Rendered Fat Content


I’d grown tired of my story long before I caught myself repeating it. I’d felt my enthusiasm fleeing whenever I mentioned the unfinished book, not initially noticing the connection. One can apparently repeat some actions over and over and over, without noticing. Then I caught myself simply being myself, and blushed. The second time I caught myself, I began to understand the source of my shame.

My story seemed even to me to have grown into an excuse rather than an adventure, an explanation which could not possibly impart understanding. If it baffled me, how could it do any better with anyone else? My words and my music had fallen out of synch; I kept right on singing.

I tried going mute, figuring that if my story wasn’t working, I’d be better off simply stifling myself. Mute might feel no better, perhaps even seem worse since this movie really needs a soundtrack and subtitles. Who am I, who is anybody without some narrative making sense, or trying to make sense? The transition between stories seems like the transition some railroads had to make when passing between states. Tennessee’s rail network was a different gauge than Virginia’s, and a big bottleneck emerged where the necessary adjustment was made. I’m bottle-necked, making a necessary adjustment.

I might seem more mute than I am, for my internal dialogue continues babbling through this shift. Fortunately for everyone, including me, I’m spending long days all by myself right now, trying on alternate, hopelessly incoherent stories in relative privacy of this welcome changing booth; hopeful to stumble upon some cohering bits that I might weave or thread or hammer together into a story more representative of who I intend to become and whatever I might be up to now.

I suspect that the new story might well seem a setback, and might never prove as satisfying as the old familiar one I could repeat without thinking, without even listening to myself. The new one will certainly be more work, and not the inherently satisfying kind of work. It should properly feature ill-fitting pants, bought to grow into rather than to precisely fit who I am today. Cuffs rolled and waist cinched into an embarrassing pleat, I’ll wear my shirttail out to cover initial inadequacy. I will show up as if on the first day of a new school year, wondering just who I will discover myself to be, aware that last year’s story wore out as cutoff jeans sometime in July, when I caught myself no longer being the one my story described. I figure I’ll catch on and maybe even catch up after catching myself so exposed.

©2014 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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