Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Trompe l’oeil, or Painted Illusions

With the return to Standard Time behind us, (finally adjusted, thank you) we get to be in “real time” for a few months. That is, before we get back to fooling our clocks again.

It’s a sort of mind trick we play, this one we do together. But it got me thinking about the many such fool-oneself-even-as-I-acknowledge-it-and-it-still-works sort of tricks we have come to accept.

See what I mean?^


Decorators call it trompe l‘oeil, or “deceive the eye” in French. Decorators must have figured that if you say it in French it sounds fancier and not quite as shady.   An example of trompe l’oeil is when you paint a visual of a rug onto a wood floor, thus giving the feel that there is a rug exuding its beautiful pattern there. You tell yourself it is better than a real rug, because it will never crinkle or need moth treatment. Voila.
We all have our known illusions. Such as putting artificial sweeteners in our coffee, telling ourselves we are better without the calories and future diabetes, but hoping our tongues don’t notice. We celebrate various ribbons and trophies for our kids even when many are nothing more than participation awards. Writers have this peculiar habit of celebrating the oxymoron we call “a good rejection,” (that’s a personal praising of our writing replete with specific glowing comments about the enclosed story) but, alas, it’s a NO.

But perhaps the greatest illusion is that what is will always be. We know death is inevitable, but we pretend it isn't.

This is not a call to strip all illusions. I actually feel like celebrating them. I need mine.

13 comments:

  1. Sometimes I wonder if part of having a "good life" is tricking yourself into focusing on the positives. :-)

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  2. Oh, dear, the good rejection ... my husband correctly pointed out the first time I got one, that it was still a no. But there are degrees, no?

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  3. As a guy - I think a painted rug would work for me. And I'm still not adjusted to the time. :-D

    But I think it's important to take the time and see the positivity in every situation. :-)

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  4. A rejection filled with praise is almost harder to take in my opinion. It's like "I love this! You're a great writer. Oh, but I'm going to pass." Ouch.

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  5. This post gave me a smile, especially with all the random seemingly unconnected examples that really do have that one thing in common of "fooling" ourselves!

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    1. Spoken like the good editor you are... