Rendered Fat Content


Giuseppe Maria Crespi:
Bertoldino Falling into the Fish Pond (c. 1665-1747)

"How could I not continue?"

I prefer to think about the future as something I'm FallingInto. I understand the more popular notions insisting that we create and craft or design our futures, but those operations seem severely limited. Whatever my intentions or preferences, I might, at best, be able to choose my seat. The destination's almost always out of my control. This goes double for those engagements where I've taken charge of creating something. My influence, even under those conditions, seems at best secondary. Writing my current manuscript only came about partly by design. An awful lot of happenstance guided my hand. Much of my effort was only partially consciously driven. Writing anything includes elements perhaps best described as coming together. Set up a context, and much just follows. Any practice depends upon gravity guiding some FallingInto.

I do not suggest that I am mere flotsam. I exert great influence, just not as great and not necessarily to the degree I imagine.
I too easily accept too much responsibility, naively believing that I might be the sole author of my experience. I often end up little more than a bit player. I take the stage, and circumstances take over my performance. I might nudge my nose under the tent but exert little subsequent influence once inside. Writing seems very much like this. I begin with a notion, often along with a carefully selected image, and something happens. If I try too hard to make that something occur, it doesn't. Flow, should I be fortunate enough to experience it, serves as a sort of autopilot, guiding my trajectory and also filling the page. I discover what I've said after it's written. I often have no memory of anybody doing the writing.

FallingInto seems about as reliable as gravity. It seems unlikely, but it only rarely fails to perform its magic. It feels most surprising when it fails, but even so, this man of little faith still wakes up to engage in The Great Mystery every damned morning. I rarely know where I'm heading. Some days seem better or worse, but I most often feel the curse of not yet knowing, rarely sensing that I don't know yet, just that I do not know. And the moment of realization might just as well last forever. A sense of foreboding often accompanies me, as if, despite a now long history of successfully FallingInto, my long streak of extremely good luck might most probably be ending. It seems a miracle every morning when I find myself finally writing with a growing sense of having been undeservedly blessed again.

I was wondering whether I could or should continue my arcane practice of rising early every morning to write another story. In twelve days, I will have completed my twenty-fourth series since I started my current practice on June 21st, 2017, with a series entitled AnotherSummer. I have yet to render even half of those finished products into actual manuscripts, and as my gyrations through this waning quarter with this Publishing Series show, the effort to complete compiling those might take me a lifetime or longer. So, why continue producing if I will only add to the existing backlog? This question speaks to a subtler purpose, which might never have been to assemble and publish each of those twenty-four completed titles, however deserving. The purpose of the six years spent before this mast was probably always the FallingInto, for I needed the reminders, the practice, the reinforcements that while the force does not often seem to be with me, it nonetheless exerts tremendous positive influence, like gravity, inertia, or even entropy. I might seem to finally be an author after producing so damned many titles, but I'm still humbly working on mastering the simple act of FallingInto my future with some semblance of grace. How could I not continue?

Here's a link to a summary of my FallingInto this writing week.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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