Rendered Fat Content


Edvard Munch: Self-Portrait in Moonlight (1904–06)

" … a lesson which I never expect to stop learning."

However steeped in frontier tradition the concept might be, SelfReliance seems worthless when Publishing. While writing might be fairly characterized as a solo endeavor, Publishing's inescapably plural. It features altogether too many moving parts and picky pieces for any individual to master. It takes a village, and all that, to publish.

Still, the writer blanches through acceptance of this humbling fact.
He backslides almost every other step at first, slowly catching himself asserting his conditioned but useless SelfReliance responses. Not only need he not go this one alone, he can't, but only because nobody could. Publishing's not uncharted territory. If anything, it's over-inhabited, too settled, too well-defined. Whatever gold mine a writer might carry in their mind, that claim will have already been proofed long before he arrives. He needs guides and clearer ideas of what he might find there, not more myths featuring unlikely powers. No published writer's an island, not even a halfway decent isthmus. He's a continent by then, reliant upon a dozen or a hundred or a thousand more experienced hands, and no longer his own or anybody's independent man.

Publishing seems a taming, almost a shaming of that SelfReliant spirit, for it's not a wilderness needing taming and also not a necessarily welcoming civilization. It maintains rules that will remain counter to even the most perceptive intuition. It's like a language and must be adopted rather than invented. It must be learned and requires teachers and diligent study, deep tendrils of dependency. It features gatekeepers and guards intended to prevent any unworthy from entering. It maintains slums and shining castles but won't allow just anyone to enter. One must pay their dues, even when invited inside. It enforces its practices and principles as vehemently as any grammarian defends their usages. One can legally be assassinated for the indiscriminate use of the Oxford comma.

I yesterday described one of my more prominent shortcomings, my self-proclaimed lack of ShelfDisipline. In response, I went searching for some possible solutions, just as if they existed, for I figured in my emerging spirit rejecting SelfReliance that I might need a fresh dependency, someone or something that might be able to supplement this serious personal shortcoming. A friend recommended an AI grammar checker, which might ease my copyediting burden. I checked it out and found its free version seriously lacking. I have a long-standing rule about subscribing to applications, especially ones that charge by the period. There are more useful tactics than charging perpetually by the hour or month. Sell me a license if you insist, but do not insult me with a lease. I rejected subscribing to those monthly charges without really even considering the alternatives, demonstrating further vestiges of that good old useless SelfReliance.

A brief conversation with The Muse set me right. If I intend to be serious about Publishing, I'll need to modify my old Self-Reliance-based hard and slow rules. I might commit what surely would have seemed like sins under prior regimes in order to receive the blessings of a newly emerging world order. I should be catching myself and my silly SelfReliance until long after I manage to get myself published again. It's a lesson that I never expect to stop learning.

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Thank you for following along on these curious adventures!

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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