Rendered Fat Content

Brief 1.0-Id-Entity

Most of every writer’s day will be spent alone. Writing must be the most solitary sport, an internal Olympic competition featuring cognitive Greco-Roman wrestling, conceptual Winter Biathlon, and solitary synchronized swimming. The games always involve dredging up to translate, rediscovery more than invention, rearranging the same old notes into new-sounding tunes. Like with all games, the boundaries deeply influence play and the rules, originally arbitrary, seem inexorable now.

The trick, once mastering bald aloneness, lies in daily re-mastering it, for solitude serves as no more than soil within which unlikely seeds might sprout, where the completely cognitive and conceptual push beyond the leaf litter into space where anyone might experience them. What blooms seems so very different from the parent seed or rhizome that even the solitary gardener might mistake them for volunteers, accidents of potential, nutrients, and time.

Old Freud proposed the existence of an instinctual force within us, which he unhelpfully labeled ‘id.’ He said this mysterious force operates on what he called The Pleasure Principle, attracting us to satisfy various hungers, thirsts, and, in his case, those grumbling urges for decent cigars. This ‘id’ business seems without insight, the back bin in the psychoanalytical green grocery, where everything not otherwise classifiable gets tossed. Tucked in there among the prematurely rotting melons and misshapen spuds, one might find a real treasure or two, but it’s mostly already compost. Calling this satisfying pleasurable stretches credulity. A lot.

That back bin serves as the writer’s playground. The writer’s identity might emerge from that id-entity. There’s little calculation involved, since that back bin seems organized by some unknowable scheme. It’s ferret around and find or ferret around and not find, which seems one heck of a way to construct any identity or pleasure.

Kurt Vonnegut famously asked, “Who am I this time?” I ask myself the same question almost every time I sit before my Ouija Board of a keyboard. This ‘process’ brings a few problems when I’m asked to propose what I’m going to write, like now. I once again confront aspiration and unknowability. If I had a clue about who I was and what I do, I suppose the disclosure might unfold more easily. Who would I have to become to master the urge that fuels my fingers to type?

I write like I live, in brief, disconnected slices. Continuity’s for the editing table, added long after conception, the final step in creating any coherent whole. My fifth grade teacher’s advice remains as wrong today as it was then, the outline rightfully comes last. If I want to fulfill a promise, I should extend it no further than what I already have at hand.

Writing transforms id into identity: urge into action, then action into result. The idea of the end holds no tension pulling anything but a prematurely rotting melon or a misshapen spud from that remainders bin in there.

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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