Rendered Fat Content



Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec:
Bar of the Café of the rue de Rome (c. 1886)

"The tiny moments in tiny rooms might make all the difference."

The Muse and I are not regulars at any bar and grill, though we almost know our way around that society; she learned at Marskies, a tiny South Dakota bar in the half-horse town she grew up just outside of. I never learned but am still learning, entering every bar wary and uncertain of the rules of engagement. I slink around half-invisible as if my fake ID teetered on the edge of discovery and I was tarnishing my reputation. In some places, especially tiny towns, the bar might be the only retail establishment in the city. So it is with TheTux, a social club center of the universe place in tiny Prescott, Washington, population 377. No tuxedo has likely ever graced this space. This town represents a considerable portion of the county, though. Our canny candidate understood she dared not avoid it, so she asked Doug, the local Democratic Precinct Committee Officer, if he might introduce her. He invited us to an evening at TheTux, specifically Wednesday Taco Night, which qualifies as a weekly local celebration.

The tacos are crap, two bucks a pop, and well worth, at best, a quarter of that.

Slip over here for more ...

ReConsidering Reconsidering Again

studio of Rembrandt van Rijn:
A Bearded Man Wearing a Hat (c. 1655–1660)

" … without any meaningful answer."

Each quarter, at more or less precisely this time, as the final writing week of a series begins, I face a reconsidering again. After twenty-six repetitions, the reconsidering must have at least become a tradition. It seems necessary, though, to slow down in the face of completing to solemnly consider whether this pattern continues to be worth continuing. The question seems more significant than any answer it might inspire, for by now, I might just as well presume I know the answer heading into the pattern. I do not ask my question to produce a novel response, but to attain reassurance that my answer still holds relevance, that it remains capable of motivating, of promising to satisfy if not every day prove satisfying. I play a longer game than I can ever sense, so I must engage with belief each morning that the long run will still take care of itself.

I am ending my twenty-sixth series since I started producing daily stories.

Slip over here for more ...

WritingSummary 08/24/2023

Utagawa Toyohiro:
Cuckoo at Tsukudajima (Edo period, 1615-1868)

Necessary But Rarely Obvious
I never seem to know when I need a vacation. This year, this season, I came as close as I've ever come to understanding that when. I had become bored with the merely extraordinary. I had become unsatisfiable by most any measure. I felt simultaneously over- and underwhelmed. I felt damned, and for no really good reason. The Muse insisted that we excuse ourselves and just disappear for a few days. I even called a morning's moratorium on new writing, a permission I only rarely ever extend to myself. The absence seems to have worked. We returned last night after four hundred road miles along some of the world's most beautiful country, and I landed feeling especially blessed. The Muse made pesto for her birthday supper, and I went to bed convinced that all was right with this world again. I woke feeling behind but probably capable of coping again. That renewed coping capability might be the only purpose for vacationing. Nothing else seems to explain why it's so necessary but rarely obvious.

Slip over here for more ...


Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki:
The Improvement of Morals (1786)

"We were founded with a broader vision …"

I feel appalled at the many attempts by self-proclaimed moral conservatives to legislate and adjudicate abortion bans. They claim to be exercising moral imperative, while I can only see them violating a superior SocialMorality, for our society requires something different than individual morality, which only grows more iffy when considered from within any social context. What's deadly to any individual might not damage broader society, and what undermines society might have little to do with individual morality. Further, society sometimes sanctions gross violations of personal morality to protect their community, such as when soldiers get authorized to murder to defend their superior civilized society. Society deems soldier killings moral and necessary, though any strict conservative reading of individual morality would find them far over the line. We've always struggled to distinguish between permissible individual and social morality.

We abide by laws mainly because we respect the SocialMorality those laws represent.

Slip over here for more ...


John Vachon: Migrant fruit workers,
Berrien County, Michigan

" … I'd be hard-pressed not to confess …"

Problem solver that I strive to be, I too easily neglect to appreciate how things already are or already seem to be. I too easily see what's missing while peering right through whatever might be sitting there before me. I consequently miss my full share of opportunities to appreciate what I have. I see that my lawn needs mowing more than I perceive I even have a lawn that's mostly still growing despite or in defiance of the summer sun burning at it like a blowtorch. How fortunate that it hasn't gone to weeds, that I still have something to need something from me. I see the unfinished chores queue before I notice all I've accomplished. I pressure myself to keep pressuring myself when I might kick back instead.

My sensitivity to absences seems self-destructive.

Slip over here for more ...


Charles Ricketts:
The Hermit; illustration for Oscar Wilde’s ‘
The Teacher of Wisdom’
(c. 1890–1924)

"Success and failure now come to me for definition."

