Rendered Fat Content


Paul Cézanne: (unfinished) Portrait of Gustave Geffroy (1895)
" … moments savored in the moment then forgotten forever."

I haven't accomplished much in this life, largely by design. I seem to possess a strong aversion to doneness, preferring to leave good enough unhassled by finishing touches. I tend to take things up to edges, but rarely over them. I much prefer starting new projects over gaining closure on any current one, so I usually abandon an effort in favor of an alluring opportunity, which I will also leave somewhat unfinished once it's close enough but rarely actually finished. I do not suffer from some curable illness or even an incurable one, for I consider my aversion to doneness a feature of my existence and in no way an encumbrance to it. It needs no treatment, though it does have a name. Perhaps it's just a syndrome, a special purpose capability reserved for an exceptional few, which, surprisingly, seems to include me. I'm not its victim and I do not suffer, but I seem to have Asymptosis, or it has me.

Always arriving without ever having arrived. Moving towards without actually crossing any finish line.
Starting plenty, abandoning more. Asymptosis seems the perfect resonance of the currently popular ever-shortening attention span. It's not merely a resonance of distraction, though. I believe that there's both an art as well as a science to it. Once understood, it makes sense, perhaps not perfect sense, but perfection is nobody's business. Good enough probably qualifies as everyone's business, though it might be closure's mortal enemy. I should probably, now that I've actually started painting my porch—having finally given up on prepping it—go out and buy a second gallon. I'm not impressed with this paint's coverage. It should have been a few tones darker in color, too, so I should probably go out and buy a thicker paint in a darker color and start painting all over again if I want this project really done, done, and done rather than merely finished. I most likely won't go to those ends because I've got other projects stacking up. I'm past ready to get started on them. After a couple of weeks of porch work, anything else seem preferable, which leaves the current project good enough though not strictly finished. I'm more than familiar with this situation. I expected it when I started.

I should make the distinction between shoddy work and good enough. I expect high quality output. I won't apply a finish coat without first properly preparing a surface, and I can be exacting about finishing interim steps, perhaps because completing those provides no closure and allows me to move on and into fresh phases. Painting's nothing like prepping, but painting's nothing to get too hung up about. If a single coat looks good enough, there's no need to apply three just for form's sake. I try my best to leave a high quality unfinished product, which demands considerable judgement. When the old value add curve starts heading south, I start plotting my exit. Anyone unfamiliar with the tradeoffs I balanced might not even notice the unfinished business I left behind, but I'll never forget them, which explains why I can say that I haven't accomplished much.

Asymptosis encourages Zen-like engagement. Since closure's not the objective, discernment more deeply influences, sensing only close enough but never any closer. Done for me applauds with only one hand clapping. The engagement matters perhaps more if closure's off the table. Each step might well be the last so one cannot rely upon aspiration to promise future salvation. Each moment's it, or might well prove to provide the purpose. The meaning of the effort becomes emergent because it relies not upon original intent but eventual acceptance. Nobody could have known at the start what a satisfying form unfinished might take and one must remain aware of emerging exit points to take advantage of them. My projects tend to become strings of happy accidents culminating in abandonment, moments savored in the moment then forgotten forever. Their remnants might well pass muster though I know they remain forever unfinished. I'm still SettlingInto this acknowledgement and might never finish.


Friday's come, leaving unfinished business behind. That business might well get taken back up sometime in the future, but its original context's moved on, so good luck finding much meaning there. SettlingInto seems particularly situational. What seemed essential earlier on seems wholly optional now. The garden's weedy, but who cares? The tomatoes are thriving. I'll get around to weeding when it seems important and maybe not until it becomes urgent. My priorities have become emergent, still arriving, still not fully here, evidence of my abiding Asymptosis hanging near.

I began my writing week with an
Evening walk around our lovely neighborhood with The Muse. This proved the most popular posting of this period. "The past seems so past in this moment, though, and we revel as we walk through our history and into our present, seeing our future in the shadows."

I missed a posting day this week due to
SlideEffects from a prescription. "SettlingInto seems to include some settling for, accepting some stuff unimagined beforehand."

I next explored a surprisingly common condition. We constantly engage in
Infinities. We start stuff then later learn what we've gotten ourselves into. "It seems hopeless. That's no reason to abandon all hope but probably reason to muster even more just then."

I then considered culture change in
ClutchYerChange. "The best definition of culture I've heard was posed by anthropologist Dani Weinberg, who said that culture is what we do when we don't think we're doing anything." This insight might explain why culture change initiatives so often seem to do nothing.

I thought about growing up, which led me to think about
GrowingDown instead. "I'm still growing, just in a different direction and with different intentions, down and deeper rather than up and ever higher."

I ended my writing week doing without some things in
Withouting. "I firmly believe that character might be best expressed by what one chooses to do without rather than by how much one manages to acquire."

I will with that spare summary of my writing week, call this writing week good enough while fully acknowledging that it might have been better done. It was what it was and now it is just what it is. Friday has become my day of acceptance. A scant ten days remain in this SettlingInto Saga. Come the solstice, I'll be moving on and into something different, though I know for certain that my SettlingInto Stories will not have finished by then. I expect them to exhibit the Asymptosis their author enjoys. My products tend to resemble the boy. Thanks for following my unfinished business!

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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