Rendered Fat Content


Leonard Leslie Brooke:
The eldest son refuses the old grey man
[from The Golden Goose Book]

"I am my own audience."

I have made some decisions over the years I have engaged in this writing experiment. I have been honing my skills, which always involves removing some of the blade to improve performance. Less becomes more. I would write about anything early on, for my explorations remained relatively unconstrained. I had yet to develop many preferences and had not formed what I might describe as taste. I would catch myself being myself and sometimes quake at what I witnessed. That much of my early work was uninformed by very much of a body of preferences showed in ten thousand ways. With many repetitions, some druthers emerged slowly, ranging from preference choices to down-right insistences. Mark Twain insisted that the primary difference between the common jackass and the typical human has always been that there are some things a common jackass won't do. With adequate iteration, though, even the typical human might manage to back into a list of things he steadfastly refuses to do.

I refuse to dispense advice.
Early on, I mistook my blank pages for a pulpit and abused my privilege by mistaking it for a mandate. I was shameless in my presentation. I reasoned that my perspective must be superior if I had been recognized as a published author. I abused my readers, as had many authors before me. I came to understand that dispensing advice mostly amounted to reassuring myself that I must be right, that I possessed no divine right to tell anybody what they should do about anything. Solidifying this notion, I learned just how resistant people tend to be when it comes to obeying. I might insist all I want without influencing anyone's actual on-the-ground decisions about their choices. People do not want to be told what to do, either. They primarily respond by doing the opposite of whatever they're instructed.

When I feel compelled to dispense advice, I paint a portrait instead. I offer a vision of how something might be done. It might be best if these portraits include me as their subject and, better yet, if they do not insist upon correctness, righteousness, or morals. I am not in any position to suggest that Thou Shalt do anything. I can offer a vignette featuring my manner of living without insisting upon any response. I can highlight my manner of living without insisting that it's a model or pattern for anyone else's. I can champion decency without indicting anybody.

For the longest time, up to and including about a minute ago, I harbored deeply inadequate feelings about my writing. I could not plan the content for the life of me, with no outlining or plotline. Nor could I create conventional characters or iconic identities that seemed coherent: heroes, villains, and such. While other admired authors composed compelling stories resembling photographic-quality film, I produced more impressionistic, fuzzy, indistinct works. Anyone looking for classical composition would go wanting, for my work displayed little of that. My impressionistic and even abstract works might also work, though they require a different sort of judgment to consider their qualities. I never intended to produce photographic-quality portraits but senses instead. I hoped my stories might prove more inductive than instructive, more nuanced than explicit. I structure my stories employing other means.

I will not write for profit. I think it perverse to judge any book by its cover price and, even worse, to consider its placement. I firmly believe that my writing should be stumbled upon rather than sold. I keep my distribution narrow and almost secret. I don't really want a bunch of strangers reading my stuff. I write for a closer audience, people I have invited inside. My writing's more personal than commercial. I hope never to become a social media sensation and go viral. I suspect that All I Will Not Do might serve to keep me secure, for I am the kind of performer who prefers to find few in my audiences. I think of my distribution channels like the small venues where I performed back when I was a single acoustical artist singing my songs to rooms full of perfect strangers. I think of myself as a near-perfect stranger to myself, which is why I started writing these stories. This isn't a performance so much as a discovery. I am my own audience. My readers are just peeping in.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus

Made in RapidWeaver