Rendered Fat Content


John Singer Sargent: Gassed (1919)
"The universe has seemed dedicated to thwarting my forward momentum …"

It seems simply axiomatic that any attempt to accomplish anything novel attracts imps, so I should not feel in the least bit surprised that every attempt to delve more deeply into Authoring has encountered frustrating complications. Trusted software fails, or seems to, then mysteriously seems to heal itself after stalling progress for a couple of days. The mere act of plugging in a faster printer, borrowed from The Muse's office, appears to have uncovered a malware infestation which then mysteriously disappeared. Small steps seem more like stumbling blocks and every damned thing I attempt to initiate becomes either another damned thing or the same damned thing all over again. I recognize these experiences as standard Dedication tests, apparently necessary encumbrances intended to test mettle and stomach. If I cannot swallow these tangles, I might consider aborting my mission now, because worse will very likely be coming, and worse in ways that would certainly prove intolerable today, but following some initial conditioning, might well prove to be less than overwhelming. I've been building up immunity to terminal disappointment by seemingly serially disappointing myself.

It seems a wonder I've made any progress, given that I feel as though I've mostly been encumbered from moving very far forward.
I've made progress, though, and if I dare say so, probably due to the unanticipated distractions, which increased the variety I'm juggling, which prevented me stalling from boredom or lack of discipline. The near constant interruptions have successfully prevented me from becoming encumbered with too much repetitious. I could not continue doing anything through a system failure, so my focus flitted between several tasks, none wearing out their welcome, though, as I mentioned yesterday in Timelessnessing, if I'm enjoined from finishing, time becomes less relevant. I move slowly, maybe more deliberately, so insights might more thoroughly sink in to become useful lessons before they evaporate in any rush. I am accepting that Authoring won't be a sprint to any finish, but more likely a longer-term slog, less a disciplined march that a disorienting walk. I might manage to smell some roses as I pass.

It seems too easy to interpret initial Dedication tests as omens. If everything seems to go to shit right out of the blocks, might this not suggest that the universe is voting against this initiative at this time? Well, of course it might, and this question should properly be wrestled with as a definite possibility. It might be that this initiative, so boldly declared and courageously engaged in was born a fool's mission. It might be that each step forward will prove to be another leap backward, that destiny has decided to more or less permanently stop smiling down on your efforts. There's no way of knowing so there's no way of definitively deciding. I get to choose whether I'll ruin my reputation chasing this daydream or some other one. The real danger probably comes from believing there's some inherently better path, some relatively risk-less passageway into any alluring future. Experience strongly suggests that there probably isn't.

Some insults will doubtless prove unbearable for me. Some aspects of my original bright-shiny idea will very likely turn to dust before manifesting any alluring anything. The eventual outcome will very likely not closely resemble original intention. These Dedication tests will help me find my edges but also discover my mettle. My self-image has been experiencing somewhat of a makeover and I'm already sensing some deeper outcomes than just some finished manuscripts. I sense that I'm turning into a survivor, one of them players not done in by some daunting challenges. This process might be how pride installs itself. The universe has seemed dedicated to thwarting my forward momentum and has yet to completely stop me for long. How strong should that leave me feeling?


Friday, the day, The Muse informs me, after epiphany, a word perfectly illustrious of what English can do to a perfectly innocent consonant like 'p', using him as both a 'p' and an 'f' within the same word. Given the respectable choice of one or the other, English chose both in this instance, as well as in many others. This seems rather like the effect that Dedication tests present. Stalled for moving forward, I've been finding a few unanticipated sideways choices. Can't proceed forward, don't want to retreat back, sideways might hold promise. A different sort of path emerges, not anything resembling efficient or the shortest way between two points. I necessarily meander into my Authoring, owning the curious choices as well as the delightful results. I might take solace in accepting that whatever I'm pursuing, it's pretty certain to end up being different that I expected. Dedication demands at least that much. If I want it badly enough, I'll just have to accept something utterly different.

I began my writing week encountering
TwistingPlots. " … anything can happen. Especially the unthinkable. And we'll never be prepared for these experiences. Their very unbelievability will ultimately render them undeniable."

I next caught myself performing my standard
Show&Tell, another characterization of my current Authoring effort. "There I was regardless, full open kimono, dependent upon the generous reception of my captive audience."

I reported on how if feels to be opening up the various departments of my Authoring shop in
OpeningShop. "I'll need more courage, for as humbling as reading my own manuscript has proven to be, it's also ennobling, which, frankly, feels frightening."

My most popular posting this week spoke of the shifting foci the Authoring process induces in
Howsing. "I suspect that each subsequent stage of the Authoring process might require some slightly different focus, some fresh way of perceiving what I'm working with, such that I've focused upon most of the facets of it by the time I'm through the gauntlet. It's not simply repeat performances, but shifting focuses, slightly almost unique experiences rather than a succession of do-overs. Once the writing's finished, new worlds emerge."

In near-perfect resonance with the ongoing Dedication tests, I next spoke of my fragmentary understanding of the technology I utterly rely upon in
Relearning. "This Authoring crap ain't for wimps."

I next displayed an integral part of many Dedication tests, denial. In
Learnering, I bemoaned my fate and the fate of all learners. Interesting to note that shortly after I published this piece, I moved past the blockage that encouraged this rant of eventual acceptance. I remain a noisy learner. "It's a genuine wonder to me why anybody ever volunteers to learn anything. Ignorance being bliss seems a damned good argument against all forms of learning, and I mean this."

I ended my writing week praising my losing track of time in
Timelessnessing. "Any time-consuming anything tends to weigh heavily upon the one engaging, for time, a concept apparently without physical substance, weighs more than any other material."

And so my week of Authoring Dedication tests comes to a close only to very likely introduce a following bout of even more of the same. Authoring's not easy but it's also not deadening. Worlds remain to discover with naiveties to get over and manuscripts to compile and process. I have already begun imagining who might become my readers for these long-mythical manuscripts that I'm finally compiling. If you'd like to participate, send me a FB Message and we'll connect, then maybe you, too, can first person experience one of these damned Dedication tests. Misery might love company, but delight revels in it. Thanks for following along and Happy New Year and Epiphany, may we all experience an insightful year to come.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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