Rendered Fat Content


Jessie Willcox Smith:
One foot up, the other foot down (1918)
" … exclusively produced by fools like me …"

Two months later, I stumbled across a finish line of sorts. I finally put together that manuscript I started assembling sixty days ago. This achievement amounts to more of a milestone event than a finish line one, for many subsequent steps remain along paths as yet clearly charted. I do not yet understand where this thread continues, just that I'm not at the end of it yet. However, this event still feels momentous, for assembling this bugger was a genuine struggle. Much of the effort required patience, a commodity perennially in short supply, especially when and if one's anxious to finish. The more one wishes to accomplish something, the more difficult it becomes to achieve. I suspect that if I could only become indifferent to accomplishing anything, my life would become a breeze, but without enough passion to sustain anyone, let alone me.  Besides testing dedication, frustrations help maintain momentum and purpose. I've made progress! Sixty-six thousand, nine-hundred and ten words, projected to produce three hundred and thirteen pages when printed. Estimated reading time: four hours and forty-seven minutes.

Next comes some different challenges.
I'm actively trying not to think very much about them yet. I'll take a few minutes or days to revel in my most recent accomplishment. Once I reengage, I will learn that I'm not as done as I presently feel. I will have misinterpreted some of the instructions and will therefore need to rework some of what I firmly believe already finished. Next steps will include fresh challenges. I'm working hardest to not over-anticipate those, for nobody could know what those might entail. I feel as though the assembly stage took forever. I disappointed myself with my process, but when have I not disillusioned myself with my process?

We all had our expectations inflated by popular fictional representations of how our work was supposed to work and, by extension, how we were supposed to work within it. We were supposed to produce with much greater efficiency than almost anybody ever musters. We were supposed to slice through barriers like a hot knife through butter. We didn't. We never, ever do, and yet our poisonous expectations continue contributing their toxic influences until perhaps the most pronounced effect we expend upon a completion tends to be forgiveness. We forgive ourselves our trespasses, or we will find ourselves unable to move Onward. I will also be moving Inward from here; the upcoming stages will be more public and, therefore, much more personal. I sense that they could deeply wound me even if I'm careful.

Publishing's a coming out, a sharing of formerly deep and somewhat dark secrets. I would prefer that nobody mention whatever it was that I once hid so poorly beneath my bushel basket. I want you to know that I’ll continue, however, to share. I have been encouraged to display my authentic self, terrible advice under nearly every circumstance. Yet the intention persists to live in the open, to expose my work to criticism as well as appreciation. It remains a fool's mission, as it has been from its inception. It all seems foolish: the writing, the posting, the lengthy assembling effort, even the celebration once assembling's finished, along with whatever the rest of Publishing entails. None of what I've done seemed wise, but wisdom might have always been the sole purview of the wise, a stipulation that would naturally excuse me from its company. Stories, too, seem to be exclusively produced by fools like me, so it makes sense that Publishing also would be.
©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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