The extraction and extinguishment is done by unnamed others, sometimes in teams of unknown quantities, and certainly of dubious qualification of insight. In a similar vein, writers have always complained of the artistic ineptitude of editors, and editors of the quaint verbosity detracting from the plot, narrative and captivating flow missed by writers in pursuit of “Art”; but is there ever a “middle ground” when it comes to the integrity of the soul? But how can you cut away the content of the work, when the process itself is part and parcel of the substantive construct of the whole itself?
It would be like removing the heart itself, or perhaps even the human brainstem from the spinal cord, thereby violating the vertebral contiguity and effectively separating thought from movement, material from the spiritual, and soul from the activity which defines life itself. Can Joyce, Tolstoy or even Scott Fitzgerald be abridged? One can imagine the journalistic brevity of Hemingway, where incisiveness of narrative is reflected in the economy of words, but even to that, isn’t the stronger argument that the great Papa’s works are already so edited to the core that any further amputation would render the body functionally illiterate?
Yet, we accept the Reader’s Digest version of works for want of time saved and the capacity to declare a reading conquered; and others would quip, but surely it is better than just reading the Cliff Notes, isn’t it? Not sure about that; as such cottage industries serve a different purpose — of understanding the content and context of a thing, as opposed to the enjoyment of the work itself.
But if quantity of linguistic captivation is so interwoven with the rhythmic balance of the entirety and aggregate of the whole, can an abridged Joyce be justified, ever? Or have we accepted that, as life itself can be cut short without demeaning the relevant historicity of its linear heritage, so reading the partiality of an excised edition is just as good, somewhat as acceptable, and ultimately a pragmatic decision in terms of time saved and effort expended?
As Art reflects Life, so for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers whose careers and lives are interrupted by a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in the chosen field and career, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management allows for the abridged Joyce of a hyphenated accentuation. For, in the end, the quip that Life mirrors Art is a limited proverb.
The Federal or Postal employee never asked for the interruption of the medical condition, but there it is — a bump in the pathway of life itself, with very little “art” to show for it. But the narrative of one’s Federal or Postal career must be written in the Statement of Disability with care and collection of medical evidence to back it up, and the SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, is nothing but an artful way of deceitful cunning by a bureaucracy which attempts to subvert and deny at every turn, and the life of such a linguistic animal must be prepared well, formulated cogently, and submitted with confidence of purpose to maneuver into the maze of bureaucratic obfuscation.
The abridged Joyce will always be offered in this world of abbreviated concerns; filing for Federal Disability Retirement, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, on the other hand, is the only option remaining for many Federal and Postal workers injured or ill during the Federal tenure of one’s life, and should be accomplished with the care of the expanded version, and not an edited parcel to be cut and sliced like so many narratives in the trashbin of society.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire