than anyone has any right to bite, chew, or swallow, and the even temporary audacity to bite into it anyway. If I'm not feeling overwhelmed, I'm never feeling very much at all. Laudate extremorum!

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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