Michele Deveze

Past Imperfect

The imperfect tense, in the classical grammar of several Indo-European languages, denotes a past tense with an imperfective aspect. In English, it is referred to as the past continuous tense (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperfect).
Omnivorous, a borrower and a lender both, it has no pride, it has no shame, redefining itself temporally, spatially, culturally; time and again verging on speciation, but retaining enough links to its siblings, albeit tenuous and conflicting, to allow subliminal and interpretative communication.
Symbols, borrow from other symbologies, grow a life of their own, mean things to you other than they meant to me, redefining temporally, culturally, experientially; meaning now other than they meant before. Sensitivities sharpen and dull, layering and exposing, remembering, forgetting; and maybe one day we will know the place for the first time. Or not.
The words the symbols the feelings the meanings. That are there that were not there that were there before that are there now. The same sounds the same shapes different meanings. What I said what you said what you heard what I meant
A tense continuum between the past, the present, the future.
When I was drawing I would think I was drawing the best I used to be able to draw. But even then I would know that I wasn’t drawing as well as I possibly could draw, and that it never would be perfect. It was the best, but I used to know that it wasn’t. It never is.
Once done, it is time to stop, the imperfect belongs to the past.
I was drawing
I used to draw
I would draw
Even while we are working on a piece, and we are working hard to do the best that we can, even then we know that the work will not be perfect; even in the midst of working we know that we will be dissatisfied with the result, we already see the faults, errors, mistakes; we already are following half a dozen exploratory paths in our minds, far distant to the piece that we are working on, solving and setting more problems, even before the piece that we are working on is resolved, and yet there is a thread which joins all the works, makes sense of them, their evolution, gives the works depth and breadth – although the past may be imperfect, it gives definition to the present and pre-empts the future…

Michèle Devèze 2008