Rendered Fat Content


Artemisia Gentileschi - Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy (1620s)

"Everything I hold dear will have become as a rusty spoon, leaving little of substance …"

By the time I finish compiling and Proofing my eighteen finished PureSchmaltz Stories manuscripts, I calculate that I'll have accumulated something like six thousand double-sided double-spaced pages, or six reams of printed material. That does not count the two or three or four other odd uncollated manuscripts I have hanging around even further backstage. It also doesn't count the material I continue producing each morning which, by the end of each quarter, adds another three hundred plus pages and yet another "finished" manuscript. Believe me, please, I am not bragging here, but sitting on the edge of a kind of ecstatic despair. Over the forty-five days since I started this Authoring effort, I've compiled five manuscripts and Proofed three, leaving two compiled but not yet proofed and six more to compile and Proof to resolve my current backlog. Try as I might, I cannot seem to proof more than one manuscript per week, for I find that work rather like reading poetry. One cannot speed-read poetry. Proofing my prose induces bouts of ecstatic despair, for the slowly shrinking pile of paper seems an authentic source of both pride and embarrassment for me, one of incalculable wealth.

I had not intended to do this to myself.
I merely set about, four and a half years ago, to exercise my gift, to simply write. I set myself to write a modest amount each day, seven or eight, perhaps as many as twelve hundred words every morning. Lo and behold, but that modest volume produced a 75,000 word finished manuscript by the end of that first quarter, four finished pieces that year. Now, four and a half years later, eighteen works and counting. I'll be a while just compiling the backlog, which exists between my Facebook PureSchmaltz Group postings and my PureSchmaltz blog. I cannot consider the works complete until I've read the compiled copy as if it was a book. I cannot release any of them until I've read, Proofed, and classified each. They're each the same and also quite different, like children, I guess, each precious to me but perhaps to nobody else. I feel like Scrooge McDuck, drowning in his wealth. I suspect that I should be dressing rather like the Monopoly Man, though those striped pants and cutaway coat would certainly make my butt look too big. I didn't intend to grow bigger than my modest writer's britches.

Now I have a management problem. I always counseled my clients, back when I was still working as a consultant, to start small with their world-shaking efforts. Huge initiatives rarely work. Tiny intrusions might. I realized this week that my Authoring goal could not possibly be to see that each of my finished pieces make it into print, but to choose which of my beloved children I might select for that honor. I've already shared the rough first draft of every word of these manuscripts on my PureSchmaltz Blog and most of them still reside there, but blogs are notoriously difficult places from which to extract continuity, for they display exclusively LIFO, Last In, First Out, rather than in chronological order. The contortions I twist myself into to compile a properly ordered finished manuscript leave me feeling like an ill-used pretzel. Further, I see that I'm unlikely to finish merely compiling and Proofing my backlog by the end of this calendar quarter, by which time I will have produced another finished volume of PureSchmaltz Stories and presumably completed my Authoring series. I feel every bit like King Midas surrounded by a gilded family, embarrassed by my wealth.

I could stop adding to the backlog, I guess, and I would, except I want to see how this story turns out and also how the ones after this one end, though I should know by now that my PureSchmaltz Stories do not tend to end cleanly. They feature ragged beginnings and fading endings, sometimes abruptly disappearing without having proven anything, leaving both their author and their reader wondering what just happened and why. I am not on a mission here. I never wanted to change this world or any other. I just wanted to make a little noise, joyful if I could muster that, and tell a few stories. I had no idea that I had so many damned stories in me, that I would turn out to be an artesian spring of stories, spouting a fresh one every morning. Remember, I'm chronicling a manner of living here, not selling anything or even pretending to be an exemplar of living. I wanted to see how it might be if I merely witnessed my own manner of living such that my progeny, decades and centuries hence, might better understand and perhaps even appreciate how it was for me living in this world which will have utterly disappeared into the absolutely unimaginable by then. Everything I hold dear will have become as a rusty spoon, leaving little of substance, except, perhaps, my little Embarrassment of riches.


I'm not complaining. Here it is Friday again and time to perform the weekly accounting. I once again managed to produce seven fresh PureSchmaltz Authoring stories and something just shy of nine hundred views between look-ins, comments, and likes. I have been watching, though I witness more embarrassments whenever I do. How could it have been true that me and you and all of us here together produced PureSchmaltz? It was once a still, silent voice until I got my dander up. I'd been cruising before, leveraging my Authoring credentials but not writing much new material. I gratefully got chased away from that complacence and in defiance—a response I learned from my mother—I commenced to write, to become a writer again, which, inevitably, I guess, nudged me back into Authoring again. Full circle and then some, I'm now back, dragging fresh carrion, a genuine embarrassment of great good fortune, an embarrassment of riches.

I began my writing week extolling the curious benefits of strategic indifference in
Ambivalence. "Authoring seems to want its own pace, more that of a walking horse than a steeplechase. A touch of strategic Ambivalence seems especially well placed right now."

I stepped into
OtherWorlds to describe how Authoring responds to fundamentally unanswerable questions. "The result will qualify as neither fiction nor non, but OtherWorlds ones, imagined then agreed upon without ever actually existing. I suppose that it's fitting that a work out of OtherWorlds should find itself subjected to just such a cross examination upon reentry into this one."

I noticed that even when Authoring, I tend to propel myself forward by means of
DreadLines. "Authoring involves challenging my edges, proposing sometimes outrageous alternatives, and goosing myself into at least trying, if not always try, try, trying to get around, over, and beyond them."

I suggested that all the picky detail work Authoring entails might be working to increase my
ShelfConfidence necessary for Authoring. "I might write for myself but I must author for others."

I made a small distinction, between what I labeled steady work and its opposite,
SpurtyWork, of which Authoring entails. " … Authoring's not that sort of effort and won't wear that slipper no matter how forcefully anyone might try to force its foot into it. I catch myself mentally trying to force my foot into that slipper. I should have learned better."

I next recognized the first anniversary of my darling daughter Heidi's death by waking up from a long sleep in
RipVanSchmaltz. "The future seems inevitably dystopian. The innocence which hovered close to us through the first ten thousand complications erodes somewhat over time. Some losses cannot ever be replaced. Our smiles eventually become gap-toothed. Our hearts feel every loss, every infinitely extended absence."

I ended my writing week reflecting upon the arcane activity of
Honing, sharpening my skills if not my knives. "To master Honing suggests mastering becoming without actually achieving anything yet."

My week began in sincere Ambivalence and ended with me crouching over my Authoring, Honing my skills. In between, I visited OtherWorlds, sidestepped Dreadlines, increased my ShelfConfidence by means of SpurtyWork, and even woke up a little. A standard week in almost every respect, another damned Embarrassment … of riches. This could not have happened had you not been here observing, commenting, and appreciating, without your presence. You did Heisenberg proud, and Schrödinger, too. PureSchmaltz seems just so much speculative bullshit, a Schrödinger cat, without your animating presence alongside mine. It's community effort, this Authoring, this PureSchmaltz-ing. Thanks for ambling along and thereby making this possible.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus

Made in RapidWeaver