Rendered Fat Content


Giovanni Paolo Panini: Modern Rome (1757)
" … suggestively licking their lips when I forget to call them to table."

SettlingInto wasn't accomplished in a day. It might well never end, depending upon what The Muse and I choose to settle for. Settled, however achieved, seems mostly an emergent property and not a planned, predefined one. One arrives and only then decides, partly out of necessity, who they become. The context influences almost everything and the context didn't exist until we moved into it. We moved back in, but in name only. We actually found ourselves SettlingInto alien territory with only slight resemblances to what we remembered. Some better, some worse, some simply incomparably different. I've noticed parts of my old self reassembling here, parts I hadn't seen in action for years. Other aspects, ones I'd acquired or amplified while in exile, left me puzzling about just who has returned from exile. We have been, over the past three months, slowly and unsurely establishing routine. We've been Routining.

I'd forgotten how the former dreaded routine first came into being.
When we first moved here, our consulting business was booming. This house was first a way station, a point we migrated away from and back into. One year then, I stayed in 52 different hotel rooms, most for longer than a single night. We felt like regulars on the flights out and back into here. We were in what felt like constant motion. We knew perhaps a month in advance where we'd be going, but planned no further beyond that narrow horizon. We did little remodeling. I puttered in the yard. We leveraged what the former owners had left behind and simply SettledInto what we had. It wasn't until the business went bad that we had time to establish a more deliberate routine. The eventual bankruptcy disrupted even that.

On exile, routines emerged out of a necessary desperation, more a defensive action. The Muse's office hours and commute served as their backbone, with everything seemingly focused upon ensuring she could make her morning train and get picked up at the station each evening. Breakfast was predicated upon her departure time and supper waited until after she called from Fort Totten to say she was a stop from home again. I aspired for her to find her supper warming in the oven when she returned, and that insistence deeply influenced how I spent my day. A rhythm emerged, regardless of how late she sometimes ran returning. We'd eat together as the culmination of each day's reassuring routine, evidence that we'd somehow tamed that alien place.

Here, there's no commuting. The Muse engages in serial Zoom meetings from what was formerly a back guest bedroom. I tiptoe around, not wanting to disrupt her rhythm, sacrificing mine in humble deference. Reclaiming the yard was quiet. Painting, or prepping, much less so. I feel as though I've been passing through preliminary gauntlets which, once satisfied, I'm allowed to discover another bit of the emerging routine. We've taken to eating after eight in the evening, sometimes not until after nine. Neither of us decided upon this schedule, in seems to have imposed itself upon us. Even without a commute, The Muse arrives back home later here than when she rode the red train. She's trying to do her week's work in four work days, and often gets her hours in after three, but that means she's focused on work for twelve and more hours each day, which has thus far prevented a reliable non-work rhythm from emerging.

Wednesday imposed itself as garbage day, bringing one predictable morning each week. Friday, my PureSchmaltz Zoom Chat regulates at least my morning. That afternoon tends to turn into a shopping excursion. Weekends remain a jumble of odd projects, each of which seems to conspire to deny us lunch. We grill a lot. I've not been producing the suppers I created through exile. My naps have become more important and I'm getting up even earlier than usual. The predawn mornings here have been so cool and clear they entice me out of bed early. I turn off the alarm before it goes off and tiptoe downstairs in darkness to watch with a growling Molly, the dreaded feral Apricot Cat stroll through the front yard. The cats show up when it's meal time, suggestively licking their lips when I forget to call them to table.


Through this SettlingInto, though, creating these daily postings have served to regulate my comings and my goings. PureSchmaltz has proven to be my one reliable routine. It doesn't always seem that friendly. Like with any habit, it sometimes seems more encumbering than reassuring. The great benefit of any habit, good or bad, might be the rhythm it induces, a reliable backbeat when the world turns sideways. When the world turns stressful, smokers light up and writers flee to their keyboard for a sense of salvation, as if that one thing remains unthreatened. In the case of the writer, repeated fleeing might produce a sort of advancement. A finished manuscript. An attentive audience. I admit to hiding out at my keyboard through parts of this SettlingInto series. After today's posting, I plan two final ones before moving on into another topic, another refuge.

In my first posting of this week, which became the most popular, I attempted to explain how done can be unfinished in
Asymptosis. "Done for me applauds with only one hand clapping."

I compensated for The Muse's absence by musing about her here in
AMusing. "It's my conceit speaking, that I might be worthy of a muse, let alone The Muse advising me."

I recounted a chat with my neighbor, who's a
Conspiracist. "How he knows this he can't precisely explain, but he knows what he knows, evidently from other than mainstream sources, and so he holds that glint in his eye, that same gimlet glint the all-knowing always exhibit."

I spoke of the stewardship ownership insists upon and about the debt I feel I owe to this SettlingInto place in
SettlingUp "Stewardship's an indenture, done for love or best forgotten. It pays nothing but satisfaction if done well. It haunts you if done poorly. It expects more than you'll willingly pay today, more than you currently possess. It's a mortgage, a promise, a damned-whatever-you-do covenant with which one gets blessed."

I noticed that we might inhabit the most mythical society in history in
MythConceptions, understandably my least popular posting of the week. I might have myth-conceived it. "Pity anyone taking allegory literally for they doom themselves with MythConceptions, be they biblical or constitutional."

I told how The Muse had doubted me when I reported that my bicycle ride was
DownhillBothWays, an allegory for our broader SettlingInto story. "I coasted home well rested."

I ended my writing week by explaining what I suspect I've been doing while SettlingInto here in
WisingUp. I'm sharing insights, not knowledge. "Insight is always an accident. It cannot be bidden. Nobody masters it, ever. It visits."

I have been writing through considerable turmoil these past two weeks, but I sense, as the solstice approaches and this SettlingInto excursion ends, that I'm about through the worst of it. The Muse has always been one of those who enjoys turbulence, feeling as though she receives an upgrade whenever her flight starts bucking. I am the sort who attempts to induce a coma upon myself, I pretend that I'm someplace and somebody else until the perturbation ends. This never works, of course, but it does tend to hone my under-appreciated denial skills. I'll spill my beans before this series ends with what might pass for a flourish! Thank you so much for following along.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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