Rendered Fat Content


Self-portrait of Nicolas Régnier painting a portrait of Vincenzo Giustiniani (1623-24)
" … my steadily eroding naiveté sipping bitter coffee."

As details of my Authoring initiative have come into focus, I realize that these have most often appeared as fresh insults to my originating naiveté, disappointments and difficulties. Some have valiantly attempted to reassure me that I'm probably not as crazy as I seem to feel, given my testimony, and I sincerely appreciate these attempts, for I am probably not as crazy as I sometimes feel. All told, or enough told to find a coherent thread, I remain one of TheFortunateFew. I am pursuing some ends larger than my original footprints. I'm testing edges. I'm making discoveries. I might even be making a difference, though that assessment must wait until I'm through this gauntlet. I believe that any worthwhile initiative must necessarily start as a sincere expression of the protagonist's innocence. His naiveté. However experienced he might have been then, his prior experience will have to become irrelevant in light of what this latest adventure manifests. The process by which naiveté wises up, that's the means by which the worthwhile emerges here. It was never different.

Each discovery which disqualifies some element of the initiating naiveté can seem brutal if not necessarily vicious.
The universe does not target any of us for especially brutal punishment, not even the more Panglossian among us. This might remain the most perfect of all possible universes and still exhibit some prominent flaws. My disappointments do not necessarily suggest that anything needs fixing. Like anyone, I remain fully capable of rejecting even greater good fortunes. Some of the effort I despise doubtless does leave me stronger and feeling more alive. I might hesitate to jump but almost always eventually jump anyway.

I believe that this protagonist might have been pursuing his Authoring a tad too passionately. I might have imagined more riding on successful completion than anyone might reasonably expect. I caught myself holding myself to perhaps unreasonable expectations. I imagined that I might compile, print, proof, and correct a two hundred and fifty page manuscript in just a couple of days, and I admit that this estimate always was theoretically possible, given satisfying first a few subtle preconditions. No imagined process ever works as imagined. No resource, especially the human kind, ever operates for long at optimal efficiency. We move more hesitantly and tire more easily and we need more time to consider what we're experiencing than we can muster when moving any faster than a rather modest pace. We too easily over reach our capabilities and disappoint ourselves. Worst cases, we chase ourselves off our pursuit with ultimately unreasonable expectations.

Us FortunateFew tend to come through in the end, though the end tends to arrive much slower than originally expected. Between the bright idea and the exit lights, we fight a steady headwind. We learn better no matter how we wish we wouldn't and didn't absolutely have to. The Author I imagined myself becoming might manage to resolve himself into someone recognizable, not utterly transformed and different, not especially enlightened or gifted, just one of the familiar FortunateFew. Like you. Like I used to feel before I began showcasing my naiveté again. It's really never different. I used to teach that every project comes with a fixed amount of disappointment. The challenge always circulates around discovering how to usefully disburse that disappointment. Some attempt to defer acknowledgement of the disappointing bits as long as possible, sometimes setting off a pent up accumulation of it and blowing a hole in the effort just as its pulling into port. Others share their disappointment a spoonful at a time, never overwhelming their tastebuds, but growing ever more accustomed to the presence of bitter flavors. The sincere appreciation of bitter flavors represents the opposite of naiveté. I start each morning with at least a cup of bitter flavor to remind myself just how sophisticated my taste has become.

As unlikely as it might seem, we might each remain members in excellent standing of TheFortunateFew. Yes, I might be contemplating round 'N' of mind numbing copying and pasting again, and my red pen might overfloweth with unexpected corrections while I'm Proofing my latest tome, and I might be fighting an overwhelming drowsiness every page I read, and I might imagine that I'm actually much better suited for engaging in anything else besides this disappointing Authoring effort as I dish up my morning's ration of bitter flavor. How fortunate I feel to be suffering here rather than suffering anywhere else for any other purpose, here overlooking the approximate center of this best of all possible universes. Me,
Dr. Pangloss, and my steadily eroding naiveté sipping bitter coffee: TheFortunateFew.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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