Rendered Fat Content


Unknown: The Stigmatization of Saint Francis,
and Angel Crowning Saints Cecilia and Valerian, French or Italian (1330s)

"I've done dark wood before."

Three years ago, I spent the whole first quarter of the year Reconsidering. I was then a year and a half into what has now turned out to have been a nearly four and three quarters-year effort, one within which I've dedicated a part of myself to writing and posting a daily essay. I began the exercise to remind myself that I was, or had been at one time, a writer. I suppose that I quickly reassured myself before falling into a rather tender trap, one which insisted that if I really was a writer, I should be writing daily, or, perhaps I'd really need to continue daily writing or lose my identity as a writer. Whichever, I've continued the practice, which you've doubtless noticed. Every morning another reflection arrives. I finished my Reconsidering series on March 20, 2019, while visiting our then rented out home in Walla Walla, the final reflection, reassuring.
[Link here.] Now, that series exists as a book, or, more properly, as a manuscript, as of yet unsubmitted for publication. I've carried the presumption that one day, Reconsidering would certainly reach publication, but my more recent focus upon Authoring finds me reconsidering that earlier presumption for that one and its soon to be nineteen brothers, as well as those two others I've written and should some day get around to properly compiling into submittable form. I do not lack for product.

One of the more useful outcomes of any investigation might be the inevitably different perspective focused perception produces.
Looking more closely can't help but reveal a few unsettling details which had never before come up in any consideration. Nobody imagines their future in very much detail and even their pasts and presents tend to receive the broad brush treatment. Further complications lurk within every experience. Decide to publish a finished work to discover just how unfinished it was. Seek closure and discover a few remaining cans of worms demanding attention. Nothing, it seems, ever gets completely finished without some serious ReConsidering becoming necessary. Every closure becomes a choice forced upon an otherwise unfinished and unfinishable. One eventually chooses to just call each one over and move on or it haunts.

Between the point of first awareness and the point of final dispatch, a period of ReConsidering emerges, an unsettled and unsettling time. What had previously seemed certain developed surface imperfections, some seemingly structural, which might well bring the whole undertaking into question. Was I misbegotten again? Could I have been mistaken? It seems as though no volume of diligence at the beginning fully immunizes anyone from second guessing nearer any ending, once the nature of what was once a dream becomes unmistakable. One discovers disenchantment. Few unicorns survive these transitions. Cold and grey light comes before any more colorful dawning. It's a curious fact that given the obvious choice of cancelling an effort nearer the beginning before becoming over-invested or cancelling nearer the end after utterly exhausting the budget, more shut themselves down bankrupting their initial optimism, even when carefully scrutinizing risks before beginning. We seem more attracted to crashing and burning than to avoiding crashes. We're much more willing to assume risks than avoid them. Hence, the ReConsiderings.

I do not know this morning what my next Authoring moves might become. I could, I suppose, receive some glowing feedback from the publisher and learn that I've managed to submit the greatest manuscript in the history of submissions, but I doubt that will happen. My next moves cannot be contingent upon miracles. More likely, I know, that this one, like the majority of manuscripts ever submitted, won't seem quite a proper fit and so will more likely produce a rejection. James Lee Burke, who's now sold millions of copies of nearly fifty novels, received twenty-nine rejections before a New York cabbie who aspired to become a literary agent, convinced him to let him try to sell that first one. The rest is history, but a story rooted in some serious ReConsidering. It seems necessary as well as essential that Authoring involve enormous volumes of rigamarole, trying patience. The complications should properly force considerable ReConsideration, for how else could anyone ever learn anything from engaging with them? I will unquestionably continue writing and posting daily. Whether I continue Authoring, though, remains as of this moment an open question, and one worthy of a slow and thoughtful response.

As Dante reported, “In the middle of our life's journey, I found myself in a dark wood.” The very best inquiries always seem to lead back to this same familiar place. I've done dark wood before. They're nothing a little ReConsidering can't conquer.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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