Rendered Fat Content


Attributed to Augustus Cordus:
The Fall of Man with Scenes of the Creation (1544)

"This is Publishing?"

The first few steps disorient me. I had become accustomed to success, easy success, and actions taken within my domain. Outside, trying different, I find walking disorienting. I cannot find my spot. I need to think carefully, ponderously, before moving, and even then, I discover that I'm moving in some wrong direction, not precisely backward, but not precisely forward, either. I seem capable only of SmallStumbles. I inch my way along. My more grandiose schemes utterly gone, I seek footholds and still stumble. I relearn that I can move forward in reverse, backing my way into my future, but I have to look over my shoulder. My perspective narrowed, and I feel grateful for achieving any momentum and calling that progress. Small steps with SmallStumbles amounts to initial success.

I'm not yet sold on the idea of Publishing.
I keep in mind that I intended an inquiry here, not simply proof. Too often, I think, people initiate efforts presuming that the way through must be forward, when an authentic investigation might reject any premise as faulty and even ultimately decide to forego the inquiry. I pursue Publishing, but I also try to remember that I need not necessarily forgo any outcome for my pursuit to succeed. Success could come from rejecting every premise, even by accepting something else as the purpose. I feel like a forager here, seeking whatever I decided to seek, but that deciding carries no influence over whether or not what I seek even exists. One enters the woods seeking mushrooms that might not be there. One enters with hopeful intentions but without much influence over whether or not they're satisfied. Sometimes, a forager's forced to settle for adventure rather than for what they sought.

At first, every damned detail seems more of an annoyance. I'd rather that I could exercise some genuine self-determination, but my new context's determined to have her say first. My routines’ disrupted, I can't quite hold any cadence. I'm forced to think my way through, the automatic pilot not yet invented for this strange new situation. I am actively reconfiguring my relationship with everything. I'm shocked, if not entirely surprised, at just how disruptive this one small change seems. I savor every small success and try hard to appreciate even the SmallStumbles I experience here, for I know for certain, or believe that I know for certain, that those SmallStumbles might well represent the bulk of my experience here. I suddenly specialize in SmallStumbles.

From each attempt, some small artifact survives. From these, new patterns might emerge. Oh, for the patterns again! Those blessed habits I invoke without a first or second thought. I ache for some reassuring trance to take over, for experience to harvest its skills. I feel ill-prepared to create another new existence. I have successfully alienated myself, an immigrant in my own hometown, working from my familiar desk, pushing a bow wave before me. I sometimes skin my knee. I feel like an infant here in need of parenting. I might be reinventing myself or flailing. I pray that my stumbling stays small. That's just about all the progress I can reasonably expect to accomplish yet. This is Publishing?

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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