Sobering. That’s what it is really. The moment when you find that corner piece of the massive puzzle you’re trying to piece together. Most of the time it was staring you in the face but the rest of the pieces laying all muddled up around it, had hidden it from your sight. So you take that corner piece and put in place to start building the frame work. Suddenly, as the pieces start sliding into place you notice that the picture on the box looks a little different to the one you’re trying to put together.
“Why is that,” you ask as another piece locks effortlessly in. “Why is it that the pictures on the boxes of things differ so dramatically from the one you spend so many days working on creating?”
Is it not maybe in that where the problem lies? Maybe we should stop trying to build a picture and instead, take a step back, look at the box and ask yourself if you really have the time to build that 1500 piece. And once you’ve pieced it together you face another conundrum – where to find a space for it in your home. Do you break it up, put it back in the packaging and trade it at the local pawn shop or do you throw it into the cupboard next to the rest of the puzzles you only half finished?
Or you could try and mount it on a cardboard, frame it and hang it on a wall somewhere to show off to everyone. And this will be fine too, until someone comes along, looks at the picture and explains how he also pieced that same one together, and he did it in half the time. Your first instinct is to retort with “what? This same puzzle? But how could you have done it in half the time it took me to get this far? I’ve spent so much time meticulously piecing it together and loving every moment spent on it.” And then it hits you. It’s only a puzzle, just like every other puzzle. And this one has a price on it, like every other one. And a puzzle doesn’t care who wants to build it, it only cares that it is being built.
So why then does it feel so profoundly shit knowing that your puzzle, that one you really wanted to complete and display proudly in your home, also hangs on the mantelpiece in some other home? Is it because the puzzle itself is not the art you thought it was, because before you bought it you believed that it was unique and now, you realize it actually isn’t. And is this really the case with all art? Or is the only truly unique piece, the one that goes to the highest bidder to ensure its authenticity.
Like I said, sobering. And hangovers hurt like a caning on a wet bottom. But hangovers, like your desire to build puzzles, pass. And then we feel better. And then we decide to build another puzzle…maybe this time one that we created ourselves. And maybe this time one that will be a perfect fit on that empty space above your bed.