About the puzzle pieces…
When I was little, I looked at things with my telescopic eye. My Telescopic Eye could shut out everything except the one thing I looked at, so that nothing else even existed.
It wasn’t all that hard really, because I didn’t know very much, and nearly everything was new and without context.
My Telescopic Eye is gone now. I know too much. Now things have histories and purposes and meanings.
But when you’re four, and looking through your Telescopic Eye, you can pretty much be the thing you’re looking at. Even if it’s a color. Have you ever been Blue? I remember that I could be, but not at all what it felt like.
Here is the smooth roundness of the picture side of the jigsaw shape, the light catching its shiny surface. There is the sharp gray edge underneath, with just a wisp of paper, no more than dust, caught and torn by the blade that shaped it.
I peer at this snippet of line and color, rotating the piece horizontally, vertically. I'm viewing a magnified detail from a painting or photograph, shown much smaller on the box, effectively hiding the truth of the detail in the lie of its whole. Or vise versa, if you like.
Or better, the image or the box is missing, opening universes of possibilities without names.
So then, what am I looking at? The tip of a petal? The point of a whisker? A stripe across the sky? A road on a map?
The image is one thing, taken as part of some whole. On its own it’s entirely another, with no particular meaning attached except one made up on the spot.
I saw a number of things back then, with my telescopic eye, playing on the cool, smooth wood floor under my grandmother’s huge bed.
Jigsaw puzzles are among them. They are sometimes parts of an unknown whole. They are often pieces of a known whole. They sometimes represent dimensions they don’t own. Their shapes are usually both male and female.
Jigsaw pieces are rife with metaphor, or just meaningless funny shapes. They are paper, which is always made from other things, mostly from things that were once alive.
They are cut out by strange, sharp, noisy and dangerous machines.
I like the way they look, strewn like leaves, or lined up like soldiers.
So, that’s why jigsaw puzzle pieces...in case you ever wondered.