Rendered Fat Content


Winslow Homer:
The End of the Day, Adirondacks (1890)

" … the serious side of the practice."

Today is slated to extend fifteen hours and forty-five minutes, with sunlight visible for seventeen hours. These conditions make this the perfect day to end something. They also suggest a new beginning, for each ending abuts into whatever comes next. This day marks six years since I began this now lengthy experiment where I would try to create a new story each morning. I long ago lost the need to try very hard to accomplish this end. The stories slip out as a matter of course now. This morning, though, I wonder if this story, this final story in my Publishing Series, shouldn't be my last produced under this regimen. I began this practice following a professional disappointment and a lengthy discouragement. I thought it might prove courageous or at least foolhardy to create a story every morning to try to prove something. If writers write, it would not be unreasonable to expect me to write each morning since that's what writers do. That or else, perhaps I wasn't quite the writer I'd imagined myself to be.

I turned out to at least be the writer I'd imagined myself to be and more.
I was attempting to represent my lived experience—my manner of living—without even trying to reform anyone, myself included. I wanted to produce a chronicle of sorts where my activities of daily living might provide some insight into the nature of living in this time and place. Only the future can judge my success. I have just produced grist! So much that it now borders on the unmanageable. With each series, and I started one each calendar quarter, I added more than just a fresh collection of stories. I produced an obligation, one needing more tending than I'd earlier imagined. The backlog grew as I continued producing without deeply considering how, when, or if I’d even managed to tame the result. I'd post each story to my blog and create a brief introduction for posting on social media. My audience grew to a stabile nearly a thousand views each week.

This story marks my completion of twenty-four similarily-sized series over the prior six years. Each series numbers approximately three hundred and fifty pages or seventy-thousand words, and not one of them yet fully satisfies the definition of manuscript. They're all still works in process, though almost all are in tacit process this morning. Only two remain actively working; this one I'm "finishing" and the one I assembled as a part of my Publishing Series. That second one's still not quite finished. I tried to quickly listen to the second half of it earlier this morning but suspended the attempt after an hour, realizing that cramming was making what should have been interesting excruciatingly numbing.

I still have no idea how to categorize what I'm producing. Do the stories successfully characterize my manner of living? I suppose they must, but I realize I could never have any natural way of knowing. My manner of living serves as this fish's water, too contextual for me to separately see and therefore indescribable, except, perhaps, by accident. This Publishing Series has showcased the complications I encountered and possibly created for myself as I attempted to publish one of these series. This effort further clarified the depth of my dilemma. If I keep producing, my backlog will continue growing. I see no way ever to tame what I've already produced. The effort's just too vast, and my attention's waning.

I've learned through this Publishing Series some more of the obligations a writer inherits whenever setting pen to paper. The writing starts a process, the subsequent steps of which might well eventually swamp the writer. Six years ago, when I started that first series, AnotherSummer, I had yet to seriously consider where those stories would be heading after I'd posted each to my blog. A blog's a lousy storage medium since it displays its entries in LIFO—Last In, First Out—order. The continuity dissolves rather than builds, and the story gets told backward. Reversing this order requires remarkably patient effort and cannot be accomplished by merely sorting the content. I used just to dash off a story. Now, I've become more circumspectly aware of the future of whatever I'm producing. I produce several copies of each fresh story now and multiple indexes to provide access to my different audiences.

Publishing, it seems now that I've encountered MoreBegendings here, amounts to an awareness far beyond that required by writing. It foresees multiple purposes to which a work might be subjected and attempts to minimize the effort needed to take advantage of those alternatives. It demands a discipline writing never does. It wants due consideration of a future, not just recognition of present accomplishments. I will continue writing each morning but never return to the naive condition with which I began this Publishing Series. Writing's serious enough business without giving Publishing short shrift. If I intend my stories to inform my progeny and share stories rather than just have been written, I must attend to the Publishing, however pedantic it seems. Writing seems like dreaming. Publishing's the serious side of the practice.

Thank you for following along!


©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus

Made in RapidWeaver