Rendered Fat Content


View of a Sliver Moon
from The Villa's upstairs hall back window,
early morning 5/27/2022

" … when I heeded what I couldn't have known for certain."

It must be clearest to me that I do not really know what I'm doing, though I suspect that my more dedicated readers understand well enough to appreciate the depth of my ignorance, the shallowness of my knowledge. I remain reasonably certain that nobody reads my writing with the intention of learning anything, since I seem to have very little if anything at all to impart. I mostly deal in impressions without drawing all that many conclusions. Any proclaimed certainty from me might be evidence of some fresh delusion. I'm mostly justifiably confident that I do not know all that much.

In our era, knowledge has become perhaps our primary delusion.
We seek out higher education to acquire knowledge, as well as ruinous volumes of long-term debt. We believe that knowledge will probably protect us from the more virulent forms of evil. We insist upon first seeing certification that our subcontractors possess the knowledge we firmly believe they must possess to be of any use to us. A colleague once remarked that anyone firmly believing in the gospel of continuous process had never actually witnessed a manufacturing process in operation. Even the best of class moves in fits and starts, learning as they process rather than just processing what they already understand.

I might find myself a little ahead of this game. At least I'm not in denial that I really should have known better. Even with my decades of various practices, I sense myself closer to tabula rasa than master status whenever I start some fresh piece of work, whether that work be writing, songwriting, or just repainting The Villa. I might not be an amateur, but I'm no expert. When writing, it hardly matters how much any author's written before when said writer encounters a fresh blank piece of paper or a screen needing filling. Then, it's all unexplored territory with no applicable precedents. And the purveyor's all alone there, without back up, probably at least at first, without a freaking clue, or maybe more probably, a scant Sliver of something to inspire.

I spent a few days this week moping around the place. I'd considered titling this morning's missive Moping in recognition of my evident motive force this period. I completed painting the latest stripe of wall and relocated the scaffolding, but then lost momentum, then lost it again. Considering my continuing dilemma, I thought that perhaps there might just be something I didn't know. Maybe I just needed some information. I fled to Google and asked one of those ill-formed questions famous for providing circular answers. Librarians insist that us frequent Google users have little idea how to ask a proper question, so we amplify our ignorance more often than we learn anything new. I asked how one is supposed to work around high voltage wires, since that last scaffold move had finally made it inescapable that I'd have to contort myself around those wires to paint that slice of wall.

As I should have expected, the thread I stumbled into gave me conflicting information. One guy said that line was probably so well insulated that I could swing from it without harm. The "probably" got me thinking. Another mentioned that electrical utilities will usually install some extra heavy insulation around lines in the way, this to prevent electrocutions from dominating the daily five o'clock news cycle. I called my utility and found that they install those insulating wraps. A lineman called and said he'd be by later this morning. I told the woman who answered their phone that I'd been feeling like a Big Chicken because I really hadn't wanted to get up there all alone with the high voltage wire. She told me that she thought I was a wise chicken to chicken out this time, all based upon the tiniest Sliver of not precisely information. Perhaps I was operating with a Sliver of apprehension.

I'm not just a superstitious ignoramus. I do not know nothing. I search for and maintain my knowledge-bases, but I also often catch myself engaging based upon mere Slivers of intuition, and they're not often wrong. I have no proof, no systemic scientific evidence, but anyone who's ever lived, ever thrived, should already understand that it's not just knowledge that drives their successes. Knowing only goes so far, and that's never quite far enough. Not knowing's mighty powerful, too, and potentially beneficial, assuming one can listen to the quiet voices of inattention, the ones that appear to be a distraction from the chosen path. These carry subtle information rather than knowledge about something. My quiet voice whispered for me to avoid that scaffolding and I obeyed until I disgusted myself with my avoidance. Then I came to learn something. I became a wise chicken when I heeded what I couldn't have known for certain.


BIG to Wise
I was wondering how this writing week might resolve. I almost knew for certain—evidence of a blooming delusion—that I would stumble upon some conclusion to draw by the time Friday actually showed up, and so I did, though it proved hardly the conclusion of this or any century. It seems properly scaled for someone like me. I might have forgotten about the Slivers, the shivers of not-quite knowledge that have always if not driven, then deeply influenced my engagements. The notions I always feel a little scared to act upon; the quantum quiverings common to all things. These also seem worthy of more than merely my inattention and often seem to define the difference between just another BIG chicken and a wise old bird manifesting.

I began my writing week waiting along the sidelines of my life,
Respiting. "Respiting should leave me feeling like I'm getting away with something, not that something just slipped away from me."

I next came out not as a native son but as a
Transplant here, this story tying for most popular this period. "Born and raised is one thing. Died and planted, quite another."

I noticed that not all painting involves paint or brush, though some of the most satisfying effort, like
TopCoating, does. "That wall becomes my canvas and I become an accomplished painter, creating for the ages, though the final surface will cover this preliminary one. TopCoating's practice for the FinishCoat's flourish."

Also tied for most popular story of this period, this one about
MendingMitres. "One sets out to simply do something only to learn that that something would not be nearly so simple, always some complication."

I try to find inspiration in small and unlikely places, but
MovingScaffolding? Really? (This story hints at the Sliver of intuition starting its influencing.) "This repainting's not a single effort, but at least a dozen significantly different ones."

I attempted to describe myself as the sum total of all I've not become in
Knots. "Not yet skilled and resigned to never become, I can honestly claim to mostly be what I have not yet and will likely never become."

The ennui common to as yet not fully realized Slivers seemed to deeply influence my last story this week. I suspect that
NotAllIn was mostly my Slivers mumbling. "While I still suppose that ambivalence amounts to the greatest sin, even greatest sins tend to track in some blessing with them."

And so ends what certainly felt like an epically unproductive week for me, with little progress self-evident, but perhaps I'm properly poised now to finally, really start producing. Who can say? I can and will insist, however, that Respiting probably has a place in every engagement. We're all Transplants. TopCoating's only a piece of any story and MendingMitres might well be a part of every one. MovingScaffolding always introduces new elements. We're all more than but also include all we're not, Knots. And even NotAllIn amounts to more than the greatest sin. Thank you so much for following my Slivers, even though I still evidently ain't in the knowledge dissemination business.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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