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Vincent Willem van Gogh: Rain (Saint-Rémy, November 1889)

"Whatever it becomes, comes later."

I don't fear that we'll not get clear through all of Authoring's Stations of the Cross before we run out of time to explore them here, I know for certain that we'll run out of time. Running out of time seems Authoring's common companion, for Authoring as a craft and as a profession turns out to be one of the longer cycled occupations. This seems fitting if only because once published, a manuscript becomes essentially immortal. Even if it joins the ranks of the majority of published works and gets quickly returned for pulping, those three copies submitted to The Library of Congress will account for something, and anything shelved in that permanent collection remains forever retrievable. That said, Authoring's Fifth Station of the Cross simply must be Patience, for Authoring will not be rushed. Even the fast track to publication seems terribly pedantic, with checks and unbalances complicating each and every step. Even then, an error or two might occasionally get chiseled into granite, but the intention of publishing flawless works mostly works. Authoring features innumerable moving parts.

My folly at setting aside a quarter year to consider Authoring says much about the profession.
One sets aside what might otherwise appear to be a reasonable Authoring budget only to learn later that it wouldn't hardly prove inadequate, for few can imagine on Authoring's scale. Each stage could extend forever or could kill the effort, trying and convicting Patience before a hanging judge at least a thousand times. I guess that an Author more or less submits to these indignities, these stretching almost to infinities or else one remains a writer. Writing can remain tactical and agile, but Authoring goes strategic. It possesses deeper ends and simply insists upon being done exclusively on purpose. When Authoring hastens, it hastens incredibly slowly.

Consequently, conventional time holds little meaning for Authoring. A quarter year for considering it here might only crack its surface. There might well be no bottom to it. Much of Authoring's emergent, which means that the size and scope of any Authoring effort cannot be accurately projected at first, but only because so very much of it does not yet exist then. Authoring roils up The Verities, each of which insists upon its own proofs, its own existence, which will not be rushed into print. Pains-taking doesn't describe the half of it. Pains-making describes quite a bit of the effort.

What teaches Patience? What encourages and nurtures it? I suspect that it's different for each and rarely replicates, for my Patience, probably just like yours, often emerges from Dark Night of the Soul experiences, where the meaning of life itself comes into question. These unsettling occurrences cannot be resolved by turning up the volume on anybody's favorite distraction, but insist upon some measure of attention. What we cannot in good conscience flee from, we must accept, and accept on its terms and conditions, not merely upon our predilections. If it seems worth it or inescapable, we'll stick with it. If it doesn't rise to that level, we won't tolerate engaging with it and lose Patience or else never consider acquiring or nurturing it. Superficiality seems a sincere absence of Patience. Depth demands it.

As I write this story, I await a response to my latest query. Authoring's long cycles often seem like interacting as our ancestors did, by writing lengthy letters then waiting. My ancestors ended their letters with one consistent phrase, which was always some form of 'if I survive,' for instance, 'If I survive until Spring, I should see you again.' They seemed to acknowledge that their tenancy was brief and basically tenuous. They could not presume, I guess, that their adolescence could continue as long as us moderns insist upon extending ours. Nor could they stiff-arm recognizing their own perpetually impending demise. These letters managed to outlive all other evidence of their existence, in some cases even out-lasting their gravestone marker, yet they were only on fragile paper. They were the portal through which they touched the infinite, a possession worth developing Patience to acquire. Authoring's similar. Whatever it becomes, comes later.


Friday always seems as though it's coming later, too, at least until it arrives again, its appearance always a little surprising. I end an unsettling week here, one which I began by feeling afraid before going on to learn, or remember, a few seemingly important principles. I knew from the beginning that this would become the last full week of my Authoring inquiry, and as usual, I wasn't quite ready to end this journey. I felt as though I hadn't quite arrived anywhere yet and that I might not survive to describe the whole passage this time, a prescient example of the Fifth Station of the Authoring Cross in action. Not even an overwhelming abundance of Patience would push Authoring over any finish line, which, upon reflection, seems entirely appropriate. An Author seems to properly be one of those characters last seen chasing something, heading off in the general direction of the sunrise or the sunset and for whom nobody's ever certain whether or not he achieved anything. Authoring, Fridays notwithstanding, seems an eternal becoming.

I began my week experiencing a perfectly familiar bout of
StageFright. "The finest performances never occur upon any stage, but I swear they occur in practice, when the audience is just imagined and the performer's not subsumed in contradictions."

I described the start of the long vacuum, before receipt of a manuscript submission's confirmed, in
ComFormation "When you say you received it, I know for sure I sent it. Until then, it's just so much spit in an indifferent wind."

I next noticed a fundamental contradiction in that the tools with which we manage projects always prove inadequate to control the
InfiniteObjectives we always encounter. This post proved most popular. "A proper project manager might ultimately master making excuses, good and proper ones, juicy and compelling ones, and eventually outgrowing the poisonous notion that there would somehow ever be a definite end to their labors. It's infinite engagement or its meaningless …"

I noticed that for me, Authoring's greatest significances lie in
TinyShifts of perspective. "Authoring's no monolithic practice, but a series of almost insignificances only the experienced appreciate. Authoring's very likely to slip right past even the attentive at first because us attentive ones tend to focus upon the wrong scale, by which I mean, way too large."

I reported on The Second Station of Authoring's Cross,
Voce. "Notice the next time you're plowing through one of those gumshoe novels that just seem to read themselves and slip down like ambrosia. That's Você working and it's absolute magic …"

I characterized The Third Station of the Authoring Cross as
FutureFocus ."And here he had just been feeling so masterful at having crafted a manuscript only to learn that making that baby would not prove to be even the half of what he'd initiated."

I ended my writing week by finally (I hope) resolving a wrong question I'd been asking about
Promotion. "My degree in Marketing notwithstanding, the question for me to answer was never how to engage in Promotion as an Author, but how to Author without Promotion."

And so my writing week concluded on a hopeful note, one perhaps promising continued Authoring, for I'd seriously considered just dropping the long-cycled pursuit in favor of sanity, though sanity, too, seems like just another delusion from here. I fear that I have not done a very good job of describing Authoring so far, but then by my count I have two more installments to bring everything together to produce a blockbuster denouement. On Not! One of those. Thank you so much for following along on these Authoring adventures.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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