Rendered Fat Content


Lewis W. Hine, photographer: Tony Casale, Newsboy, Hartford, Connecticut (March 1909)
"It might be that his urge toward Authoring was a big mistake."

This announcement will not make headline news. It won't make the back pages, either. After seventy-seven days Pursuing Authoring, our budding Author's feeling Spent, like a spawned out salmon gasping in the shallows of his home stream, wondering what that excursion might have meant. It certainly seemed circular, a round trip, there then back again, but what was gained and what might have been lost? What was that purpose again? What initiated the urge, the one that pushed the fish out of sufficiency into an apparently necessary pursuit. The long and tedious descent to sea level, the lengthy period feeding in the open ocean, the perilous return up fish ladders and over dams, dodging sea lions and gill nets, what was all that drama about? Our fish feels reasonably certain as he watches his once-noble nose turn crooked and rotting that this might not have really been about him, that he was only playing a part in a much wider and longer arc of history, a bit player, an instance. Whatever the purpose or the reason, our fish feels certain he's Spent, done for now, over, finished.

This is the point where the Author steps in to make light of the gravity of that opening paragraph. What? He isn't?
What's he fixin' to do, then, just let that opening scene stand on it's own hind … fins? It seemed so … defeatist, as if his Authoring might have never had a purpose. What's the learning in that example? Why even share it? Would it not have been better to have just omitted the depleted part and to have left the comeuppance unsaid?

"Well, perhaps, but only perhaps," he said.

Sending off that manuscript to a publisher brought a profound sense of hopelessness to this budding Author, as if he'd really blown it, for like our fish, our budding Author had left sufficiency to pursue additional ends. The ends pursued never once promised even sufficiency and threatened worse, so what was that motive that moved our writer to pursue Authorship again? What was he after? He claimed that he was chasing additional readers, to share his gift, and not to change the world, the trivially Utopian common reason given for pursuing publication. He didn't even want that, but just to share what he'd created, just as if anyone might desire or benefit from that. His was a vanity, perhaps, not seeking profits or fame or, anything, apparently, just a broader readership. His PureSchmaltz Private Facebook Group has 247 apparently satisfied subscribers and his Authoring consultant suggests that he could retain access to information about readership even if he violated Facebook's arbitrary limit of 249 subscribers, but yet he hasn't chased down additional subscribers. It appears that he had been pursuing publication one-handed, attempting to maintain his previous sufficiency while also investigating the means for eventually utterly undermining it through Authoring.

Whatever! He feels Spent. This might not be the time for him to try to make sense of his Authoring efforts. He might need a morning away from the salt mine, a month on the road, a return to the open sea where not even sufficiency haunted him. He dreads the response from the publisher more than he dreaded submitting the manuscript. He might have engaged in a no-win contest where whatever the outcome, he'll end up feeling screwed. He had for years considered his hesitance over publishing, at Authoring, to be a semi-serious psychological problem. He'd sought therapy and his therapist even agreed that it would be okay for him to pursue Authoring. That pursuit seems to have produced a deeper hollowing, a sense that none of any of that effort really mattered, that he'd attempted to force fit his work into an inappropriate context; that it was fine, just fine, where it sat, but somehow a violation anywhere other than that. This was not a gift to be leveraged for recognition or for profit, but one better left alone to roll in its own sufficiency for its own sake. It might be that his urge toward Authoring was a big mistake.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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