Rendered Fat Content


Kermit Allison: `The Entrepreneur’’
This sculpture depicts a blindfolded man chiseling himself out of a stone block. I wonder how he managed to chisel his hands into existence.

"It's exhausting, but it's a living."

Whatever else I might characterize myself as, unfinished properly summarizes my progress so far. I don't remember starting. I apparently awakened sometime later, my forward momentum already inexorable by then. I carried this marvelous property. I could sense space beyond me and propel myself toward it. This ability left me seemingly trailing a little behind myself, attempting to catch up. By the time I arrived there, though, another attraction had arisen in the distance and I would be heading off in that direction for a change, always changing. I grew to sense that I never quite arrived, with each arrival quickly becoming a fresh departure. I eventually abandoned any sense that I might eventually catch up to myself, accepting that I might well always find myself lagging a little behind. I can't quite capture the motion or the presence due to some delay in my capturing mechanism. I chronicle where I was, never where I am, because I'm never quite wherever I might be at any moment. I'm still GrowingInto.

Acknowledging this apparently essential disconnect seems fundamental to maintaining some semblance of sanity.
I might be best characterized as my trajectory and not any actual presence, eternally in transit toward someplace else. I look forward, even in reverie, for wherever I'm looking seems at least a little beyond, my perception semaphoring back to my continually lagging base station. I might blame my imagination which seems to always project something different from whatever's present. Perhaps I'm just daydreaming. Perhaps all experience amounts to dreaming. Not even nothing hardly seems very real anymore. It's a genuine chore trying to keep up and I suspect that I gave up trying to close the gap long ago. I now consider that I'm continuously GrowingInto, understanding that by the time I've closed that gap, another chasm will have most certainly opened up. I trail behind.

When someone asks me who I am, I become understandably stumped. I usually just supply my name, a handy placeholder basically describing nothing. I might instead explain what I've accomplished, but that would describe who I was. I might share my title, though that seems more of an aspiration or an obligation, not really a characterization of who or even where I am. I am GrowingInto whomever I might be, feeling, depending upon ten thousand complications, competent or not. On those days when I sense that gap between where I am and where I'm headed particularly wide, I have to pretend to be anyone or anything or even anywhere.

I'm not quite a writer yet, though I sense that I'm making progress, still GrowingInto the role and the identity. I've completed considerable practice, but still, each morning, I wake to varying degrees of existential dread. I almost never rise with clear intentions in my head and even less frequently, with any sense that I'm in any way adequately prepared to create. I natter first, reading the papers and feeding the cats. I might spend two precious hours—some might say I waste them—circling the space I intend to invade. I never start feeling as though I belong there and, in truth, I might actually not belong there yet. An intention grows and I follow, knowing I might most probably not yet quite be worthy to follow. I sense myself GrowingInto myself again, though, and continue following. By the time I'm done, the lead part of me has already gone, off to imagine breakfast or something, leaving me behind to clean up whatever had so recently hovered there. I will spend the rest of my day failing to catch up, always at least a click behind wherever I'm heading next. It's exhausting, but it's a living.
Another week of feigning competence has produced clear evidence. I leave it to my readers to assess the results, but I managed to satisfy myself. This week's postings attracted the largest number of readings since perhaps forever. I spent some time this week reviewing the roster of members to remind myself just who comprises this audience. I deleted a few, one who'd sadly died in August, two whom I knew had committed FaceBook suicide, and another who'd never once felt moved to show up as a reader. This left four slots for new members, since FaceBook enforces a strict 250 member limit on every private group. The price of exceeding this limit seems to be the loss of any ability to monitor the group, and my fragile ego needs the reinforcement that watching who's reading brings. We belong to a remarkably engaged group. More than half stop by each week, and a third linger almost every day, a recognition I'm grateful to acknowledge and humbled to accept.

I began my writing week reflecting upon how improvements only rarely seem to make anything better at first in
Betterings. "I'm not tumbling into cynicism when I suggest that every attempted step forward tends to first feel like a step backward."

I next considered a seemingly small distinction, that the purpose of going might not always be arriving in
Asymptoting, my most popular posting of the week. "I catch that we're HeadingHomeward for the expressed purpose of HeadingHomeward in ever greater earnest, with the purpose not of ever arriving there, but of ever more passionately pursuing heading toward."

I next caught myself engaged in some probably essential separation dance in
AlienatingAffections, concluding that, "There are no platonic relationships with any house."

BigBaby proved to be my favorite creation this week because it embodies my very best intentions to tend toward full disclosure while at least attempting to put a silly face on it. "Adulthood brings more opportunities for me to behave like a BigBaby than I ever enjoyed as an actual infant."

I next described one of the more reassuring experiences, that of reopening after closing up in
Lightenings. "Perhaps it's just good enough that I understand that for every day when gravity overwhelms me, Lightenings will quickly follow."

I went all negative by describing myself as the sum of all I've decided not to do in
Won'ts. "I've settled into what I consider to be a balanced existence, comfortable in my convictions buttressed behind strong defensive walls, My Won'ts serve as my castle, complete with parapets and banners."

I ended my writing week with a small but perhaps significant reframe in
Changered, concluding that "Life might only make sense if it's surprising us."

Ten and a half months ago, I proudly volunteered to sequester myself, figuring that I might struggle but could probably pass that dedication test. That test has since become a very long essay exam and I'm ready to be done with it. It's a curious test, though, since however well I've so far succeeded, I could fail it with a single inadvertent error. My sunk cost encourages me forward, with no end in sight. I've been insisting that I'm HeadingHomeward, but I'm already home for an indeterminate duration. Can we head somewhere else yet, please? Thanks for following along!

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus

Made in RapidWeaver