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Thomas Fearnley: (Joseph Mallord William) Turner Varnishing [Norweigan-Turner Fernisserer] (1837)
" … the impression might seem have been rendered by a three year old with a broken crayon."

As our painter Curt and I disassembled The Villa's entry hall for repainting, I began noticing features I swear I'd never before seen. Curt found a hook screwed into a ceiling corner I'd walked under at least ten thousand times without once noticing its presence. I might have just been seeing that same old space in a new light because we had taken down that horrid chandelier The Muse had always loved to hate. I puzzled over how the ceiling interfaced with the second floor and which spaces were foreground and which trim, a question that had never occurred to me to ask until then, poised like Christopher Robin sitting not quite half way up or down the stairway. The thing about seeing, I started thinking, seems to be that it involves an awful lot of projecting. Initially, perhaps, I might quickly see before categorizing and classifying whatever appears before me, in this instance, "Stairs." I then start UnSeeing details as they become unseen again, framed but essentially invisible. This facility generally works just fine for me. It allows me to wander all around The Villa in predawn darkness without needing to turn on any lights. It also seems to inhibit my ability to foresee, though, to envision future difference, for how can I expect to repaint surfaces I cannot actually see? Repainting seems to insist upon a fairly tight interface with whatever's really before me. My shorthand classifying manner of seeing serves me poorly then, for it seems to actually be a dandy way of UnSeeing.

The thing about drawing, insisted Betty Edwards, author of the fantastic Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain (Tarcher, 1979) and host of the
DrawRight website exploring its insights, it depends upon seeing. This insight might not seem all that profound until you sit down with a pen and attempt to draw something. My attempts to sketch my coffee cup seem simply disastrous. I "see" that cup as round, but it isn't round from all perspectives. Sitting as it is right now, just to my right on top of a pile of rectangular papers, its obviously round top appears more ovoid, but I too easily translate what I actually see into how I've categorized and classified Cup as belonging to the general class of round things. Consequently, my resulting drawing appears to have been created by a three year old with a broken crayon. Edwards recommends setting such things upside down to break the powerful classification trance preventing actually seeing the damned thing. The thing about drawing seems to be a thing about seeing. Painting, simply resurfacing, also demands a more primal sort of seeing, something beyond facile classifying, something much more fundamental.

The Muse, dizzy from endless hours of Zoom® meetings, happened into Curt and my conversation deconstructing what we'd started noticing. We were speaking a different language and The Muse had not intended to stumble into a deep philosophical conversation, but just drive through on her way to the kitchen to ditch her lunch dishes. She tried to catch what we were getting on about. It's her stairway, too, and perhaps more hers than anyone else's. She pled The Fifth and for space to more deeply consider, which in that moment seemed unlikely to happen before several years into the future. The transition between the Zoom world® and this one seems every bit as jarring and disorienting as does awakening from any longer term UnSeeing trance. The two together doubtless seemed dizzying. This world seems strange and new sometimes when it had always previously seemed altogether too familiar. Where am I? I wonder.

I might find myself poised between two different and opposing worlds. The world that was, or certainly seemed to be, and the one becoming, which, because it doesn't yet exist I have no hope of actually seeing. I say that I envision, but my envisioning, too, seems littered with shorthand summaries of the details therein. We spoke of trim and bannister colors playing off each other to leave the railing appearing to be floating alongside the stairs. That visual might amplify our human inability to see, for we'd be deliberately attempting to fool an observer's eye, knowing for certain that observers don't usually need anyone else's help in that department. Most are fully capable of UnSeeing for themselves and thereby fooling themselves into believing that they're seeing whatever's before them. Look again. Look more closely. Even then, the impression might seem have been rendered by a three year old with a broken crayon. HomeMaking's confusing.


I end this writing week UnSeeing, or seeing that I must have been UnSeeing before. I might still be constructing my impressions of my world by making inept drawings. It's a wonder any two people ever actually agree on any reality. I wrestle just accepting mine most days without anyone else complicating my impressions by contributing theirs. You're probably no different. Yet here you are and here I am UnSeeing so emphatically, and sometimes even seeming to enjoy the challenge. I find myself grateful for my misleading impressions. At least they seem to always leave me with something fresh to consider.

I began my writing week in conversation with our granddaughter, The GrandOther, in my most popular posting of this period,
AnOtherSummer. "I confided that the true purpose of summer school vacation was to provide school kids enough boredom so that they might develop a range of coping strategies for dealing with it."

I continued by describing how hesitantly I tend to get started in
Sidling. "I check the exits. I consider the angles. I prefer to play the board in my head clear to checkmate before moving my first pawn, even though nobody could foresee through all the eventual complications." It's a genuine wonder I ever get anything started, let alone finished.

I next confessed that whatever else I might be doing while HomeMaking, I'm actually engaged in the fine and noble art of
KittenMaking. "If families exist to make people, homes exist to make kittens."

I considered the curious choices HomeMaking serves me with
TheHandyman'sDilemma "Resolution comes by default or by excruciating choice, never by reason. No to-do list respects anybody's predicate calculus. The contents of that to-do list will largely remain undone whatever's chosen. There are no proper places to start."

I told the story of my latest grand reordering in
Sorting. "Unordered possessions own their owner."

I wrote about setting up my door refinishing shop in
ADoorInc. "My masterpieces will become invisible if I can muster the skill. I must remain mindful of this tacit purpose."

I ended my writing week recounting some of my misadventures fueled by myths in
MythedInformation. "The Muse says that reading the instructions provides information and not reading them produces an education. Between those two choices lies something even more insidious, the MythedInformation lurking indistinguishable from reliable sources."

The thermometer yesterday barely made it to ninety. The end of August came early this year and left me gasping but my HomeMaking continued anyway. Let the record show that I attempted to seize these days, though several of them seemed to have seized me instead. Each engagement seems to break another trance while probably installing another fresh one I'm actively UnSeeing. The understanding that I'm UnSeeing something, and probably something significant, seems a truly back-handed form of enlightenment, but one quite fitting for anyone aspiring to HomeMaking. Thanks for following along. I'll be UnSeeing you, or trying to, through next week, too.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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