Rendered Fat Content


GOYA: Entierro de la Sardina [The Burial of the Sardine] (1812-14)
" … how often they come true."

In my first year of junior high school, I began to get stomach aches. My mom took me to the doctor who concluded that my stomachaches were all in my head, not caused by any physical difficulty, but an emotional one. I was at the time struggling with a French class in which I'd enrolled under the delusion that I might one day be college bound. Enrollment in colleges in those days required two years of foreign language study. I abandoned my GrandDelusion of one day attending college the day I decided to follow my doctor's advice and drop the French class. My stomachaches abandoned me shortly thereafter, but I found myself lacking a GrandDelusion in my life and feeling its absence. You see, I subscribe to the school of thought that believes in the absolute necessity of maintaining a GrandDelusion in one's life. Without one, I'm sunk.

With one, I'm sort of sunk, too, but sunk of a different order.
The profession of writer utterly relies upon the active presence of a GrandDelusion in the writer's life. The profession of Author, perhaps even more so. These manuscripts I keep shuffling through each amount to a GrandDelusion, every one filled with presumption and guile. Each is first a book without readers, save one, constructed atop a foundation of speculation. As the author, though, I somehow just know that it's better if I do not dwell on my manuscripts' many shortcomings, better to just not ask myself too many hard questions. I juggle without consequences at first, but I juggle. I keep juggling for the longest time.

What do I do for a living? I delude myself. True, it's not much of a living. It, for instance, does not pay the bills, but it does keep me distracted and off the streets. It provides a purpose, something upon which to focus my attention. I can spend an entire afternoon reading through a manuscript as if I were a reader rather than the author playing hide and seek with myself. I can correct my mistakes and laugh at my own jokes and sometimes even impress myself with my cleverness, all within my head. I could do most of what I do as an Author without even getting out of bed. I seem self-contained, my universe between my ears.

I hold the GrandDelusion that one day these manuscripts, or one of them, might be published and perhaps even prove popular to actual readers. This outcome seems unlikely and distant, so I try to avoid focusing very much attention on it. I maintain, instead, a studied blindness. I continue writing and compiling and editing and correcting without thinking much beyond each moment. My future remains tacit, a GrandDelusion unlikely to happen but still deeply influencing, like going to college once was. I cannot imagine who or what I'd become in its absence. I eventually enrolled in college, after they rescinded the two years of foreign language study requirement, and even graduated into a world of ever grander delusions.

The thing about GrandDelusions, though, is how often they come true.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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