Rendered Fat Content


John Buckland Wright, Freedom (1933)
"Perhaps it was never the problem we convinced ourselves it was."

Today's Authoring Story presents a Breakthrough, what I'll label Breakthrough1.0 in recognition of the high likelihood that this will prove to be the first one of, if not many, then a few upcoming Breakthroughs. They do tend to come in manys following some stuckness. One Breakthrough begets others. A snowball might spawn an avalanche. I realize that this one might well seem out of context, because it's not about Authoring so much as a product of Authoring effort. I'd grown dissatisfied with what I'd earlier written as the preface for my Cluelessness book, the one I've been preparing for publication as part of this Authoring work. What follows serves as a second draft of that preface. I present it without further comment and humbly request that you, dear reader, savage it if you can. This preface, of course, being intended for a book entitled Cluelessness, should exhibit some Cluelessness itself. I wonder if it's understandable, compelling, or seemingly stumbling all over itself? Have at it, please. I promise to be grateful.


What sort of person writes a book titled Cluelessness? A reader might expect this author to have somehow conquered Cluelessness as a precondition for writing this book, and that this work might serve as at least a step toward solving the epidemic of Cluelessness undermining this nation, this world. That reader might quickly find that expectation disappointed by the content, for this author has not conquered his own Cluelessness. It continues to daily bedevil him in much the same ways that your own Cluelessness probably bedevils you. It might be true that Cluelessness will always be with us, just like Jesus said about the poor, more feature for us than bug.

I contend that Cluelessness is not half the problem our inability to cope with our Cluelessness tends to become. Nobody can ever hope to know enough to utterly avoid Cluelessness, nor could simply knowing hope to eliminate the difficulty because Cluelessness can exist even in realms beyond knowing’s influence, like with feelings, for instance. You sense something I’m numb to, and my numbness might well appear as Cluelessness to you. Your focus might be trained in some different direction and your resulting blindness might seem like Cluelessness to me. We seem to sort our worlds into those that seem like us and those who seem different, assigning the label Clueless to those who seem most different from us. How Clueless is that?

While Cluelessness might generally serve as a label we assign to others, we might miss opportunities to see it operating within our own lives. I consider it evidence of my own poor self esteem if I seem too Clueless to myself. I’m often mistaken, but rarely Clueless because I understand, as nobody else ever does, just how hard I try to keep myself clued in. I might not be a font of understanding, but I’m never devoid of all knowledge. I generally know enough to get by, to pass, at least to my own satisfaction. In those instances where I can acknowledge my own Cluelessness, I tend to see only innocent oversight, rarely the malign intent I might ascribe to another’s obvious evidence of possessing it.

That said, we do inhabit a world where many seem to insist upon defending their Cluelessness, as if it were not a negative characteristic but a positive feature, like the pre-Civil War Know Nothing Party. Today, we have people who insist upon their fair and balanced news outlet lying to them. We have sides ascribed to almost every situation, with fake news balanced against its actual opposite to produce weird composites, partly truth and partly fiction, and seemingly 100% conviction, thereby ensuring deeply entrenched Cluelessness. 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.

What kind of a person would I have had to become to consider myself an expert on Cluelessness and to propose a cure for it? I’d have had to become another one of those experts who just seem Clueless to all of the unwashed. Rather than develop that specific expertise, as the expert on Cluelessness, I’ll claim the opposite. I qualify as a rank amateur at avoiding Cluelessness, for I daily discover myself displaying another instance of it. I never seem to know enough to completely avoid it. My deficiencies, though, might not stem from what I do not yet understand, but in how poorly I usually cope with these discoveries. My Cluelessness, and perhaps yours, ain’t all that much when compared with how I tend to cope with these discoveries.

This book, then, exists as a book of discovery, an extended exposé, in which I attempt to out myself as Clueless in many different guises. I might accidentally dispense a tiny bit of good advice, but I intend instead to serve as an example of someone who perhaps more fully acknowledges his own Cluelessness rather than one who expends much of his energy carping about others’ Cluelessnesses. I figure if I can own my own, I might become too busy to worry very much about others’ shortcomings. We’re all Clueless on this bus, though some of us seem to cope with its presence a little better than do others. For me, complaining about others serves as the most primitive form of coping. This book’s about attempting better.

