Monet Experience (noun): The process or fact of personally observing, encountering, or undergoing something for the first time, or without any preconceived notion as to what might be entailed or encountered. To be a blank canvas. I went into the movie without even seeing the trailer, it was a total Monet Experience.
This is the coining of the term; its first non-spoken use. Monet, like me, often longed to see the world without any preconceived notions, prejudices, or expectation whatsoever. To see the world for the first time, like a child, but with an adult mind with the capabilities to appreciate such a thing.
When you taste a new dish for the first time, when you read a book with no idea what it’s about, when you visit somewhere you’ve never even seen pictures of — you’re having a Monet Experience. In the fashion of an Epicurean, I find no greater bliss than experiencing something new; no matter how small. So when I read that Monet felt the same way, it finally gave a name to what I’d been feeling all along.
“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.”
– Claude Monet
And to be frank: I’m not narcissistic enough to call it a “Schannep Experience”. I like the name “Monet Experience”. Associating a man so full of passion, genius and talent adds an element of beauty to a concept near and dear to my heart.
As both a purveyor and rabid consumer of books and movies, a Monet Experience is essential to my enjoyment. Friends call me a “Story Purist” because I don’t like to know anything about a book or movie going into it. The writer intends information to be revealed in a specific way, and it tickles my senses for the process to unfold in such a manner. Spoilers, an apt name if ever one was writ, ruin that experience.
Ever watch a movie trailer, then say “Thanks for showing me the entire movie”? This is far too commonplace, in my opinion. Teasers do much better, but if I know I’m interested in something, I’ll skirt any conversation or exposure to that work.
“It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly.” – Claude Monet
My love of the Monet Experience was cemented by a single event. I’ve served in the military, and during basic training we were cut off from the outside world. After we were able to leave the gates for the first time, I went to see a movie with a few friends. We had no idea what any of the films playing were about. “What should we see?” we asked one another aloud. A patron leaving said, “The Ring is a really great movie.” We all shrugged and bought tickets. It remains to this day one of my favorite movie-going experiences.
“So how do you pick movies and books?” you might ask. Simple: by recommendation. Trusted friends and critics say something is amazing and worth my time, and I check it out. Or by reputation. There are writers and filmmakers whom I believe produce quality art. Once I’m a fan, I’m hooked till they lose me.
Bottom line: Sometimes you can’t avoid the hype, but I find it more pleasurable not to seek it out. Give it a try. Only a Monet Experience can provide the joy of unadulterated perception.
© James Schannep and jamesschannep.com, 2011-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.