Rendered Fat Content


Marcel Duchamp: Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2
[French: Nu descendant un escalier n° 2] (1912)

"To do it properly means that you must seem to be doing it all wrong …"

The Muse engages in project work, which has always been a curious offshoot of what I might call regular work. Project work seems strange because its primary purpose seems to be to do away with itself. A successful project will work itself out of existence, which seems like an odd foundation upon which to build a career. Further, most professions prescribe practices common to all practitioners. Sure, a few outliers always exist, but the mainstream engage with remarkable consistency, so it shouldn't be surprising if project practitioners, too, usually attempt to adhere to a few widely-acknowledged blessed practices. The Project Management Institute even publishes and maintains what they refer to as a Body of Knowledge, an encyclopedic collection of practices they've blessed for broad application. For an engineering project, these practices might generally work, but project work, being unique, often requires some differences in how one engages. The Muse, for instance, often engages in scientific projects, ones intending to discover something. One does not plan, control, or track a scientific engagement as if it were an engineering assembly effort. Or, I should say, that one shouldn't plan, track, or control a scientific engagement that way. Most try to. The Muse doesn't, wherein lies her mastery. She appears to do it wrong.

I'm learning that Authoring, too, seems to demand some different sorts of management than does other kinds of engagement.
Prominent to my mind this morning, Authoring demands a certain audacity of its practitioner, an Authdacity, if you will. Authdacity encourages making unsupportable assertions and asking myself unanswerable questions. It also seems to rely an awful lot on feelings. It's not predominantly an intellectual exercise, not mostly happening upstairs between my ears, but more like everywhere in my body and my immediate surroundings. It seems rather like being immersed in a sort of amber, a semi solid not yet set but setting fast. I need to act or risk losing my chance and once cast, the product I produce will be fast, frozen, changeable only through reinterpretation. It's an active engagement even when apparently stalled.

The Muse reports that scientific engagements require more generous contingency allotments. While an engineering assembly effort might thrive within an assumption of ten or fifteen percent contingency budget, a scientific investigation more routinely requires an acceptance of the likelihood of a one hundred percent likely overage of both time and budget. One might wonder just how experienced the estimator might be if she can only succeed if given such broad targets, but it's the nature of the work that demands the form of target. The scientific enquiry includes many more known unknowables than does the engineering assembly project. This seems like a revelation when The Muse discloses this small universal truth to senior management. They wonders why they hadn't noticed this influence before. It's hard and perhaps impossible to see outside any framework one expects to see. Our perception might be mostly projection. We follow the accepted patterns and might not notice how wrong we were until someone else points our oversight out to us. Even then, we'll likely push back.

Once inside a fresh context, our history easily blinds us. Within Authoring, I can say that I'm learning, which might mean that I'm catching myself not knowing or not even suspecting what I needed to do next. My project managing has therefore appeared to me particularly inept and yet, I'm still engaged. I can see that there could have been no prescribed path from there to here and none beyond here, either. I carry options instead. I have no checklist, no estimates. I'm following emotions, which might seem the very sole of primitive engagement, hardly sophisticated or modern. Authoring's neither a sophisticated nor a terribly modern endeavor. It's as primitive as chucking rocks at something. I chuck rocks at myself sometimes in abject frustration.

I am learning, and painfully slowly, that Authoring is at root an audacious activity and that I have not historically been all that audacious of a man. I'm rising to the bait, but slowly. My self confidence lags considerably some days and others, zooms on ahead where I also cannot quite see it yet. It eggs me onward. My contingency budget seems all out of whack when I compare it to what a standard engineering assembly effort might demand. I ain't engineering anything, but Authoring. The other thing about project management that makes it different is that its real masters do it different every time. They do not adhere to anyone's template but attempt to interpret what their effort needs then rather than what it was supposed to need from them. This makes the master project manager seem like an idiot to most observers and explains why project management remains the most maligned profession. To do it properly means that you must seem to be doing it all wrong, like with Authoring.


My writing weeks disappear around the next corner, too, or behind the corner I just turned. I started this one on an ending, or a beginning, or both. What started as a Breakthrough seemed to fizzle out and I spent most of my week wandering through wilderness feeling as though I was making no progress, but since I'd never traversed that particular path before, I couldn't tell for sure. All who wander aren't lost or found, but maybe just farting around. It might be our generation's particular curse that we always expect progress out of ourselves, as if breathing just involved inhalation or wakefulness didn't requiring some sleeping sometimes. On this Friday, acceptance seems the very soul or spirit of Authdacity and Authoring.

I began my writing week by, as I stated, breaking out of a cage I'd constructed for myself, and not the last one, either, in
Breakthrough1.0. "I have no prescription for curing this obvious shortcoming other than to more emphatically claim to be Clueless myself, as if I was an example of what I also see in them, not an other but an us."

I told of finally giving away some of the last remaining
Detritus from our Grand Refurbish as a reminder for me and my Authoring. "It stands as a testament to maturity or something if and when the protagonist attends to his context maintenance as well as to his content creation."

I considered my Authoring to perhaps represent something other than an existing classification in
Avant."It might qualify as a sin of self importance to waste too much time or energy or effort overthinking just who any author is or the identity his work exhibits. This understanding, of course, like all wisdom, can only come after already expending altogether too much time and energy and effort overthinking these questions."

I described how, for an author, a
BookSale feels like a visit to an orphanage, producing this period's most popular posting. "For an Author, BookSales feel scary. They dredge up the kind of troubling thoughts prospective parents get during their darker nights of their spirits."

I realized that I'd fallen into a
Backsliding phase of Authoring, moving backward or sideways as a form of forward progress. "The tech sparingly giveth and enthusiastically taketh away."

I found myself engaging with a fax-based system and found greater satisfaction in my budding Authoring system in
Systemantics. "I some days find myself feeling daunted by the utter immaturity of my budding Authoring system, but I take solace in recognizing that more mature systems often perform even more poorly than the immature ones, which have not had time to metastasize their worst practices into common habits, like has our Best Health Care System In The World."

I ended my writing week feeling rather sorry for myself after a long week not engaging with particular Authdacity in
BigChicken. "What courage I do exhibit tends to be of the counter phobic kind."

Maybe this writing week was similar to all my others. Since I had never before navigated through the week, the way I did it might have worked just as well as could have been expected, had I expected well. Of course, way back at the beginning, had I proposed spending my writing week the way I ended up spending it, I would have thought myself an under-performer, for an engineering assembly effort might have planned more audacious effort than the acceptance Authdacity wrought. I swear that I'll probably never get the hang of this Authoring business! To do it right appears to be doing it backwards. Thanks for following alongside!

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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