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Rembrandt van Rijn: The Artist In His Studio (c. 1628)
" … delight, its deeper purpose."

We speak of fresh starts as if there could ever be such a thing. We speak of restarting, though these more accurately represent a discontinuous resumption with history trailing. I start a fresh series understanding that, by now, for me, any new series will seem at least somewhat stale. You see, I've done this before. Familiarity need not necessarily breed contempt, but it might well encourage wariness, especially with writing. That fresh-faced feeling a beginning brings probably won't last out the morning, and on this morning after summer solstice, the day promises sweat before midday and even more sweat through the afternoon. Still, I begin again, though I'm unable to muster that innocence I once just naturally brought to my game.

The art, if there is one, entails crafting a fresh supper from stale parts, like Tuscan Bread Soup, which combines fresh ingredients with stale bread to produce a delightful dish.
My usual cooking ethic mimics this tactic, for I invariably start with whatever's threatening to fester in the larder, then work out from there to produce some fresh delight. And make no mistake, delight's precisely the point of cooking as well of writing. Any slog seems best avoided. They make tortuous blog posts as well as suppers. Some delight must be added if any's to be yielded. Delight works like sourdough starter. Even a StaleStart might lead to greatness if one can only keep the old head screwed on straight and the lid slightly ajar.

I've chosen without coercion to focus upon HomeMaking through this upcoming quarter. My prior two series, HeadingHomeward and SettlingInto, seemed temporary, and preliminary to what should properly become an ongoing effort. HomeMaking's an intransigent verb, always moving but never fully satisfied. Most of what it entails amounts to trivial but essential activities which, together, produce real differences. It's much more than doing dishes and mopping floors, though it also entails those. It's more trajectory than occupation, activity largely without finite resolution. Nothing's ever completely finished and each beginning amounts to another StaleStart. Refinement seems possible. Mastery probably isn't.

Everyone living in any house, hovel, or hotel serves as a HomeMaker there, for home isn't just where your heart is, but where your ass is parked. Back when I traveled for a living, I prided myself on my ability to locate a decent cup of coffee and a serviceable loaf of bread within a half hour of checking into any new location. I had a nose for that part of HomeMaking and once I'd found my sources, I could rest a little easier for the duration of my stay. When I could not find those anchors, I really felt the distance, not even nearly home but even further away. It's a nesting instinct, I guess, for HomeMaking seems to transcend even ethics and understanding. Even the so-called homeless seem to create little islands within which they camp, rendering even a public sidewalk their private property, their home, the place within which they engage in HomeMaking.

We're not yet homeless, but our home's incomplete. Even if we'd finished all our planned improvements, our HomeMaking work would remain undone, if only due to ongoing maintenance. HomeMaking swims like a shark, ceaselessly from StaleStart to SlaleStart to StaleStarting all over again. HomeMaking never ends. It's an eternal presence. When I feel too much trapped in time, I find it helpful to be reminded that I'm constantly engaging with the eternal, the various forms of HomeWork, forever unfinished, insisting that I encounter infinity again and again, from StaleStarts to unfinished endings, delight, its deeper purpose.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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