Rendered Fat Content


Whatever the product or service might pose as, it’s always self on offer. The content gains little traction and seems transparent. They buy the person, the personality, never the product. This can’t quite amount to a clever branding strategy, either, since brand separates person from product, replacing self with some vacuous avatar. Marketing mostly fails because it’s also not about the (notional) market, but about self; present self, self in service rather than selfless servitude.

Despite what they insisted when I was in business school, connections occur by accident, never by clever strategy. Strategy might be the sole property of those who do not need it and could never use it, but feel compelled, perhaps for appearance’s sake, to look as if they could command manifestation. This observation might seem cynical rather than simple truth or even simpler experience. When they ask after my strategy for marketing the book, I feel ashamed, as if I really should have a strategy already or must immediately stop writing, stop creating, stop being that self I know so well, and start crafting what my experience understands could never positively effect anything. Then I go looking for my self again.

I count as fortunate the days I find myself lurking around inside that barren shell he hides inside. Those days, the world seems hospitable, and I create like mocking birds sing, joyful though I have no idea where my next meal might come from. Inside that shell, the mysteries overwhelm me. The Have To, Want To, But Can’t Dance swirls in all its club-footed elegance. I am a wallflower along the periphery of that party, certain only that I do not belong there.

The Muse insists that I get out more, that I leave my keyboard and my precious library, and interact because she understands connections happen only by fortunate accident, and accidents can’t happen when surrounded by merely the familiar. That self which is the product out there is little more than nothing in isolation. It must be out in the world to be of any value to this world.

I resist, of course, feeling not quite myself this morning or that afternoon, lying to myself that perhaps I will appear tomorrow or sometime next week, when some vestigial part of my self knows I will not, could not.

I believe it the curse of our time that we believe our future predictable, manageable, will-determined. We seem to have lost faith in the very unlikely that spawned us, and seek assurances instead. We confide and seek confidence, but seem more like confidence men instead of confident ones. The alternatives seem less salable. They leave us looking like we don’t know what we’re doing or where we’re going simply because we have no idea what we’re doing and no clue about where we’re really going.

In the center of this dance, stands that beleaguered self, enlivened by the seeming synchronicities, utterly dependent upon the happy accident. The story’s meant to be written after the experience, not before it. In our innocence, we say how it will be. Out of experience, we might whisper how it actually was. I suspect that this existence was intended to humble me, to leave me eeking identity out of almost random experience. I could jump off the cliff at any time. Until then, I could have no idea how to fly.

©2014 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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