Rendered Fat Content


"Maybe one or two of those delights might stick to you in turn."

Writers feed the monster, though we are no less susceptible to it than the least of our readers. Though not all readers consider themselves to be writers, all writers are also readers, taking in many multiples of what they ever produce. Any writer's output seems paltry when compared with the fire hose volume continually spewed in their direction. No self-respecting writer could ever let all that goody gush by without trying to take a few swallows. For a writer, the antidote for Too Much Information seems to be creating Even More Information, but, you know, a somewhat better class of it.

We serve foie gras by the spare ounce because a ton of it too closely resembles what the sous chef calls it: goose shit. Served sparingly, it's transcendently wonderful stuff. In excess, it turns to crap.
I delude myself into believing that my "Rendered Fat Content" represents the primo end of the offerings, otherwise I'd just have to, out of common decency, surrender the pen in favor of blessedly silent meditation. I whisper, therefore I am. Screaming scares small children, house pets, otherwise loyal readers, and sheep. I try my best to use my library voice when putting down my thoughts and experiences, but I still live on the pointy ends of an irresolvable dilemma.

I asked Philip Kerr (recently departed author of the Berlin Noir, Bernie Gunther series) how much time he spent considering what his readers wanted him to write about. He seemed surprised by my question. He responded that he'd never once thought about his readers' expectations. Not once! The question had never entered his mind. I think he thought himself rather fortunate to have attracted legions of loyal readers who seemed endlessly curious about what he would produce next. He managed somehow to make a spectacle of himself, a picture window performer blithely unaware of what the sidewalk crowd found so interesting in his presence, or even that the sidewalk audience existed, until he ventured out on a book tour, but that was always well after the act of writing. His audience followed regardless of the volume of competing Too Much Information overwhelming them.

My friend Franklin, being mentored by a successful Nashville songwriter, learned that in country songwriting, the most personal turns out to be the most universal. Universal experience seems deeply rooted in personal experience. I could argue that there's really no such thing as universal experience, since universes don't experience. I might glimpse common threads connecting my personal experience with the personal experience recounted by some writer, and feel as though that writer, who never met me, somehow inhabited my experience. I might then project that my experience exhibits some universality, though there's no universal plane upon which any experience might manifest.

As the fire hose continues to gush, I catch glimpses of myself screaming by. A phrase imbedded within an immediately forgotten essay by an anonymous author strikes me as particularly apt. The rest of the piece falls away like vegetable peelings while I swallow the satisfying salad course, the other courses apparently not written for me. I live a small enough life that I sometimes doubt if any of my ramblings rise to even the lowliest level of significance. I mumble my way through, maybe just the same way you mumble your way through, too. I think the volume of information a ruse, little more than an excuse for not keeping up with all nobody could ever possibly keep up with. I remember no time in my brief existence when I was not feeling overwhelmed by the volume of information assaulting my remarkably short attention span. I can also not remember a time when snippets imbedded in that flow failed to catch my eye and excite my mind. One does not drink the river, but witnesses it.

And like in Ancient Greek times, nobody ever crosses the same river twice. Now, nobody ever encounters the same Too Much Information twice. It's all different, though apparently very much the same. Imbedded in there, now as then, lie tiny truths, infinitesimal insights, and microscopic meanings which seem to make a real difference. Trebling the volume couldn't effect this small truth. Though so much whips by unseen, I believe that what matters might well stick to me on its way past. I set my pen to this post-modern parchment to share the tiny bits that seem to have somehow stuck to me. Maybe one or two of those delights might stick to you in turn.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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