Rendered Fat Content


Symbolist painter Elihu Vedder: The Pleiades (1885)
" … not yet at the end of my hopefulness, either."

Change, Family Therapist Virginia Satir insisted, rests upon the clear, albeit temporary acceptance of the way things are. I might anticipate, even project futures, but I will be wise to consider that whatever differences might emerge next will have extended from whatever came before them. Though life sometimes seems terribly disjointed, connections remain no matter how disruptively any future seems to manifest. One probably never successfully escapes one's roots, nor need to. Still, I live a considerable portion of my life in anticipation, warm or chilling, and rarely solely within any moment. With three short days—the shortest days of this year so far—remaining in my WhatNext Series of writing (this waning quarter's focus of my writing), I'm still anticipating what might come next. I deliberately avoided originally posing my WhatNext as a question, but as a purposefully ambiguous statement which might, in certain light, certainly seem like a question, but in others a benign label or even an exasperation. Notice how it's lacking punctuation. WhatNext has certainly proven to represent each of those sentiments and more.

This time has seemed a period which rendered prediction not necessarily impossible, but at least unbelievable, or perhaps simply difficult to believe.
Most could quite easily see what was coming, but as with most all exponential expansions, anticipations strained credulity. Warned of an impending rapid expansion of infections stemming from This Damned Pandemic, many apparently failed to take the caution seriously enough to safeguard themselves, and even those who took adequate precautions felt blindsided when those predictions manifested pretty much as earlier anticipated. The problem with reality, sometimes, seems to be that it beggars belief. We thought we might find belief when actually seeing it, but attempting to see it can render us blind to it, too. Little of my daily experience has changed as a result of the resulting changes, yet my caution has increased in mirroring exponentiation, even without reinforcing personal experience. My WhatNext's more frustration now than question.

I'm nearing the end of my deliberate WhatNexting. I sense that I've just about sucked all the purple out of this particular popsicle, though I continue, as always, anticipating, perhaps in even greater ernest. Now I'm anticipating EmptyNexting, wondering what might lie beyond my daily WhatNexting routine. I've grown accustomed to anticipating WhatNext as a sort of antidote to whatever seemed to be threatening to manifest next. My daily postings have often seemed surprisingly prescient, as if I was soothsaying rather than just angsting or benignly anticipating. Often, they've just seemed to state some obvious something without projecting at all, anchoring next with some solid grounding in a present, perhaps inadvertently observing Satir's wise counsel. Every future emerges from some present. I have been present here, actively, faithfully, anticipating.

EmptyNexting seems to anticipate a hollowing, like when the last offspring finally leaves home, leaving empty a former center of attention. What to do with that suddenly spare space? It might become a sort of shrine to what was unavoidably left behind, set aside to gather dust and a growing denial. It might become something utterly different from whatever came before, manifest future filled with fresh anticipations again. It will never become what it represented before. Never.

When I began this extended writing effort, not really intending to produce four finished manuscripts by the end of that year, I caught myself chronicling a time and a place, but with one important difference. Chronicled, time and place separated from both time and place to become somehow timeless and placeless. I suspect something similar inevitably happens when chronicling anticipation. What was originally looking ahead untangles itself from time to become more of a looking around instead. I admit to having felt overwhelming dread while writing WhatNext, for I knew that what was probably coming might well prove at least regrettable. The election results buoyed my spirit while, apparently, sinking many others'. The vaccine, while hardly any silver bullet, promises to eventually blunt This Damned Pandemic's expansion. We're nowhere near the end of dread yet, but neither am I yet at the end of my hopefulness, either. Still suspended here in this state where I might reasonably anticipate anything without for a moment forgetting where I've come from or just where I stand, I anticipate heading for another exit. I'm EmptyNexting as I end this series.
While anticipating an ending, another ending came. Friday, my point of punctuation, comes without any goading anticipation. Friday just arrives to drive me into a small, interim reflection. Whatever my anticipation a short week ago, I've completed the week's chronicle. What resulted?

I began my writing week reflecting upon how stifled mobility seems to be aging me in
AgingInPlace. My face sags and wrinkles without its long-accustomed wind whipping into it.

I next considered the traditional seasonal fattening of both waistline and belief in

I reported how when listening to literature rather than reading it, I seem to lose a level of discernment in
TheNarrator, the most popular posting of this period.

I then attempted to channel a segment of our fragmented civility with
TheEnemyWithin. I contend that we might understand what we cannot comprehend.

I then considered the benefits bestowed by the hesitant leader in
HesitantLede. I tend to bury my purpose beneath apparent nattering, which might ennoble that purpose rather than encumbering it.

My obligatory self-derisive rant this week came in the guise of a little critique in
Ease. For me, anything touted as easier tends to seem a whole lot more complicated and therefore essentially unusable. Perhaps my greatest ease comes from feeling unable to even engage in something.

I ended this writing week by considering a typical unmentionable in
ProHibitions, where I promoted the idea that I might be best described by all the activities I deny myself. Like any typical jackass, there are some things I just will not allow myself to do, regardless of encouraging conditions. I retain the freedom to decline exercising any freedom.

I foresee two additional WhatNext writings in our near future. I say
our future, for while I will most certainly be the author of those pieces, authoring would mean nothing without your presence fulfilling the essential role of reader. I'm fairly certain that I already know what topic/theme I'll, come Solstice, choose for my next series, but that decision's best left in anticipation until just before I start that piece of writing. Until then, I'm warmly anticipating the upcoming EmptyNexting as I clean out this now familiar room to make space for some fresh remembrances. Thank you so very, very much for following along.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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