Rendered Fat Content


Ben Shahn:
Detail of a log fence in central Ohio (1938)

"It must have been a form of magic …"

Nothing amplifies a sense of accomplishment like a long lead-up. Finish anything quickly and effortlessly, and little sense of elation accompanies the closure. Struggle over it, though, and it seems like a very big deal, indeed. Even the more evident and normal surface imperfections might seem to disappear in the shadow of the resulting joy. And so it seemed for this dreamer who set out to publish one of his works into something resembling a book. He learned that books do not just happen, nor are they the inevitable result of the concatenation of individual parts. They must be crafted, reworked, and reimagined, whatever their original form or concept. Much picky work and many unexciting details combine to finally produce something resembling a finished product. There's even more effort required after, but the appearance of something resembling a book works as a new beginning, a platform from which further adventures might resume.

I somehow managed to stumble upon the secret, that magic something allowing me to proceed to Go and collect my obligatory Two Hundred Dollars.
A total of assimilated knowledge contributed. Small discoveries, most of which seemed insignificant, finally accumulated into the something I sought. I have another edit pass to complete and probably another mystery or few to natter over before resolving. However, the objective I set for myself when I began this series has finally come within my reach for the first time. The stretch shrinks into mere grasp. I have other tasks facing me and another two dozen works with which to repeat this successful process and try my modest patience. They seem doable now. Not just speculation but inevitable realization if only I can maintain a modicum of discipline. Finding the path once does not mean I've found the way beyond, but it demonstrates that I might again find a course I'm seeking.

I think of the following work as finishing up, though I understand that more issues will come up to test my dedication. It might be necessary that Publishing involves so damned much drudgery and disappointment; otherwise, any odd utterance might qualify and thereby flood the market. Gibberish might become the preferred content, and this world might select finalists by how attractively they're packaged. I know for sure that this world's already entered that Hell. I haven't, though I dare not mistake my refusal to enter as anything resembling a competitive advantage. I am not engaging in a commercial transaction. My Publishing's something different, a vanity perhaps, a self-gratification, for I do not imagine a multitude of fans aching for the publication of this latest work. I prefer few witnesses.

I mentioned earlier in this series that I have always tended to lose important contacts. While some seem to run into the connectors they need, others like me tend to misplace their leads. I meet someone who might seem as though they might prove helpful, and I lose their contact information. The Muse can sometimes step in and recover the misplaced information, but usually, it's just lost to the ages. I figure I'm prosperous enough that I can afford to lose a few potential connections, but I still find this superpower disconcerting. Just when I need leavening, the yeast disappears. The following stages will require me to finally work with a publisher; my Rolex is missing a few pages. I will either find them or make other connections, for I now finally have something that looks very much like a book. It seems just as Poifect as a newborn ever could. It will mature from here, but it will never again appear as flawless as when I'm rereading it again for the first time in this form. It must have been a form of magic that produced it. I can't quite remember how it happened, but it produced Poifection!
©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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