FiguringGround

FiguringGround
" … even if that hero only ever existed in my own mind."

I ask myself, "What am I to make of that?" because my experiences seem unendingly ambiguous. Was that last result a blessing or a curse, or even worse? I never can tell for certain, so I face some choices. By what criteria might I judge an outcome, each of which seem to serve as a set-up for some subsequent experience in a seeming never-ending chain? Today's delay might later prove to have more properly positioned me in ways that an on-time arrival could not possibly have. Today's disappointment might well become tomorrow's godsend. Today's blessing, next week's curse. It's even worse than simple either/or. Though the patterns seem to replicate, none of any of this has ever happened before. We are the pointy end of a very long stick. We clearly perceive neither our origin or our destination.

Two weeks of intermittent effort seems to have produced an array of changes.
My house front looks better than it ever has under my stewardship and my knee complains when I lift my foot to tie my shoe. What did I produce? Both/and seems too unresolved to stand as the defining theme of this effort. When The Great Chronicler in the Sky decides to write down the permanent story behind this epic struggle, will The Great Story Library in the Sky catalogue it as romance or tragedy, mystery or comedy? It might be usefully framed as any of those genres, as well as many, many, many others. Who decides?

Some return from their grand getaway with stories of great travail and others with inspiring tales of great adventure. Every halfway decent grand getaway seems certain to produce a variety of experiences, but each returning traveller seems to need to compartmentalize this great variety into a single, rather simplistic brand: The Vacation From Hell or The Journey To Valhalla and Back. I'm still learning how to sort out my own shit, for from some perspectives, life seems an endless trail of one damned thing after another. No great gift seems to arrive without having suffered some damage in transit. No truly great deed seems to ever go unpunished. The cheap strategy insists upon tumbling to the tragedy in all things. How terribly satisfying to join in with the grousing around the water cooler. How cleverly a sucking cynicism sucks me in.

Life might be properly characterized as an animated figure-ground picture which, depending upon how I look at it, might represent many different things. It might be most important to remember that I am that Great Chronicler In The Sky, that I write the treatment destined to get catalogued into The Great Story Library in the Sky. Me, myself, and I remain firmly in charge of which lies I embrace as defining my experiences. I will, of course, because I'm still human, try to categorize into some definitively summarizing story: Yum or Yuck. Good luck with trying to maintain the confounding ambiguity of the original experience. Who needs a mystery where, at the end, everyone's still confounded about precisely who, besides the proverbial butler, actually committed the crime? Every storyline seems to insist upon some conclusion, some resolving denouement.

How I Temporarily Blew Out My Knee: a hopeless story of suffering set against the backdrop of an ultimately ill-advised audacious refurbishing project.

How I Bit Off More That I Could Reasonable Expect Myself To Chew, Let Alone Comfortably Swallow: an elevating story of personal salvation set against a backdrop of an otherwise pedestrian refurbishing project.

Perfection From Across The Street: a gripping yarn of accumulating errors and small corrections which, when viewed from a comforting distance, looks like personified perfection.

Doomed Anyway: the sad story of an aging hippy who tried to behave as if he were not closing in on seventy years old only to have a neighbor declare, "You must be a lot younger than you look."

Does Your Mother Know You're Up There?: a story of people stopping in the street to yell up to an isolated man balancing precariously atop wobbly scaffolding.

Can You Take Off Your Shoes?: a disappointing yarn of domestic incivility.

My story could be any one of these and many, many others, too. What will end up being true about this effort? I suppose that I get to decide. My final story will feature a few big fat lies, but who could ever care enough to verify even the least of them? I want a story that leaves me more complete, as if my life accumulated rather than simply trickled away on me. I want to have inspired myself, for this world seems to endlessly conspire to simply leave me dog tired at the end of every day. If I want to feel elevated at the end my story, I might accept the semi-sacred responsibility to spin myself a story that might leave me remembering the time when I was the valiant hero, even if that hero only ever existed in my own mind.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved








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