Rendered Fat Content


Battista Franco: Rib Cages (early 1540s)

"Delusions like this one keep me moving forward."

One can tell a lot about an artist by learning how they organize their work. I utilize the venerable Pile, which started as a page, and emerged from an inadvertently random-access filing system. My legitimacy was always suspect because of the primitive methods I employed to keep track of my output. For me, Publishing attempts to right this error, to finally put form to what emerged almost randomly. My great sin as a writer and creator has always been that I have never understood what form my collected works might eventually take. I failed to properly anticipate. I'd produce a word, then a sentence at a time without deeply considering where I might store the product or what structure might best serve my someday heirs and archivists in the unlikely event that I left either behind. I'd pile one page upon another until the pile threatened to tip over, then I'd start another pile. Fifty years later, my library looks like an abandoned recycling center.

Fortunately, most of my pages and Piles are virtual.
That fact might not be all that fortunate since virtual pages and ethereal piles seem much easier to lose track of, and I've certainly lost track of many. I have boxes, too, stuffed with pages and piles, loosely labeled "D's Writing" and undated. I don't dare open or discard any of those. They're my treasure, my unprocessed ore. The source for most of those pages was lost in forward-compatible version changes or unplanned obsolescence along the way. I could not recreate my workshop materials today because the application with which I created them went extinct when Adobe® eliminated a competitor. I retain the paper.

My more recent stories seem safe and secure, though their volume overwhelms me. They might exist for no higher or better purpose than accurately representing exponential growth. What started as a single story became over six years, over twenty-one hundred stories and counting. Halfway through, three years ago, I began writing down each day's story title on a piece of paper to facilitate keeping track of weekly social media reach and individual page views. I found this convention also helpful in creating my weekly writing summaries and tracking who attended my Friday PureSchmaltz Zoom Chat conversations. The pile of those weekly lists now teeters over a hundred and fifty pages high. Those pages ache to be three-hole punched and stored in a loose-leaf binder; if only I could schedule that unproductive time to accomplish such housekeeping.

I've been using those sheets to guide my Publishing efforts, for they list stories sequentially and can serve as a handy checklist. I have at least twenty hours already sunk into original creation for each page’s contents. The finish work for Publishing adds at least five more hours per page—effort to copyedit, format, and recreate as individual manuscripts. Each manuscript covers almost thirteen pages—weeks—of daily entries. My backlog stretches back more than three years and grows daily.

I chastise myself every morning for not knowing beforehand where all this writing would go. Had I paid closer attention during some formative semester somewhere, I might have learned how to properly organize my work and my life. Instead, I spend my life engaged in an apparently eternal game of catch-up pick-up sticks, reorganizing a chaos that seemingly just manifested before me. I do not want my legacy to be that I left behind a mess. Most of my motivation for Publishing lies in the underlying guilty feeling that I should have been at least clever enough to avoid creating such an unmanageable mess. I’m seemingly sweeping it under my carpet. I will once again today attempt to dispatch one more page from the teetering pile and thereby move just one small step closer to finally mastering my Piles and my stories. Delusions like this one keep me moving forward.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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