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Frederic Remington: First and Best Camp of the Trip (1895)

"Each a detective, none a master."

We believe in TheReveal, that whatever mystery harasses us, we will eventually come to understand and thereby resolve it. This seems an inherently naive notion, since this world, this universe, seems more vast than even our imaginations might ever grasp. Still, we entertain and employ ourselves seeking answers, often to the wrong questions. We collect pieces to these puzzles in the belief that we might one day fit them together and release the tension. In Hardy Boys novels, this release came about in TheReveal chapter, where all the story's threads came together to affect resolution. The reader would learn
who done it? and the perpetrator would be carted off to jail. Frank and Joe might receive the heartfelt if slightly surprised appreciation from the police chief or their detective dad, then go on to stumble upon another mystery needing resolution.

I am here to reveal that life does not often work like that.
A person might work their whole career trying to master their profession, only to retire short of realizing their originally motivating aspiration, understanding that their chosen profession perhaps offered no opportunity for any mastery, just continual frustration at never being able to resolve The Mystery. The Mystery ended up being that there would be no resolution, no release, no Reveal. One could manage projects or perform cost accounting and never come to feel as though they'd mastered even the mechanics of the work. Doctors and lawyers are said to "practice" their professions, not to necessarily master them. Each might experience their moments of brilliance, but none ever rise to where they transcend their training and experience to become anything like omniscient. Each learns to accept their shortcomings and short goings.

This universe presents particular difficulties for the problem solvers, for they, perhaps more than any others, believe in the possibility of repeatedly experiencing TheReveal. They might approach each problem as if they were an enthusiastic puppy, hungry for fun. I'm uncertain what they do once they learn again that they've bitten off more than they will be able to chew, that the problem was not necessarily prepared for resolution this time and will therefore need to be set aside rather than thoroughly resolved. The duct tape only hints at the depth of irresolution. The problem solver continues to focus upon a different matter, albeit in the same rather naive manner. Those who seek to solve problems come to learn the most about irresolution.

Still, we poke around, often finding alluring clues. We might never resolve the whole mystery, but we routinely uncover interesting questions. We labor in a vast and poorly lighted place, surrounded by tens of thousands of unanswered, perhaps unanswerable, questions. Most of us manage to pick off a few as we pass, and these small successes produce some satisfaction. Who said that we needed to resolve the whole case to be considered a detective? Root cause resolution remains rare even for the dedicated specialist. We take our successes as we can and learn to celebrate even the sense of progress, and not to hold ourselves to unreasonable expectations, regardless of how firmly we might cling to them ourselves. It might be that asking any question only serves to spawn a thousand more like that one, and that seeking to resolve anything merely assures irresolution. These mysteries are not curses and never were. Perhaps they came as blessings, providing something upon which to focus our attention while we go about the otherwise mundane chores of daily living. Each a detective, none a master.


Stumbling Upon Satisfying Insights
I usually spend my early Friday mornings seeking TheReveal for my week's writing, for I write without an outline and therefore must attempt to construct a plot line after I've already produced the stories which might, if cleverly framed, come to resolve something. In this way, writing seems to very closely mirror all the other professions, though it's not always practiced in that manner, in that fashion. I understand that some writers outline their plots before setting down their stories so that each story might be born dripping with intention and comfortably inhabit their assigned space. This tactic reliably produces fiction. And fiction's fine for entertainment, even, sometimes, for deeper understanding, even if the deeper mysteries remain unresolved. I exclusively make up my stories before stumbling upon their meaning, what I'm doing when I'm tottering around before sunrise Friday mornings. I probably create more mysteries than I ever resolve, but I often catch myself stumbling upon satisfying insights.

I began my writing week railing against being against in
Anti- "We dare not ever hold grudges for they represent the ultimate Anti- and are by default, always self-destructive. They represent the Anti- personal experience, the Anti-self, the Anti-Christ."

I next sort off skipped ahead, abandoning my present work to peek into my
NextChapter. "The future arrives before he's ready, before he's fully prepared. The future always jumps the gate as if it were already late and not early. Futures come before anyone's ready."

I described what I might call an alternative persona were it not such an integral part of who I know myself to be in
Pa, the most popular posting this period. " I could not see myself sitting on a pew when there was work to do."

Labor Day came and prompted me to consider
Laboring. "We do not so much celebrate Labor Day, we observe it from a safe distance in the shade."

I invented a word to describe hot weather hibernation:
Dazing. "The bulk of my August days were spent Dazing, in hot weather hibernation, idly gazing, almost dozing. It was my final defense."

I delved into explanatory stories in
Becausing. "Becausing provides a brushoff in lieu of an explanation."

I ended my writing week by considering
RealChange. "We genuinely fail to see the essential contradiction in our constant striving for change …"

What am I to make of this? I ask myself this question just about this time every Friday morning. I'm grateful for the question even if the answer doesn't immediately seem all that revealing. A storyline now exists, though due to my construction of it, each reader might have concocted something different. I'm duly re-reminded again that Anti- might be its own worse enemy, how NextChapters tend to arrive well before their previous chapter's finished. That there's always, always, always another persona lurking behind or beneath the presented one, and it's well worth knowing. Laboring's something we rightfully avoid while claiming to revere it. Some experiences insist upon the protagonist hibernating through them. Why won't necessarily provide a reason. RealChange, the kind we're continuously imbedded in, does not very often come from an act of volition. It sneaks in, like my plot lines, like TheReveal, delivered by a thief in the night. Thanks for following along!

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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