Rendered Fat Content


Jessie Willcox Smith:
Heidi introduced each in turn by its name to her friend Clara (1922)

The Introduction tends to be the last chapter written and the first one read. The author might have drafted an Intro as at least a placeholder before writing the contents. That one better represented the writer's intentions but intentions rarely survive encounters with a keyboard. Like every paper you tried to write to the outline you were instructed to create before you started writing, writing takes intentions in different directions. By the time the author's finished writing, he holds a firmer impression of who he's become while creating the manuscript. More likely, it won't be until after he's finished assembling the manuscript before he finally manages to catch up with himself and affect some sort of Introduction. By then, he will have become different from the aspiring author he was at the beginning and even different from the more seasoned hack he became after he'd finished writing. The proofing and sequencing effort couldn't have helped but change more than just his perspective. It changed him into someone needing an Introduction to himself.

I have watched myself as I've crawled through this latest manuscript assembly.
I tend to stumble away from my lengthy sessions, brain sparking and smoking. Two hours of immersion within my voice almost overwhelms me. I wonder if I could have made my stories simpler, less substantial like fairy tales or cheese doodles, something with flavor but somewhat less filling. But that's not in my stories' nature. They come convoluted. They back up on themselves sometimes, straining so hard to find their point that they fail to clearly state it. A coach or mentor might offer unnecessary advice I could not be interested in receiving, for I recognize that my stories accurately reflect me. Were they any easier to absorb, they would have to belong to somebody else. Further, I seem to be evolving, though not even I believe in evolution occurring on the scale of my lifetime or career. I'm probably only maturing, but I'm still changing, somebody different than I was way back at the beginning; some better and also some worse.

So my manuscript assembly process seems like a lengthy introduction, one only accomplished impressionistically. Much interpretation's required before I can comfortably conclude who or what I might have become in the interim since the beginning. I must admit that I was not entirely sure of my identity even then. I have been chasing who I am since I first asked the question when my identity amounted to an identity function. Like you, perhaps, I was first a chameleon struggling to match my surroundings. I only later learned the concept of individual and began accepting that my voice might hold significance. Then it became about taking chances to determine where my edges lay. I innocently overstepped my boundary on more than one occasion. I remain uncertain about where my edges should be positioned. I seem to be echo-locating.

If I ever possessed any, my objectivity seems to have become wanting, for I cannot hear any alternative voices in what I'm reading. The manuscript has become just what it is. Not what it ever was before, but what it is now for me. This experience begs the question: Have I written this damned thing just so that I can hear my voice pinging from the pages? What might a less-invested reader hear in there? For the last manuscript I assembled, I invited some colleagues to read the damned thing. Not to review or copyedit the contents but to report their reading experience to me. I heard my voice reverberating between my ears. I was interested in whose voice other readers might listen to and whether that voice seemed pleasant or annoying. I insisted that I would not listen to any advice, good or otherwise, as to how the work might be improved. I didn't want a critical view but a personal one. I sought an Introduction from one of my readers.

The experience worked, though I felt that it was a huge imposition. The readers visited with me to share their impressions, and I sincerely appreciated their contributions. They each created an Introduction, each introducing the author to the book he'd written. Writing a book's the easiest part. Assimilating it's harder. Understanding who it's made the author, almost impossible.

Here's a link to my weekly writing summary. Thank you for following along!

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus

Made in RapidWeaver