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Dolt-Drums

dolt-drums
John Buckland Wright: Title Unknown (date unknown)
" … willing to tolerate anything to end up somewhere else."

A point comes, usually somewhere in the middle more than near the beginning or end, where I lose my way. Whatever forward momentum my original bright idea imparted has, by then, largely dissipated. The objective's attraction, however initially strange or alluring, loses its magnetism and I feel adrift amid considerable flotsam: the odd oar, a life jacket, a leaky ice chest, and an almost refinished manuscript. I've forgotten what I was supposed to be up to. I've lost the vision. Once steady trade winds betray me and my rigging slaps impotently against mast and spar, luffing. So recently filled with inspiration, I feel struck stupid. I lose my course and my purpose. What the ancient mariner referred to as the doldrums, the horse latitude stall, I might just as well call the Dolt-Drums. I'm struck by just how dumb I seem.

What was I thinking? What was I feeling? What, again, did I firmly believe I was pursuing?
Who did I think I'd become? Who extended permission for me to depart? Who did I imagine might welcome my eventual arrival? None of any of this effort makes any sense once the initial juice evaporates. The well wishers left far behind, the welcomers inhabit a speculative future. Today, now, here, nothing any longer seems clear or likely, for gravity has grabbed our arching trajectory and inexorably pulls it back from the edges of levity, engaged in serious business. The sum of the edits stole the original's innocence. The rewriting, intended to make a real difference, lost some essence I hadn't known was there until I noticed it absent. I never knew where it originated. It might have been an accident, less gift than visitation.

Now, with the whole enterprise spread out on the deck in pieces, heading nowhere ever more slowly, I seek distraction. Now's the time to consider finally cracking that owner's manual, to delve into a little education, to find a decent example, to consider refashioning this train wreck into something believably viable again. What was that question? What had I expected as an answer? What of the good advice I've received, suggestions and encouragements egging me forward? What was I supposed to make of those?

I had presumed that the average dolt never experienced his state, for he seemed too stupid to notice his own limitations. I find myself rethinking this conviction, for from here, imbedded within the Dolt-Drums, it seems much more likely that the idiot knows every bit just how inadequate he is, how inept, how unprepared. He knows, but his knowledges serves him poorly. He's not stupid. He understands full well, much better than could any observer, just how low he crawls for he cannot stand upright, that's an impossibility, not in the cards, a bridge too far. There he cowers, then, short of salvation and painfully aware of his shortfall. He feels betrayed but only by himself. He knows nobody else to blame. He's gone and not done it again, revisiting a long and sad constraint. He'd believed it might play out different this time. Right now, it hasn't. Not yet and perhaps, not ever. Is this Authoring over?

I think it particularly important to fully acknowledge the Dolt-Drums, the time within most every adventure when the originally envisioned outcome seems unlikely to happen, when that once magic something that began the thing, abandons it, and utterly. This universe seems most characterized by change. However it might seem today, tomorrow might well be different, and not different as anyone might imagine different, but different as in surprising. The high might tumble. The low might rise. The middling might become exceptional, and nobody could possibly know which or when or why. We're apparently along for the ride. We occasionally sense that we're driving, a conviction seemingly destined to become different, too, delusional. We're probably at best hitchhiking, moving somewhere by some stranger's conveyance. We still experience progress. We sometimes find ourselves stalled on an odd on-ramp outside of El Cajon where nobody in their right mind would ever stop to offer anyone a ride. We pray then for the arrival of some out-of-his-right-mind savior and just jump in, willing to tolerate anything in hope of ending up somewhere else.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved







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