Things look different after perspective's shifted. That innocuous statement doesn't quite cut the difference. Before, perspective amounted to a kind of blindness. However smug and self-important, my understanding was unavoidably misguided. It omitted the next insight and all the following ones. It amounted to the very best I could perceive then, but not all I would ever come to understand. I had no choice but to act upon what I could see and what I could comprehend. It would have been the same as screaming at sheep to expect me to perceive beyond what I could sense. The world I now inhabit made no sense a few short days ago. Now, my pasts should fade into ignorance.

Part of the Vanity Press relies upon a certain desperation on the part of its authors.

Slip over here for more ...


Tobias Stimmer:
Allegorical Figure of the Old Testament
(16th century)

" … one uninterested in unrequested eye removal …"

If I were to become a God, I'd choose to be a New Testament one. In the Old Testament, God seems grouchy in comparison and Vengeful. Nobody appreciates Venge. We believe those exhibiting Venge are full of it: Vengeful. Fortunately for you and me, I'm unlikely ever to receive the call emploring me to fill in, even for a long holiday weekend, for God The Father, Mother, or Other. Ain't happening. I mention this distinction between a mortal and God because of the allegory currently performing daily in my right shoulder. It occurred to me that what my doctor called Deltoid Bursitis is a dandy example of Vengeful in practice. I had been blissfully unaware of the existence of bursae until a yardwork over-exertion left me with a Vengeful God inhabiting my deltoid. What had been installed to assist the operation of a complex joint became the very model of a Vengeful God in practice.

My bursa remains ever watchful. He monitors my motor activity.

Slip over here for more ...


William Hogarth: The Sleeping Congregation (1728)

" … one must just keep going."

Try as I might, and I have been diligently trying, I cannot yet imagine the final form for anything I've been preparing for Publishing. I feel I have exclusively been FirstDrafting rather than final editing, though I suppose that I have been final editing. The feelings of finality have yet to kick in. I'm picking and poking at the manuscript and have not yet stumbled upon any central unifying theme. I acknowledge that central unifying themes tend to emerge rather than get engineered into anything, regardless of how cleverly anyone might attempt to engineer one. The period between initial idea and that theme's emergence might seem infinite when one finds oneself in the middle of an effort. Still, the sense that I'm merely scratching at some surface rather than anchoring my effort in bedrock unsettles this scribbler.

This middle space seems vast and trackless.

Slip over here for more ...


Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas:
Mounted Jockey (c. 1866)

"Self esteem seems over-rated, if not impossible …"

I find myself somewhere in the middle of the current controversy surrounding Artificial Intelligence. The purists stand steadfastly against it, insisting that resorting to its assistance will, over time, reduce the brightest of us into idiocy. The advocates don't see such threateningly sinister results. They figure AI's just another in a seemingly never-ending line of technology, an indifferent presence and nothing to get all riled up about. I stand somewhere in the middle, as I said, because I sense a clear and present danger of impending idiocy while at the same time figuring the suspected impact has probably been overstated. As my awareness of my own use of AI has increased, I have so far experienced more positive than negative results, though those positive outcomes have come with a price. My AI Grammer Checker, for instance, initially left me feeling like an idiot, for it clearly demonstrated just how little I knew about writing. Now, after a few weeks of continued use, I've come to feel as though I might qualify as an IncompleteIdiot, more like an idiot in training, and that AI has been serving as my teacher.

I had no idea how little I knew about writing before the AI Grammer Checker started parsing my prose.

Slip over here for more ...


Vincent van Gogh:
Fishing in Spring, the Pont de Clichy (Asnières)

" … emergent properties, never properly envisioned …"

Assembling a manuscript feels like puppet work as if I can only accomplish it while suspended by strings and manipulated by a puppeteer. It seems slow and sloppy; each story pulled from its marinating emulsion where it's sat suspended since I first finished it, awaiting a second finish and probably a third. The work seems absurd compared to the hands-on immediacy I experience when writing. Assembling involves no out-of-body trance like writing does. Intuition, enormously satisfying when writing, does not for an instant enter into assembly work. It's measured steps in particular orders, pedantic to a fault, trying. I can't phone in this effort, and I can't for a minute doze through it, for the stories have changed since I set them aside. They disclose new meanings and promise fresh beginnings. Their flavor's changed.

I had been fussing over how long I'd let some stories set before finally assembling them.

Slip over here for more ...

Integration: Symmetry

"It would be hardly too much to say that modern science began when people became accustomed to the idea of changes changing, e.g. to the idea of acceleration as opposed to simple motion." Arthur N. Prior

Changing the whole idea of change has occurred a few times in the history of science. Transcendent moments where some quiet, previously undiscovered truth emerged from an unlikely place. Those who were trudging the straight and narrow were surprised, often angry. Several of these game-changing insights were not accepted or even recognized until their discoverer was long gone. Slip over here for more ...



Intricate choreography rarely succeeds. The impulses that encourage you to split resources between projects, tasks, and goals usually overlooks an individual’s true divisibility. Following two masters consumes more attention than following one. Slip over here for more ...

Made in RapidWeaver