Rendered Fat Content


Giovanni di Paolo:
Saint John the Baptist Entering the Wilderness (1455/60)

"May I prove worthy of my future …"

Each morning, I sit before my keyboard possessing another unstated story. In some ways that story will only degrade from that initial point, for with each finished sentence, its potential further collapses into just whatever it will be. At the moment of inception, it could include anything. By the time I finish writing it, or call it done enough, it will have become a definite and smaller presence. It will have become unique and specific rather than general and infinite. In this way, I seize each day.

I'm coming to acknowledge that first moment as a Schrödinger, in homage to Erwin Schrödinger, who, in 1935, attempted to criticize an interpretation of a quantum condition by explicitly describing a paradox whereby a hypothetical cat may be considered simultaneously both alive and dead as a result of its fate being linked to a random subatomic event that may or may not occur.
It all gets thoroughly complicated from there, but in attempting to debunk that interpretation, he managed to create an abiding meme, one of those characterizations that first seems extraordinary before coming to seem merely obvious, everyday, common. Each closed door we approach carries the same quality as Schrödinger's cat, for behind each exists an array of possible conditions, possible states. Until we open a door, anything's possible behind there, and because of this, each represents a real life Schrödinger. They're rare as hens' beaks, by which I mean they're common as sand.

I do not always or reliably appreciate or even recognize when I stand at an inflection point, a place where my next act will collapse an array of both/and possibilities into a single instance, but I am quite literally always surrounded by them. A certain mental constancy prevents me from going completely crazy fussing over which immediate future will collapse into being. I usually just preconsciously presume that my reality, my experience, will continue more or less as it was, that no absolutely unimaginable lurks behind the next door. I would be considered abnormal if I deeply considered each potential I might disrupt. I expect to find an empty room and almost always do. I've grown to feel pretty certain that my writing will collapse without much fuss the Schrödinger I meet when I sit down to write. I probably miss most opportunities to experience any different.

That constancy I feel most certainly qualifies as an illusion. The real world is not constant but continually changing, constantly collapsing into something else, which quickly or slowly continues collapsing into something else. Until it collapses, it inhabits both and neither states, ones where what it is can probably be considered irrelevant. My unwritten story is both beautiful and ugly, insightful and beside the point, simultaneously there and nothing. I, of course, thanks to my mental constancy, see what isn't there and act as if it were. I spend most of my writing time every morning, suspending myself within
as if it were. If I'm not careful, I might spend most of my life there, and probably will, and probably have, whether I'm careful or not. I thereby actively live in paradox.

What does a life or a story become once it's collapsed into its potential, once it's manifested? I suspect a life or a story becomes another threshold, another entrance into yet another superstate with potentials to collapse into yet something else. In story writing, I, as author, control the punctuation. I get to declare when it's done by planting a piece of finishing punctuation. If I plant my period or exclamation point where the outcome disappoints its author, I might negatively affect the quality of my experience. I can usually wait until the story takes an upswing, though not always, before placing that terminal punctuation. When I can find that moment of upswing, I catch myself delighting myself. I collapse potential into light. Until that moment, up or down, better or worse, I face a Schrödinger, of course. This morning, my life resolved into my seventy-first birthday. Many mysteries now resolved, I know for certain who I was destined to grow up to become, but I'm not yet done. This day, too, presents another Schrödinger for my consideration, an array of possibilities which I guess I'm here to collapse into something more tangible. May I prove worthy of my future, accepting of my past, and not overly troubled by their paradoxes.


Entropy must be our friend.
Friday comes and my writing week collapses into its summary. On this one morning each week, I pause to reflect upon what manifested before me when I opened my door each morning. The Muse is a week away from retiring, poised to enter a world she's never before known, one which has been filled with mystery and attraction, a definite Schrödinger, precisely like every morning before and after. Hoping for happily ever after and confident of complications, one opens the doors before them because that's the human condition. Whatever else happens, one opens doors. One moves forward whatever's chosen. Both/And seems destined to resolve into something before collapsing into something else again.
Entropy must be our friend.

I began my writing week praising my compost
Heap. "I save the seeds and skins and lovingly add them to the top of the Heap, enriching our historical record for some future archeologist to study. Just imagine how fortunate I feel!"

I then switched to envying weeds in
Relentlessness. "More rounds are coming. May I live them more like the clover than like the lawn, more like who I was when I started than who I tried to become."

I next admitted to hardly working in
Sloughing. "Oh, Lord, grant me absolution for committing the grave sin of vacation." (Irony speaking)

I described the sublime half hour I spend each morning with a cat purring on my lap in
Mutualizing. "We're ultimately dissatisfied with standard verbal communication and so we insist upon engaging in perhaps one-sided conversations with entities who we can at least imagine listening to our stories. People can seem so danged inattentive."

I next collapsed into the
DoggedDays of August, the most popular posting this week. "August rhymes with exhausted."

I realized that it might become really important for me to understand that I'm always, always, always
LivingInTheDark. "We were blessed or cursed with little natural prescience. We can see our recent past but not our immediate future. We move through this world as if walking backwards and I'd for sure break the space/time continuum if I ever managed to develop the ability to see whatever's right in front of me or coming up next."

I ended my writing week appreciating how stories seem to inevitably end up
PlotTwisting. "It's not supposed to turn out as expected, not ever. The expectations serve as points of departure, exits from the known world into the realm of what might reasonably be called fairy tales."

A week started praising waste and the utter relentlessness of the unwanted collapsed into some sloughing, with Schrödinger's cat purring on its lap. Dogged determination does not produce determinism, for we live in darkness seeking light, new plots twisting into existence before us, collapsing potential into finite stories, each more temporary than ever expected. Only paradox seems permanent. Well, perhaps paradox and your presence. Thank you for following me through even these dogged days!

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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