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Allart van Everdingen:
Reynard disguises as monk and distracts cock
(17th century)

" … few intentions seem very far beyond us."

Publishing sure seems like an occupation especially designed to try a practitioner's patience. Every damned thing involved in the engagement takes longer than expected and ultimately seems more complicated than strictly necessary. Still, under the It Takes Whatever It Takes Rule, I cannot characterize even these demands as excessive. They simply refuse to align with my tastes. Someone somewhere would very likely find this work rewarding, but probably nobody who'd ever very likely find themselves actually asking to engage in it. Some professions seem just like this. They seem the exclusive domains of misanthropes, those who never hoped to find their gainful employment shipping out beneath those masts. Dies cast as they cast. I might just as easily insist that I've been blessed with my Publishing mess.

I lack sufficient discipline to make the headway I had been expecting, though, as with many things, I suspect my metaphor's lacking.
I might more usefully perceive Publishing work as Distracting and thereby catch myself more or less accidentally engaging in it. Nobody ever needs to maintain focused attention to engage in an accident; often, quite the opposite. Distracting might provide a superior story, one not requiring much maturity. Any odd adolescent easily engages in Distraction. It's first nature for most. The only trick might involve slipping away from expectations that a worthwhile effort should involve heavy lifting, distasteful work. Distracting exists previous to this. With good fortune, Distracting delivers before the disciplined ever notice their attention's gone missing.

Decent Distracting, though, rightfully requires stealth. And since I'm sneaking up on myself, this trick can get complicated. It's particularly prone to overthinking since even a hint of explicit tactic can upset the whole shebang. Properly fooling one's self cannot be thought of as an overt act. It must exude second-order stealth, which can only spot the burglar well after he's fled the premises. One might most reasonably encourage an almost studied mindlessness, the semi-sleepy state usually only encountered when I'm teetering on the edge of a nap. It's mostly a matter of taking decent advantage of myself, of allowing myself to slip into some groove I'd probably be falling into anyway, without trying. Often best if inserted just before some overt obligation, maybe as a fortunate
JustWhen interrupting some intended act demanding more genuine discipline. Best if I can convince myself that I'm getting away with something rather than if I'm feeling conscripted or implicated. Just a little something on the side. Nothing to hide. Distracting's always a side game.

Am I proposing the ultimate ineffective strategy for tackling anything distasteful by declaring that it's "simply" a matter of me fooling myself into acting in my best interest? I might beg to differ. What of all the tough stuff we routinely expect ourselves to engage in does not involve at least a little Distracting? Huh? This often comes in the form of strategically forgetting the deeper ramifications of the last iterations and essentially pretending that the upcoming one couldn't replicate precisely what it had manifested every previous time. We each seem to situationally master some useful form of self-deception, Distracting, a fairly common form, hardly alien. I apologize for making this obvious fact more explicit here, for no necessarily covert act benefits much from explicit explication. I might prescribe a smidge of strategic forgetfulness here, another common elixer usefully applied to the human condition. Between Distracting and forgetfulness, few intentions seem very far beyond us.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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