Rendered Fat Content


Pierre-Quentin Chedel:
Le Maître d'école [Writing School ] (18th century)

"That's how I use the English language."

I cannot rightfully claim to feel proud of my profession. Indeed, I cannot even rightfully proclaim to have a profession. I fancy myself a writer. I trade in writing or WryDing, as I might more accurately describe it. It can't qualify as a profession because it has never really amounted to anything. It's never translated into something even vaguely resembling a living. Over my lifetime, my WryDing has produced a deficit, a record kept exclusively in red ink, revenue never once exceeding expenses. Were it a business, it would have been shuttered ages ago, and its proprietor would have shuffled off to some other field or wisely retired. The usual rules for comportment, investment strategies, and civil niceties don't seem to apply. A terribly narrow set of general guidelines apply instead: Keep WryDing.

Should a day slip by without at least a little transcribing, identity crumbles, for WryDing demands full attention.
No resting on laurels ever allowed. A writer only exists in asperation, only there if actively pursuing. He seems haunted, but only because he always was. What else would ever move anyone to try to capture their internal mumbling? He must be pursued by something even more alarming than exposing his inner world might seem. He must be at least somewhat shameless and more than a little foolhardy. There's nothing very noble about publicly exposing what occurs between one's ears. It seems the very soul of presumptuousness and not just a little degrading. He nonetheless continues WryDing, apparently trying to recover his losses with volume.

I subscribe to the medieval idea that nothing's more sacred than a blank page. My life-long obsession with spoiling them notwithstanding, I persist in WryDing, probably believing I might one day get myself discovered. The story becomes blurry following, but this absent specificity does nothing to blunt my passionate pursuit, even though I've been discovered before, and it changed nothing. Most of us hold on to some private rescue fantasy that we might one day be chosen for some special mission and lavishly rewarded, that we're secretly terribly special and deserving. Are our lives so disappointing that we must balance them with fantasy objectives?

I almost exclusively write in the wee hours, when nobody but me could possibly be looking. I shrink from self-promotion because I can't quite believe I should be chosen. I certainly don't feel worthy of any adoration, for I'm just a journeyman, far from a master, in many ways still a rank amateur. I don't make submissions for publication. I don't know how. I barely manage to self-publish without getting very many others involved. The creators of the software I use doubtless believe that I abuse their creations, but only because I probably do. I believe it's true that no designer ever once understood how to use what they designed. That understanding demands that a genuinely naive user get their hands on it and successfully use it for purposes the designer never imagined. That's how I use the English language.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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