Rendered Fat Content


Winslow Homer: Leaping Trout (1889)

" … make way for the next day's fresh blade."

Reviewing my now extensive oeuvre,—an utterly unpronounceable word meaning 'collected works'—I see that I've written this story at least a half dozen times before, probably more. I variously labeled it BegEnding or one of its variants (BegsEnding, etc.), suggesting that an ending often also represents a beginning, perhaps even that endings tend to be infinite rather than definite. They often smear into the next story, to live beyond their pages. This result should not surprise me or my readers, since this operation, my operation, runs on precisely this sort of stuff. Enough never proves to be enough. Doneness doesn't just quit.

It might be that the most valuable element of any of my collections of stories doesn't actually inhabit any individual story or, indeed, any collection, either.
I'm always seeking the deeper meaning, which usually manifests fleetingly if incompletely in every story, but never definitively until after reading the entire collection, later, for no member could represent the whole's breadth of implication. Not even the author, at the moment when he claims to have finished writing the series, timed out by time's passing, could have quite discerned the deeper meaning implied within what he'd been writing then, for he had not yet read the whole contiguous collection. Nobody had. So this collection, too, must necessarily continue, albeit on a different plane. It must also become a CodaMysterious, starting something again as it exits: Againing.

This final stage has so far proven to be the most difficult one for me, so much so that I often feel as if I create exclusively unfinished works, for while certain gists and approximations might be discerned without a complete sit-down reading, that overall sense of completeness evades those of us only exposed to the serial version, a preliminary to a bigger picture only the collected work can garner once read and settled on a shelf. I avoid that CodaMysterious because it represents grueling effort. Hours of copying and pasting into publishable form. Endless hours of copyediting and correcting. More endless hours reading the finally finished product, not to mention the equally endless fiddling with print settings to produce proper formats. It's significant effort I easily avoid, but to my possible detriment.

Of the series I've "finished" serializing, I've completed fewer than half. The rest sit incomplete, still posted if anyone wanted to go back and re-access their links on my blog, though those are unhelpfully stored Last In, First Out, apparently for a reader's eternal inconvenience. I have found it convenient if not absolutely necessary to just keep most of my series inaccessible in that way, and to then distract myself with fresh writing. I move on to the next series before I've milked all I might have gained from finishing up the current one. The longer I defer that work, the less that shortcoming haunts me. Even a CodaMysterious eventually fades from memory and importance. This crowning omission might serve as my most prescient Againing, me spilling out and onto the page, a master of incompleteness busily creating yet another unfinished.

I might reasonably question the whole notion of done. I acknowledge that I've often found comfort in New Beginnings, certainly more solace there than I find within most exasperating finishes. I do not engage to gain a sense of accomplishment, for I play a more infinite game, one not played to win or lose, but to improve my play. In any infinite game, closure's not the purpose. Continuing presence carries the purpose, not concluding play. May I never stop serializing, however much I might eventually embrace actually finishing any of my works. The moment now passing simply must carry more importance than all the moments captured before, otherwise the infinite means nothing. This, the leading edge, cuts and bleeds, then moves on to make way for the next day's fresh blade. 'Twas always thus: Againing.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus

Made in RapidWeaver