Rendered Fat Content


Odilon Redon: Evocation (undated)

"I hold raw material now, rather than "half forgotten memories," …"

I realize that I had been actively resisting writing down the FirstIteration of the SetList I've been insisting I've been working to create. I'd taken solace in its absence, comforted by the latitude I could maintain until just after I started nailing down by creating a concrete target. I might have been reveling in theory more than practice, and this response seems typical of one of mine. Maybe it's an example of Hastening Slowly at the beginning, but it eventually came to feel more like active procrastination. This morning, I resorted to pen and paper, and toughed out a FirstIteration SetList. It seems certainly wrong, by which I mean it could not possibly be the FinalIteration, for that should perhaps properly come the evening before the end of this quarter, or the final morning before I'm scheduled to perform. This project just took one giant step toward becoming real.

Reality can be such a drag.
In these more modern times, we often choose to stay theoretical rather than to become practical. We can argue better if we cling to high concepts and abstractions, which often reduce to almost nothing when rendered into the physical. We are probably much more divided by our imaginings than by our experiencings. Experience brings a leveling which imparts understanding, even appreciation. In theory, the theory sure does seem significant. In practice, theory's often lost. It might be necessary to start with theory or, if not precisely start there, to at least pass through that stage on the way to someplace real. It might be an error to drag that transitional theory too far along the path. It was a gatekeeper, not a destination.

I struggled to remember the names of the songs I listed, like I might struggle to remember my grand nephews' names. I know them by other markers, by their behaviors and by our past shared adventures. Their names seem superfluous, but I was able to derive each one, but mostly only by reciting their story, by humming through their unique melody and hook. "I was born on an inland sea, hard on an inland sea …," and there appeared Born To See The Light again, delighting me all over again. I'd forgotten that feeling along with that name, along with that story and that time that spawned it. I experienced a small shock of recognition: There I was! There I am!

I was not convinced that I had enough finished songs to complete a list of thirteen, but the list kept growing. I began with my One Mysterious Dream and ended with Paint Me A Picture, and I might retain those as the bookends of my eventual performance. I could do worse, I imagine. Maybe I could do better. Where should I position Just To Break A Heart? It could become a barn burner, but it probably requires some intimacy first, so it seems more middle-ish than starter or finish. Invisible Husband, too, could come too early. It's a relatively recent one, anyway, more a middle story. I included one example of my Top Fifty Truly Terrible Traveling Tunes, that subset of my work that I composed behind the wheel while toodling: I Love My Underpants, my underpants love me, indeed!

What a crazy catalogue I've created over the last fifty-some years. I might complain that I should have created hundreds of songs rather than this bare baker's dozen I was able to recall. There are more. They seem obscure, somehow not nearly as exemplary as these, and I remain open to fine tune this FirstIteration. Now, though, I feel like I might actually be juggling something more than some high-strung aspirations. For better or worse or even worse than worse, I'm blessed or cursed with the list I have, and ten more weeks to polish it into something public. I suddenly feel wealthy, worthy, for I hold raw material now, rather than "half forgotten memories," as I noted in my Me And My Mellow Cat, a tune I created before I'd graduated from high school, back in prehistoric times. More iterations to come before this effort's done.

FirstIteration SetList

One Mysterious Dream
Born To See The Light
Just To Break A Heart
Chance Encounter
An Inconvenient Time
A Mystery To Me
Special Kind Of Crazy
Make The Best
Invisible Husband
I Love My Underpants
My Wives
Paint Me A Picture

Me and My Mellow Cat

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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