Friday, September 30, 2011

Mosaic vs. map

It's like a map, the story. If I take out the narrative thread, I will probably lose myself. You will probably get lost at sea--how else would you find your way? The story is the GPS, it gives you directions for which way to go.

And yet, we don't work by story alone. We improvise, intuit, fly by impressions. We don't have to understand something to like it.

Impressionist paintings make shitty road maps. You aren't likely to arrive at your destination. You are getting the feeling, the take of the artist. There are writers or musicians who do likewise. They string together impressions, ending up with a mosaic, not a map. Fragments that don't equal a story, but reveal the intersection of reality and one particular soul. And if it works, our soul recognizes both the artist, the impression, and itself--our soul regarding another and itself.

Our daughter's impression of cool. Jeff Tweedy as musician. Joe Flacco or Hines Ward as football player. Ryan Zimmerman as baseball player. Living on a farm, with her friend and collecting eggs from their chickens to eat, as adulthood, self-sustaining. Working at a bank, because that's where money is. That's their plan for when they turn 18.

Childhood seems to oscillate between impressions, the mosaic, and coherent narrative, the map. Come to think of it, so does adulthood.

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