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"The creative act always retrospectively seems like a SmallThing …"

Fridays come but seem to mostly go, ever receding. A week starts, filled with promise, then ends, sometimes with the promise fulfilled, though even when fulfilled, it seems a strange sort of promise, for an aspiration never quite qualifies as a promise, it being more crap-shooty than any promise really should be. I work from Friday to Friday, with no weekends or holidays off, and at the beginning of a fresh Friday—my Monday as well as my Friday, both the beginning of a fresh week and the ending of an expended one (a Begending)—I feel more reflective than anticipatory, last Friday being my work year's sole exception. Last Friday ended my last creative cycle, GlancingKnow, marked the beginning boundary of my next cycle, SmallThings, and also heralded the start of my annual Christmas Po'm-writing cycle, wherein I write just as many fresh seasonal poems as I can in the time between Solstice and Christmas morning, this period marking my most intentionally creative week of the year.

As I noted in last Friday's reflection,
SmallerThings, rather than expanding my reach, my GlancingKnow three month enquiry left me feeling smaller, more tightly focused. This recognition encouraged me to title my current quarter's series SmallThings, and to seek there to focus more tightly upon tiny things which carry greater leverage than apparent size. I then considered my ChristmasPo'ms, my annual pre-Christmas creative boost wherein I challenge myself to write a batch of seasonal poems. This year, I produced in those four days thirteen fresh po'ms, which I distributed to friends and family predawn Christmas morning and will post to my FB stream over the following days, my single greatest creative burst this year. Might just as well end the year with a bang, I guess. Next, I wrote about Mattering, a slight play off my common experience of nattering as perhaps my most useful creative conduit. Screw inspiration, I fuss my way through to completion. Then I considered Fulfillment, the tiny, fleeting sensation which usually precedes or follows a creative act, the anticipation of which fuels an effort. I wrote about Kittens, and the critically important necessity of disruption as a part of any creative process. Finally, I posted a piece about a small almost daily ritual which seems to invigorate my work, Shaving.

These seven postings yielded 658 unique views throughout the week, about an average number of views over the most recent weeks. I hardly noticed until I stepped back to count, for I was fully engaged in writing my damned poems. I can never feel certain if I'll produce enough for my purpose, which started out as a clever way of avoiding buying presents and has become an ever-greater personal challenge. I don't mind writing a flurry of fresh poems every year and I've so-far always managed to deliver on my aspiration, but it's a lot of damned work. My brain feels mushy by Christmas morning, and I sense a certain
Post Partum vacuity settling in. I recognize myself as a racehorse temporarily incapable of running a race. My brain's not dead then, but it seems to be doing a pretty fine job of playing dead, or perhaps only napping. I find myself speaking in disjointed iambs for the following few days, hyperaware of how many beats a phrase contains and continually catching myself trying to match that number with whatever I next say or write. The primary effect of any creative burst seems to be side effects like these.

Partum roughly translates from Latin to mean Creating. This receding week did in fact unfold as my most creative week of the year. My Po'm Cycle featured more terrific pieces than horrible ones, and maybe even no truly horrible ones. As usual, late Christmas Eve, I declared this year's Cycle The Best Ever, a designation which I was painfully aware of being relative and not a statement about any absolute quality. As with many creative productions, time will tell better, though by then I will have moved on. I hold the distinct feeling this morning that I am a vapor trail stretching across toward the horizon, that whatever I might create will fairly quickly disperse behind me. I'm moving through, not staying behind. My work stays behind, but almost invisibly, evaporating quickly at this altitude. I tell myself that if I focused and dedicated my efforts, I could write thirteen fresh poems every four days ad infinitum. I ask myself, "To what end?" I produce a small story a day, and a poem for some friend's and relative's birthdays and that burst of Christmas gift poeming near the end of each year, shouldn't that be enough?

This medium moves malevolently, barely here now, hardly there tomorrow. It seems to be receding as I watch, insatiable and also innately self-satisfied. It is just what it is and nothing more or less.
Partum connotes a parting, though I recognize that this effect is just a coincidence between languages. Partum does not in any nuance mean parting in Latin, I learned only this morning that it means creating, though creating always brings a certain parting of product from creator, a separation of production from intention to take on another form of life on its own. Whether that life plays out in some timeless work or quickly evaporates like a vapor trail into the blogosphere probably matters little. It's the act, not the product. The creative act always retrospectively seems like a SmallThing, its product appearing much greater, represented in number of pages, number of lines, or number of unique page views, but neither act nor product amount to very much at all, certainly never more than they appear during the successive small crashes and burnings following every creative burst. Partum. I've already recovered enough to produce this bit of glint.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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