A Fine Eye


This memory from childhood mystified me at the time, but I understand it now …

My family always had a very nice, but small vegetable garden. One sunny  weekend day mom decided that we would weed the garden.We would each weed one row of tomatoes. One for Mom. One for Dad. One for Sis, and one for me. So weed we did.  After a while, when the weeding was done…. that is, three of the rows were done. The family walked back to the start of my row and found one immaculately weeded tomato plant. There was not one single weed left around the first tomato in my row, to their eyes anyhow. I really hadn’t finished weeding that plant  to perfection. Mom and Dad thought this was hilarious! I don’t remember, but I’m sure they exhorted me to speed it up. Then I looked at their rows….rows that clearly were weeded by nearly blind people who were unable to recognize weeds. Unfortunately these rows were weeded by very careless people, perhaps people with no standards. This sad truth was driven into me throughout my childhood. The missed embroidery stitch, the crooked pictures, the mismatched silverware.

My poor mother would hand me two identical  stuffed animals. one for me and one for Sis.

“I am letting you have your choice, Marianne. You always find the flaw and show me, then when I can’t see it, you just stare at the flaw, then look away, then look at it again as though it will be gone. Choose carefully, and do not bring it back to me,  to show me a flaw.”

I  always tried rubbing the flaw, hoping that would mitigate the horrible gaping missed stitch, discoloration, pulled thread or whatever the flaw was. It never did.

I think it’s an Aspie thing. I think in pictures, and I really can’t understand how thinking could be elsewise.

I can spot something out of square from across the room, AND believe an elephant will fit in a hatbox. It’s ridiculous, but that is how it is. Spatial anomalies are like that. I can draw upside down and rightside up, all the letters work perfectly well backwards for me .. it’s as though there is no left OR right.

This fine eye has served me well as an artist. Even my idiosyncrasies were well tolerated in the studio.

I know there’s an Aspie, hiding in the closet somewhere surrounding the creation  of Monk. I have never seen anybody see with their hands except me and Mr. Monk. He does a mime/wall hand-walk kind of thing, whereas I open one hand and put it by my face as though i am shielding the side of my face. What I am doing is seeing. I’m focusing and understanding. It usually happens when I’m looking at art, trying to understand someone’s space in order to draw a design that will fit, or when i am on the edge of being able to visually work out a problem. This is not voluntary. I am not able to prevent it. I always apologize, though, because i know people think it’s weird.

When the answer I’m seeking is near, it feels the same as that moment when the Magic Eye picture just begins to emerge. The heart slows, there is a space, a tiny space that feels like no other. I don’t know what it is, but i like it every time.

the journey continues ….   mari stein 2014


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