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Aurèlia Muñoz: La font de la vida [The Source of Life] (1976)
"David The Rather Mediocre But Still Perfectly Normal Author"

Authoring has thus far offered me an extended experience of not knowing, KnotKnowing, by which I mean coming to discover that I'm tangled up in another Gordian Knot again and again and again. These knots seem to be the kind that cannot be simply untied, though a few have proven vulnerable to a blade. I have, like Alexander The Great (back when he was still widely considered Alexander The Rather Mediocre) just cut the untenable knots in half, thereby untying them after a fashion, but I have proven almost always incapable of conventionally untying them. My inability to succeed at conventional untying first came as a blow to my delicate ego. I felt that if I was really going to ever become worth anything as an Author, I should most certainly be capable of untying most any conventional knot, but I clearly was not. This acknowledgement reverberated down through my spirit to weaken my resolve as well as my self esteem. I felt as though I must have been proving to be a truly terrible Author.

Part of my difficulty arose from my insistence upon attempting to answer the wrong questions.
Attempting to explain my work, I took a questionnaire from a publisher that I was convinced would not be interested in my target manuscript. This initiated a nasty little Want To, Have To, But Can't Dilemma which I wrestled with daily for weeks. My symptoms suggested conventional inability. Perhaps, I thought, I was just not smart or clever enough to become an Author twice over, that the first success was more fluke-ish than confirmational. It might have been that I had no good reason to expect otherwise, that my innocent choice had led me astray and that I really needed to consider another endeavor for my day job. The earliest hints my KnotKnowing provided suggested that I was not qualified, that I had made a mistake when choosing Authoring, and that I could not possibly succeed. Everybody probably holds some part of the naive notion that if something was destined to happen, it should probably manifest without too much sweating. Hard disconfirms. Harder disqualifies, or certainly seems to.

Should became my nemesis, as it often has. Should might just be the most dangerous word in the English language, for it sets the standard for experience without really providing recourse. If I should be able but aren't, I might conclude that I'm incapable. I might not, in that disappointing initial moment, slow down to reflect upon who set that standard and why. I often find, once I finally slow down and reflect, that I set that expectation without really noticing what I'd done or knowing what I was doing. It often just seemed to follow that if I wanted something, I should be capable of achieving every interim step between imagining and achieving it. I might engage in the odious shade of the insidious should which obviates my ability to slice knots in lieu of untying them because, if I was really capable, I could simply untie them, or so my shoulds convince me. I crawl away from these wounding encounters with what I presumed was supposed to be but which never once ever existed. I could take gold in the Olympic Self Defeat Competition. Absolutely world class!

Seeing a knot does not impart an understanding of what to do with it. It's underfoot, that much seems certain. It's in the way of progress and it often seems as though I might not ever manage to get around, through, beneath, or over it. It usually takes me almost forever to finally conclude that I've encountered another impossible, that no amount of dedicated effort will ever get me around, through, beneath, or over it; that I am truly stuck, for I am well and truly stuck and the binding agent of stuckness must be my own tenacious inability to recognize stuck for what it always is, a terminal state. However progress might unfold from here, it will not include going through there, that path I over-imprinted upon as The Way. The Way became its opposite to become Absolutely Not The Way, providing only negative knowledge. Knowing Not The Way imparts no knowledge nor any wisdom about what might constitute a Way, let alone any best one. Suspended, then, in negative knowledge, I might be ready to accept impossibility, but what does that yield me? Another dark afternoon of soul searching. Will this torture never end?

I do not yet know what I'm going to do in lieu of not doing the impossible. I've been living with a dread sense that my Authoring effort would ultimately prove impossible but fighting hard against it, just like any good soldier might. My opposition might have been the underlying difficulty, for if I cannot acknowledge the impossible when I encounter it, I tend to continue engaging as if I was merely pursuing a standard, pedestrian possibility, which requires a different process than does pursuing the impossible. [Cryptic explanation of The Recipe For Doing The Impossible
here]. The impossible tends to be doable, but only under rather special conditions. These seem to insist upon Alexander first feeling rather mediocre about his prospects. Then some insight hits which opens up a fresh line of pursuit. The Recipe For Doing The Impossible insists upon meticulous attention to the way things are rather than how they should be or aren't, to focus upon possibility should it show rather than to maintain fantasy about any future. KnotKnowing seems the same as being stuck with another standard impossibility. Now that the way I'd imagined Authoring should have worked has disqualified itself, I'm left wondering what's next and a little pissed at just how thick I turned out to be again. How does David The Rather Mediocre But Still Perfectly Normal Author seem for my new job title?

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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