SelfReferencer

SelfReferencer
Pablo Picasso, Self-portrait with Palette, 1906


"I admit that I can usually see little further than my own nose …"


All literature seems inescapably self-referential, each work essentially self portraiture. That seems the sort of opening sentence certain to ward off all but the very most dedicated and/or delusional readers, for few want to experience another snake eating his own tail. Us readers want stories, and we're much less picky than we probably should be about where those stories come from or really what they're about. Stories can sooth readers into a supreme sense of self-control, elevating each into the role of almost omniscient observer and judge. After all, we're privy to what the protagonist thinks, his internal monologues, in ways we might not ever personally experience when observing ourselves. My internal dialogues only occasionally and perhaps accidentally distill into anything definite, and, as my dedicated Repeat Offender readers can attest, they often never reach any definitive conclusion. I roll around in my world like a wet dog on a recently clean carpet.

I have been over the past couple of weeks, working with my Genius Nephew to attempt to distill what I'm doing with my writing.
As I roughly outlined this week in TheGoldenBlurb, I have recently found myself poisoned by an urgent need to explain myself, an urge that leaves me little better off than a protagonist with a mind-reading author disclosing my inner life. One characteristic I'm noticing in this analysis: I describe almost exclusively employing self-reference, I am, if you will, a SelfReferencer. I try hard to avoid employing any objective observer. I figure they can look to newspapers and established journals for employment. As I've mentioned many times before (and this might be the ultimate tell of the SelfReferencer), objective observation seems to be the delusion that one could make an observation without the presence of an observer. I just try to be explicit with my observations and give credit where it's due. I'm the dude observing, and if that renders me a SelfReferencer, so be it.

Curiously, not everyone really wants access to what's going on inside of me. Though I thoroughly and firmly believe that the most personal more or less automatically becomes the very most universal, some seem unable to appreciate that in spite of this seemingly (to me) inescapable truth, I might be guilty of self-obsession rather than self reference. I acknowledge that very little actually
is about me, but I conclude this through the auspices of me, myself, and I. I try hard not to ascribe my perspective, my experiences, to any ghostly third-person 'is'. I more often explain how something seems rather than how it 'is', 'is' being a relatively useless comparator roughly equivalent to 'just because.' It produces an identity bringing nobody closer to anything. So, a rose is a rose is a rose. So what? Shakespeare seems to imply that a rose seems indescribable in terms other than itself. I am an i am an i am, too. I see everything through this lens of me.

I do not intend to explain away my own self referencing, except to definitively notice that it's a primary aspect of everything I describe. I insist upon subjective description from myself. I draw few definite conclusions, so those seeking concrete advice should pass my tent right by. I try to avoid dispensing advice. Who would I have had to become to understand what you should choose? I hardly know for myself, though I hope that through observing my struggles as a dedicated SelfReferencer, my reader might feel somewhat more reassured that they're not the only one teetering along the raw edge of utter cluelessness. I figure that life might not be anyone's to understand and everyone's to wonder about. Some, including me most days, would rather not think very deeply about anything.

This being Friday, I woke trying to find some way to briefly summarize my last week's writing. I felt inept through most of it, starting with last Friday's personal opus magnum
Accschleptance, wherein I described just how ineptly I tend to accept change. I next resorted to more of a rant style, perhaps a genuine complaint, in Shivility, wherein I observed twisted notions of liberty attempting to smother civility. I next went full disclosure (shudder!) by describing the space I inhabit when deflowering gooseberries in TheGooseberryMeditation, a recursively self referential description of both my internal state and external actions which seem to reliably induce that state. I got to feeling lost midweek, resulting in me describing my MendingNets, and re-realizing that even when I'm baffled in my role as SelfReferencer, I still have useful work to perform. I felt deeply dissatisfied by my Educations essay, perhaps because, as any good SelfReferencer should, I could not resolve the dilemma before me and I seemed even to myself that I might have been complaining, picking at an unsightly scab. I still have no clue what to do about the seemingly belligerent five percent who hold the power to guide our ever-deepening damned pandemic. I finished my writing week by describing my experience with performing HardWork, a piece largely born out of my own frustration with myself. I'd gotten to that regretful point where I understood that I was avoiding some necessary, and might have written that piece to finally goad me into just getting down to finishing it. Remarkably, it delivered and actually goaded me into engaging as I already knew I should have been. I found the result supremely satisfying!

I managed to make it through another week disclosing uncomfortable truths about myself as a medium for describing the world around me. I seem to be susceptible to everything swirling around me. This constitutes my manner of living, and maybe yours, too. Set a controversy before me and my internal state seems to readily absorb then resonate it back at me, sometimes amplifying and sometimes moderating it. I'm just trying to make sense, an authentic fool's mission if my goal were to actually make definitive sense. I speak no final words, only words imbedded within some mysterious unfinished process. I might try to make sense, but only succeed in
making it, never actually plating and serving it up. I figure that movement toward might constitute the best this curious world ever offers me. Just because nothing in this world makes absolute sense seems no excuse to avoid actively making it, or trying to. What else does anyone have to do with their time here?

Finally, I noticed that my readership has fallen for the second consecutive week, down about a hundred for the week, twenty each day. Of course I cannot say what might have caused this shift, or even if it represents any kind of meaningful change. I have no clue what it might mean and I'm dedicated to not obsessing about it. I'm just noticing. Unlike your friendly neighborhood conglomerate, I have not and will not institute a study to try to determine a cause for this effect, if it's even an effect. My business here is not about attracting the largest possible audience. I reflect here, largely by means of self-reflection, for I seem to be a dedicated SelfReferencer who always feels delighted to find others here with me. I think that we all understand that no man has access to what he actually thinks inside, though each might have a half-decent chance to speculate on what might be happening there. I admit that I can usually see little further than my own nose, but, you know, that's just how it goes here in this world of one dedicated SelfReferencer. Thanks for being here with me.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved








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