Claude Monet, Impression, Soleil Levant (Impression, Sunrise), 1872
"I do not remember this familiar ever before being precisely like this."

We remember Claude Monet as the original impressionist. He was widely reviled in his time, for his work seemed to violate the rules for what had constituted valid. His first impressionist image, shown above, seemed out of focus, as if the subject was moving rather than static, more smear than clear imprint. Nobody could precisely state what it represented without reading the title, and even then, critics disagreed over whether Monet had faithfully executed his label-implied intention. Today, we conveniently say that Impressionism more faithfully represents lived experience, for nothing in this life exists in so-called regular shapes or sits still while a photograph gets taken, and resulting photographs seem small and flat compared to lived experience. The photographic-quality image seems most impressionistic to our more modern eye which has grown to accept every captured image materially misrepresenting the originating visual experience.

Some seem set upon insisting that photographs are more real than any impressionist's painting, though their insistence seems overly dependant upon how one defines 'real.'
All images might qualify as life-like without any of them ever actually being alive. We inhabit a more consciously relative age than did the early impressionists. Relativity was only emerging then, upsetting Newton's carefully tended apple cart. Since, we've more deeply considered life, both as experienced and as it actually might be—whatever 'actually' might mean—discovering disconcerting realms within what once seemed to be straightforward regular geometric shapes.

It's Friday again, and I'm making meaning of my prior week's postings. The PureSchmaltz Facebook Group logged six hundred forty-nine unique impressions, about average for this SmallThings series. This number suggests to me that we've returned to Ordinary Time again following the holiday fuss and new year feathers. We call an encounter with a web page an impression, and I might conclude that the experience echoes what an impressionist might induce, different for each observer and apparently not of 'regular' photographic quality. Meaning depends. The week began with
AbsoluteMagic, a reflection on what I believe I need to know, but might not actually need. It next considered MyBetters, where I caught myself constructing obstructive hierarchies. Then I recounted my latest encounter with doing it myself in DItY, where I watched myself doing it TO myself again. I then found some respite within an imposed boundary with -Bound, where I concluded that Boundary Might Be Everything. I then praised the benefits TheChat brings in a world too often demanding high production dissertations. I ended the week reincarnating an old complaint in MisConnected, where I concluded that connection seems both difficult to achieve and rare to encounter, and that our concerted attempts to connect everything with everything seems to have produced the opposite of its intention, a perfectly normal result.

My reflections on this past week of impression-making seems from here an act of concerted Impressioning, searching for some resolving, integrating theme. The curious result of resolving might not very closely resemble resolution, like the curious result of integrating might not seem all that integrated, for resolving itself seems more of a trending toward than a static, regular geometric shape, and likewise with integrating. The resolving and integrating might never produce static resolution or frozen integration. Trending Toward stands in for a stabile outcome, like when interpreting an impressionistic image. The viewer might approach understanding without fully resolving the fuzzy image. Done might not involve sticking any fork into any actual result, but still satisfy the viewer. Such, then, seems modern life. Here, nobody ever even thinks of crossing the same river twice. We've grown tolerant of eternally unfinished business and of moving on without achieving full closure. We trade in AbsoluteMagic, it seems, and build notional hierarchies of meaning, none definitive but each perhaps informative, delineating betters from
worses. We do stuff to ourselves while attempting to do for ourselves. We take well-deserved comfort and sometimes unappreciative discomfort with imposed boundaries. We find reassurance within our most casual interactions, formality not always required. And we remain tenaciously disconnected no matter what we believe, for this seems the nature of our beast.

Whatever else I might be doing when I lay down these SmallThings portraits, I seem to be actively Impressioning. I quite deliberately draw no definitive conclusions, for I'm collecting and considering impressions, not minting coins. The image out my office window seems almost foggy this morning as a light snow sifts down upon a sometimes-familiar landscape. It's different this morning than it seemed yesterday, though my memory seems to further fuzz my latest first impression; its very difference a little surprising. I do not remember this familiar ever before being precisely like this. Nothing's precisely here.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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