Rendered Fat Content


I suppose every writer lives in an echo chamber, a place where the primary dialogue unfolds while words appear. The echos sometimes deafen to the point that the writer cannot quite comprehend what’s appearing on the page, as if reading while a background radio’s playing way too loud. The words on the screen seem impenetrable then. The story, lost in inept translation.

For me, writing’s best attempted early in the morning, well before the sun comes up, before the sound of speeding Metro trains starts chewing up the solitude. If I’m up and doing in the wee hours, I might be almost accomplishing something. My head, which never seems to completely shut down even during sleep, seems most manageable then; most malleable, too. Words flow, meanings emerge, I feel my own presence.

Most of what writing becomes involves reworking what I fondly remember as inspiration, essentially downshifting brilliance into some other form as if adding water to a concentrate. The originating concentrate tastes too sharp for general consumption, like washing down a burger with brandy rather than beer. The brandy’s fine, nearly perfect, but essentially useless for the intended purpose. The reader should retain consciousness right through to the end of the meal rather than face plant into a half-eaten sandwich, maybe even have space for a few fries on the side.

I can find almost no brilliance in such dumbing down work. It seems drudgery, and I feel easily distractible by any intruding insights emerging as I carve and pare. I wear my hair shirt to this sloppy opera, and my disgust at attending shows. Good thing nobody else has even thought about getting up yet. The cats are safely outside pawing through the mulch. The light’s still fumbling for the snooze alarm.

I do without much sense of getting anything done, though I know progress cannot be measured in distances or displacements. Progress might be irrelevant here, in this moment, a distantly emergent property of a nearly forced mindlessness, ginned up counterbalance for an over-abundance of mindfulness. Oh lord, make me stupid that I might organize thy glory; make me dissatisfied that I might engage, lend me enough patience to persist until something other than crap comes out the other end.

I feel like a master stonecutter working with gravel, simultaneously sinking far below my skill level and far beyond my experience. Given no rough diamonds, I work ordinary pebbles; too many diamonds in my past to make much sense of the narrative unfolding before me. Should the sun catch these shenanigans, I will shrink away in shirking shame. This will never qualify as writing; perhaps it’s dewing instead—condensation caught just before the thirsty ground absorbs it, hung delicately awaiting evaporation back into some cloud. For a few hours, jewels cover everything. Later, no trace will remain.

On the way back from The Library where I fled to fold together the latest iteration, I might have glimpsed what I was doing at the library. I wanted to have finished this work, but touching it opens up newer, perhaps even better, meanings. I might know, should I ever finish, what all this fuss was about. Until then, I’ll slink around almost managing to look the part I can’t quite believe I’m playing.

I’m shuffling tiles now, re-ordering vignettes, seeking an order I can only presume; maybe looking for some semblance of me in there, but hoping to find you. Dewing.

©2014 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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