Rendered Fat Content


Robert Lawson: original etching, titled “the connoisseurs,” (undated)
A conspiracy's gaining steam."

While writing tends toward an isolated and, indeed, isolating endeavor, Authoring becomes necessarily more social. It might take a village to bring any work to publication and distribute it beyond its author's orbit. Even in this age of viral transmission, those lowly-seeming individual producers usually have a community contributing and supporting their efforts, colluding in dozens of different little ways to make a real difference. In some ways, these helpers find their own way inside the author's circle, even when they're invited in, for these endeavors rarely seem terribly promising at the outset. Invitations get sent without great expectations that they'll be be warmly received, without knowing who might insist upon taking a lead. The resulting community expands organically, fueled by each member's own interests. In this sense, the Colluding seems inherently beneficial, occurring only because there's really no other way to get such things going. This describes what I've long referred to as a ProjectCommunity, a benevolently Colluding conspiracy of dunces intent upon becoming geniuses. Screw projects, we'd much rather collude and conspire.

As a writer untrained by formal writers' workshop orientation, I most fear the critics.
In art and writer's school situations, the teachers spend much of their time organizing panels, the sole purpose of which seems to be to make the budding student's existence just as miserable as inhumanly possible. Each panel member's encouraged to make their least generous interpretation of the artist's work and to make helpful suggestions which might serve to hammer their ego into submissive shape and ween them off the overbearing teat of complement. An artist must not seek approval from their audience, but stand rather arrogantly, or at least insistently, behind and beside their work, no placating in any attempt to please anybody. Perhaps because of this tradition, everyone who might collude with a writer tends to default into the role of helpful critic, feeling perfectly sanguine offering suggestions, generally of the "All ya gotta do" or Why don'tcha?" variety. These, of course, tend to be ego batterers for even the writer's workshop conditioned. For loners like me, they feel devastating, so I try hard to avoid the helpful critics, those who seem to read to find fault and, though they've never written anything themselves, feel perfectly comfortable suggesting how the budding author might solve the world hunger problem, with devastating results.

If I had it my way, I'd put everything I write under lock and key and hire armed goons to ensure it never sees the light of any day, lest an innocent reader might happen upon it and feel influenced by it or feel moved to attempt to improve upon it, for that's not how improvement works, if, indeed, improvement's even the point. I'm firmly of the opinion that everything ever produced is flawed, but often in terribly charming ways. Attempts to produce perfection generally yield stuffy fragility. Intricacies certainly have their places, but ingots seem more universally useful. Crude approximations generally serve just fine. Gilded pigs hold little utility. I share my work with hefty helpings of circumspection. I find helpful criticism devastating. Authoring follows twisted paths. I mostly need a little advice, suggestions about which road to take and which to avoid, and introductions to others who might find self interest in whatever I'm up to such that they, too, might want to do some Colluding with me and my fellow conspirators.

PureSchmaltz is no longer a closely held secret and I do not aspire for it to become a household name. It neither desires nor deserves fame as it's popularly defined. It has no interest in viral reach. It seeks thoughtful readers, ones who might appreciate a slightly Schmaltzy take on this world, ones not needing idols, heroes, or shamans. I admit that I'm still working on my meta message, never ever having been meta to myself or my voice, for that message seems discovered solely by echo-location. Marco … … Polo … … Marco … … —of a few surreptitious conspirators. asking questions and sharing impressions, like what happens on my Friday PureSchmaltz Zoom Chat, an act of Colluding if ever I've been engaged with one. We have grown wise together there, even the rare occasional contributor, for we treat each other with humble respect and authentic appreciation. We practice mutual admiration. We never find reason to whisper behind each other's backs about each other. We are just who we are together and nothing more or less or in any way regretful. We collude to delight each other and ourselves. We are Authoring our own experience.

I yesterday sent out my first invitation. I intend to send many more. I understand that this Authoring business will stretch and pull me far beyond my writer's coma and that I will need helpers, joyful warriors, stealthy co-conspirators to pull off anything more public than my writing. I might well be calling you. Should you receive an invitation, please do not feel as if you cannot deny my call. I encourage you in that moment to deny my call if you sense that you should. It does nobody any good to sacrifice for such efforts. Nobody really needs another sacrificial contribution, they tend to be overdone. Burnt offerings just smell scorched. Summer before last, I invited a few readers to read one of my manuscripts. They provided the most enlivening service, for I directed them to avoid if possible any critiques or suggestions for improvements. I wanted impressions from them. I asked for them to share their stories of what they experienced when they read my stories. The damned pandemic landed before I could find an agent or publisher interested in promoting that work. It's still here, waiting for another nudge. A conspiracy's gaining steam. Colluding's commencing. Authoring.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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