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Werner, E. T. C.: The Eight Immortals Crossing The Sea,
(1922) [excerpted from Myths & Legends of China. New York: George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd]
" … a thousand lenses absorbing orthogonal perspectives, sending mixed messages."

I'm nobody's soothsayer. I cannot foresee anybody's future, much less my own. Furthermore, I don't really want to know what's coming next. Maybe I want to be ill-prepared when my future finally shows up. Maybe I just don't care, but I've organized my life more around the here and now than any there or then. I have aspired to little more than to do my work and be with my family and friends, though our Damned Pandemic has been straining ties to family and friends. I made that call day before yesterday to acknowledge that we would not be congregating for this upcoming holiday, either. The Muse and I are long distance grandparents, even after we managed to move back home.

As those of you who have followed my postings already understand, I fancy myself a writer.
Not a fancy one, but a more ordinary and rather pedestrian one, one who operates under some rather strange and somewhat strict rules of engagement. I steadfastly refuse to tell anyone else what to do, figuring that telling someone what to do probably qualifies as the least effective strategy for getting someone to do anything. I do not so much plot my writing as consider plot an emergent property. I often write about nothing terribly significant and end up creating something with some seeming significance. I never outline what I intend to say. I write to discover what I think, not to espouse it.

I have also been an author, which I'd characterize as a distinct presence from the more etherial 'writer' designation. An author publishes, which distributes a work beyond the writer's sphere. People can just happen upon an author's work and choose to consume it. An author serves as an economic agent even if he gives away his writing. He inhabits a broader constellation than does any writer.

Authoring's almost entirely unlike writing. Many authors have little to do with their authoring side, contracting with agents, editors, and promoters to protect their writer's bubble from the intrusion of Authoring's more business-y side. Many writers, myself prominently included, have chosen to forego the questionable benefits Authoring might provide. We write for ourselves and for a deliberately tiny audience, denying broader interest or appeal. Some writers attempt to make the leap and many writers fail to make that quantum jump from writer to author, from writing to Authoring. I made that leap before and produced a best seller. I'm attempting that leap again with this InauspiciousBeginning.

In my experience, nothing adequately replaces even a half way decent InauspiciousBeginning, for anything more auspicious might too easily convince an aspirant that he's especially blessed or talented, which leaves him vulnerable in at least ten thousand ways. Better, perhaps, to begin on the wrong foot with few prospects, the better to test the dedication to the fresh aspiration. With little invested, I might quietly decide to forego the stated objective, except I'm performing this one on this stage, in full view of my loyal audience, and am therefore at some risk of public embarrassment should I fold. I intend to persist, but given this InauspiciousBeginning, I could fall on my face.

To be clearer than I've been, I intend to engage as more than a writer in this series I'm starting right now. I intend to engage as a writer engaging in some Authoring, whatever that means. It means, I suspect, that I'll be nudging myself out of my comfortable and rather complacent writer's space and out into more public visibility in pursuit of the elusive ink. Ink shall be my stated goal and the means, my winding path. I know more than I pretend to not know about Authoring, for I've been actively suppressing my urge toward authorship in favor of getting home and refurbishing the old place. Now I'm home, sitting at my writing desk, and nothing stands between me and Authoring but me, myself, and I, daunting opponents and empowering allies.

I'd begin this morning, but I'm in the middle of my most daunting writing assignment of the year, creating my annual Christmas Poem Cycle, a dozen or so fresh poems I'll distribute to family and friends on Christmas morning. This assignment's sacred and must not be infringed upon for any reason, which contributes to my InauspiciousBeginning. I'm starting a potentially world-shaking effort at precisely the moment I'm already fully booked doing something else. I cannot just nudge out a space to start off in a totally new direction on a moment's notice, even though I've been considering this direction for ages. Now that I'm on the record as acting, whatever I do next must qualify as acting in my stated direction, even if it might appear that I'm distracting myself. Lazer focus is pure fiction. If something's to survive in this world, it needs a fly's vision, a thousand lenses absorbing orthogonal perspectives, sending mixed messages.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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