Rendered Fat Content


Albrecht Dürer: The Fifth Knot (c. 1507)

" … to grow more familiar with my knots …"

It might be most common to think of one's self as an untier of knots, but I'm thinking just how complicating that characterization inevitably becomes. Those of us guitar players who scrupulously maintain closely-cropped fingernails find ourselves at a natural disadvantage if we consider ourselves untyers. Many others hold no particular interest in solving puzzles, merely finding them frustrating and so best avoided. No, I'm growing to appreciate that I'm naturally more of a knot tyer. My legacy, if I ever deign to have one, should probably be comprised of knots neatly tied, suitable for untying should anyone feel so moved, but otherwise perfectly fine unresolved.

Preparing my SetList songs for public performance, I almost fell into the terrible trap of believing that I would necessarily need to resolve each mystery I encountered when resurrecting every song.
Some of the mysteries sticking to those pieces have accompanied them since they were written, so holding myself to resolving them before performing them again, seems an unreasonable expectation. But if I'm not untying old knots, what must I be doing? Here's where my insight comes in. Perhaps, I imagined, I was actually engaged in tying up some brand new knots to accompany the ones those songs already carried? I could work each until it stuck, until it achieved its eigenvalue state, then leave it hogtied in place. Any transformation, if it was to take place, would probably not be found in any radical production shift, but more likely in my own comfort with accepting it as it always was. I'm not fixing, but accepting.

Freed from the burden of improving, I seem better able to endure. These songs are just fine as they are. Sure, my voice can use some practice, but it will not become what it never was before in the few short weeks remaining until my performance. The show will be more disclosure than unveiling. I need not expect myself to have overcome anything, to have become somebody I once was or who I never really was before. Maybe I only really have to get over the notion that I must have something to get over before performing, something I must fix, something amiss that I must omit from my performance. If I'm not careful, I might start believing in perfect and set my expectations so damned high as to become utterly unrealistic. I am not doing this to depress myself or to discourage myself, either. Like this old house, there's no evidence of plumb or level in it, yet it still stands tall and proud enough, perfect as it is.

Yesterday, I was writing about
MakingTheBest, not about rendering anything perfect. This morning, I'm trying on the notion that I'm Knotting rather than untying knots I've uncovered. I've found almost nothing but knots in anything I've created. Only rarely have I drawn any fine conclusions. My stories tend to finish open-ended. They might mean this or something different. I'm comfortable with my reader deciding or not deciding, as they choose. I try to avoid telling anyone what I think that they should do because I consider such advice to be untying when I'm in the Knotting business. The mystery persisted whatever I insisted. I knew little better after. I usually knew deeper. I practice to grow more familiar with my knots, not to untie them.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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