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Gustave Doré: Found in the Street (1872)
" … trust in my experience, even when it seems, at best, half-vast."

The Muse knows that if she wants to understand my perspective, she'll have to ask and then … … wait, for I never seem capable of responding instantly with any status request. Ask me what I think and my first reaction will be to wonder, "Was I supposed to be thinking?" I'll need to sort out some fairly hefty existential baggage before I'll muster a response. Asking me how I feel about something should spark an even lengthier delay, for I do not keep my feelings within easy reach. My mean lag time between intention and engagement tends to be lengthy, too, as I seem to need to consider most things through to some point of leverage before physically starting, so it might well seem as if I had been actively forgetting to follow through rather than spooling up for my opening gambit. I have proven to be a most frustrating partner.

I am a frustrating partner for myself, too.
I make good on the old Hasten Slowly injunction, for I only very rarely ever hasten very quickly. Once I get started, though, I stick to my work until it's completed. That first step takes forever. I might find good reason to take a tad longer than expected, even once I get started, but usually only because I find opportunities to improve the quality of the end product or because I discover something omitted from the original considering, even after taking so damned long getting started. Things happen. Further, we tend to maintain as a normal part of being human, unrealistic expectations for how much time we actually have available to productively expend. Most naively assume something on the order of forty hours per week, five eight hour days, but reality strongly suggests if not precisely concluding that we usually only manage to deliver about forty percent of that, something between three and four hours per day, and not usually contiguous hours, producing a sixteen hour week, instead. Ask the Gods why. They designed the work week we observe. (I wrote a decent examination of LagTime in 2018 as a part of my FallingSideways series.)

I'm dredging up these dismal details here in my Authoring Series because I'm trying to remind myself of something important. The primary difference between imagined progress and actual advancement usually involves some inherent TimeLagging effects. As humans, we seem largely immune from imagining time as it actually flows, with its usual ripples and delays. We instead imagine express routes without continuous waylays. We imagine that our work will likely begin the moment after we make a decision rather than after a long-ish weekend letting that decision sink completely in before actually acting. We imagine that we know what we're thinking and what we're feeling and we're surprised and a little disappointed by the delays we seem to insist upon for ourselves, let alone the stalls we might inflict upon The Muse. The more dedicated of us might grow to feel guilty over how we've always been and fall off some regrettable deep end and start studying something Steven Covey might have recommended. Such desperate measures never effectively improved anything, especially progress.

It's been a few days now since I first sensed that I could finally feel how this Authoring Series ends, but I've not yet acted upon that conviction. I've watched a few opportunities to move forward slip past or beside me without my picking up the shovel to start digging in earnest, which, quite honestly, should not surprise me, for that's how I operate. This Authoring effort should properly be no different. If I intend to bring myself to this business, I don't get to shave off the less efficient parts of my standard pattern of engagement. The final product will just have to include a few hesitant tool marks as well as a few more decisive ones. I should well tolerate by now the necessary wait times I always inject into my efforts. I will ultimately get around to it. I insist that I am not dragging my feet, but experiencing some customary and usual TimeLagging. Nagging can't resolve what simple acknowledgement and acceptance might.

I this week rediscovered a little prayer I wrote for myself a couple of years ago, which I then included at the top of my assembling manuscript as a somehow fitting injunction. I would not have rediscovered this piece had I not been wandering around TimeLagging. I might reasonably repeat this thought to myself every morning, whether decisively moving forward or still considering my next move. It goes like this:

May this work be hard enough to humble,
tough enough to teach,
meaningful enough to nourish,
and useful enough to last.
May this blank page prepare me,
the next insight inspire,
and the old understanding make ample space
for difference to prevail.
Let me savor this new beginning
without reviling anything past,
and trust in my experience
even when it seems, at best, half-vast.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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