Rendered Fat Content


Pieter Jansz Quast: Lame Beggar Asking for Alms,
from T is al verwart-gaern [It’s already confusing]

(not dated-early 17th Century)

" … continue into the thoroughly unforeseeable future."

If Publishing differs from writing because it requires a community's effort, an early shift for the aspiring-to-publish writer must include the HelpAsk. This act does not resemble asking for help, for our publisher nee writer can't yet form proper requests. He does not know what the difficulty might be. He suffers from symptoms and knows it. He further lacks even the expertise to properly select an expert to help. He might start 'asking around' only to find that he's surrounded by helpers whose capabilities he never suspected. One, then another, will disqualify themselves for the best of excuses. The community first grows to include the self-rejected, though these people help, too, for their refusals help narrow the search and might even render the seeker a tad less clueless, though he's unlikely to feel any improvement. He comes to understand that he's more lost than he imagined, that he'd been inhabiting a kind of fantasyland where a sense of competence served as the common experience. He grows less competent by the minute and feels this.

It would be perfectly acceptable to reject the call to this adventure.
The early days seem increasingly unpromising. The problem with advancing seems to be my evaporating understanding. The world grows increasingly obscure. Our writer learns disturbing things that might call into question everything he ever felt he understood. He's realigning to a different star, heading in a strange direction, navigating by ded' reckoning. He finds the address of the blog software's help desk, and his outlook shifts slightly, for he's finally found a helper. A dialogue ensues, which quickly leaves our writer in the dust. He responds with nonsequiturs without really realizing that he has. The chat bogs down as he attempts some technical expertise far beyond his experience. He notices several fresh inconsistencies. His imagination starts jumping to new, probably unwarranted conclusions.

That Facebook feature that used to allow him to display his postings by date has evaporated in the last update. He confirms this change with a much more experienced friend, another member of this broadening community effort. He plots workarounds, imagining a process that enables him to process his writings into decent compilings. Manuscripts serve as more distilled forms of writing. They include consistent formatting and proper sequencing and are comprised of ten jillion copy-and-paste sequences, which, if not properly conditioned, just amplify the original complications. Had our writer constructed his manuscripts each day after writing, he would not be looking at dog years of remedial formatting work. He wonders if there's any way to automate some of this effort, but can't quite formulate the question, let alone imagine who might prove capable of helping. His HelpAsk function's still forming.

His inability to imagine doesn't materially inhibit his imagining. His brain can't stop working, worrying his dilemmas into more familiar forms. His community grows thanks to his ignorance rather than due to his knowledge. He feels like an expert dunce, incapable of formulating proper questions. His failures inform his future more than his successes. His openness with himself and his potential helpers, perhaps his only useful remaining skill. This shift in his experience may serve as retribution for all those years where he fancied himself skilled, where his long practice jelled into largely reliable performances. He sees a desert landscape before him now, particularly unpromising. Does he still feel compelled to engage in Publishing? He suspects that these dedication tests will continue into the thoroughly unforeseeable future. (He honestly had no idea that storing his blog's masterful in an iCloud-accessible folder could corrupt the contents of the file due to the way iCloud reads the contents.)

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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