Rendered Fat Content


George Hitchcock: The Blessed Mother (1892)

" … trying to find someplace to fit into a finished picture."

What started as an experiment became a practice before changing back into an experiment again: Againing. The once full moon this morning displays only the thinnest sliver of itself, preparing to preside over an equinox, one seemingly delayed a full day beyond its usually 21st of the month appearance, scheduled to show up in this year, 2022, on the twenty-second, thanks, I guess, to the magic of Moon Mathematics. Moon Math can shave as well as add, rendering expected into slightly different forms, recognizable, but never precisely. Expectations come, I suspect, exclusively in regular shapes, while experience tends to slop over edges. We perceive similarities as well as differences, sensing familiar without fully believing when we've found it. Life still seems new, even after so much time spent both on and off the shelf of it. My sense of self still seems unfinished again, Againing.

What did I think I was doing?
I believed that I was actively engaging in what I consider to be the very most significant sort of learning. I was trying to catch myself being myself, an Ouroboros sort of self-referential undertaking. Through my several careers, I always started by searching for the instruction booklet or the teacher, ultimately frustrating myself with my apparent inability to locate either. Sure, I might find the so-called guide book, only to quickly discover that it must have been written for someone else's brain, incomprehensible. Likewise the expert in the field, who, as near as I could ever tell, had always managed to become more of an expert in them self than in anything else. Again, their advice seemed fashioned for someone else's experience, not mine. I finally proposed that I might more productively engage in the Ouroboros sort of self-referential undertaking Againing entails. Whatever the label, I seem to seek something very similar: insights into my manner of living, a sense that I am present and counting.

I have been present and counting through this now waning series. Each morning, I'd add one to the tally, thinking that I might manage to count up to ninety by the time I'd finished. But this time, I'm likely to reach ninety-four, this very essay clocking in as the ninety-third in the series. I have one more planned for tomorrow, the final partial day of this series, both the ending and the beginning of something—thanks, again, I suspect, to that ever-mysterious Moon Mathematics, again: Againing. This series will thereby not end as some have, immaculately. Immaculate stories, like immaculate dinners, end without any leftovers. This series will feature a tail which might fail or succeed in reinforcing its overall purpose. I will hope it might represent at least the sum total of my personal progress studying myself, but I expect that it will manifest as a Coda Mysterious, a fitting ending to something with such a humble beginning.

I have been busily considering the topic of my next series, the one I'll be beginning the day after tomorrow, the fresh context within which I might continue my Ouroboros sort of self-referential considering, seeking to catch myself being myself, the very finest form of learning. I once felt obsessed with the desire to grow up to become somebody else. I believe this quirk the result of altogether too much exposure to media in my youth. Say what you might about the present proliferation of accessible anti-social social media, it pales in comparison with the media in my youth. My grandparents managed to make AM radio into an obsession every bit if not more compelling as a metric ton of TicTok videos. I could not in my youth think very far beyond the next episode of My Mother The Car or the then current top-forty hits blaring on the radio. My transistor was considerably more magical than my later Walkman and iPod combined. I was successfully blinded to my own gifts by the questionable presence of packaged media. I secretly dreamed of becoming a succession of successful people: actors, singers, musicians, each of whom genuinely seemed to have basically resolved the central problems of living by becoming both rich and famous, and by using Brylcreem.

I acknowledge now that I never became rich or especially famous. Left to my own devices, I became myself instead, a character largely living in my head. I seek my salvation elsewhere now, not in my media, not among any other. I sense the fundamental futility in all of this, in every possible form of engagement, for each exists for spare minutes, and none of almost any of them last as far as into the middle of next week. I catch what I can as I pass, uncertain if I am solving a great puzzle or creating one. I find a piece each morning and try to find a place it fits. The overall picture still obscured by either incompleteness or my own orthogonal perspective to it. Look! There! It's another possible piece of myself trying to find someplace to fit into an unfinished picture. That's me all over the place, with bells on, again: Againing.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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