Coping seems an opposite of solving, though sometimes coping seems to utterly resolve an insoluble difficulty. I, myself, have been trying to rid myself of labeling most difficulties as ‘problems,’ because I believe problem to be a relatively rare form of tangle, the kind that comes with solutions. Most difficulties seem to come with conundrums such that no solutions seem apparent. These tangles can certainly inconvenience but will not very likely ever be solved. I believe that Cluelessness exists as one of those sorts of difficulties, the kind without solutions. My rule of thumb insists: Where No Solutions Exist, Cope Better.

So this book will be about my coping with my own Cluelessness. Under the
The Most Personal Tends To Be The Most Universal Rule, my Cluelessness might well seem awfully close to home for you. It might be that observing me catch myself Clueless might help you catch yourself Clueless, too. What I choose to do with my discovery might serve to inspire or inform your own coping with your own discovery. That’s my intent. That’s why I’m sharing the following stories. I hope that as a result of your exposure to my Cluelessness, you might feel more capable of coping with yours. If there is no solution, if, as Jesus might have said, “The Clueless will always be with us,” coping might be everything we’ve got to effectively deal with it. Certainly, many attempts to eradicate Cluelessness have not succeeded. Perhaps Cluelessness was never the problem we convinced ourselves it was.

Please enjoy this read.


This Friday arrives to find me breaking out of a cage of my own making. This Authoring business seems to offer a series of opportunities to construct cages and also challenges to break out of them, with only Authoring serving as my tools. I can spend days high centered, spinning wheels, denying what only I must do. This seems a most unattractive side of Authoring, at least until some Breakthrough emerges, even if it's only a Breakthrough1.0 and likely not the final one. The week just behind us now was a struggle for this Author, and I almost apologize for dragging you through my own muddy misgivings, my own struggles, but if I was to be true to this series, true to myself, and even true to you, dear reader, I'd have to include a few blemishes in my stories. I won't dwell on what just happened, but a quick reminder might help frame its meaning and significance. No real progress comes cheap.

I began my writing week reflecting on getting and receiving
GoodAdvice. "My struggle to make meaning, to make sense, just seems to take whatever it takes with no shortcuts. As painful as it might be to witness, believe me, it's worse inside the chrysalis, but I'm learning that these struggles tend to produce the insights I seek. The GoodAdvice might come later, when I might ask if another wants the benefit of my experience."

I reported on a prominent absence around the manuscript I'd been preparing,
TheNarrative surrounding it. This proved to be my most popular posting this period. "I believe today that TheNarrative must emerge from its absence, a vacancy not initially obvious and later unignorable. It should probably, rightly be a barrier to finishing and so appear at an inconveniencing time. It must be mine."

I next recounted a
StalkingDream, noting that its story was less important than the sense it left behind. "It brought a warming sense of reassurance."

I noted some frustration with the slow emergence of a solution to a common Authoring difficulty in
Inging. "I might be engaged in introducing myself to another part of me, not a whole new identity, but a sliver of an additional focus of my daily activity."

I suggested that I prefer to prolong rather than finish in
Enhollowing. "I've been diligently peeling back layers of an authentic onion of an objective and I sense a completion coming within my reach. I've slowed my cadence while my well-rehearsed Learned Helplessness kicks in. I do not want this Authoring effort to end."

I managed to experience a real boost of progress by
ChangingVenue. "The difference influenced. Not the kind of difference, just the presence of it."

I ended my writing week feeling stupid, experiencing a normal bout of Authoring Dolt-Drums. "I think it particularly important to fully acknowledge the Dolt-Drums, the time within most every adventure when the originally envisioned outcome seems unlikely to happen, when that once magic something that began the thing, abandons it, and utterly."

I experienced a week that started with GoodAdvice and ended with an unexpected though probably inevitable Breakthrough1.0. I recognized that I'd lost my Narrative before a StalkingDream, like Banquo's Ghost, prefaced while reminding me of something coming. I recognized that I had actually been doing something besides Idling. I'd been busily Inging. I caught myself extending rather than seeking closure before ChangingVenue and accomplishing something, then ended my week feeling stupid. How rewarding this Authoring effort sometimes feels! Oh, well, I managed a Breakthrough1.0 this week. Thanks, again, for peeking in!

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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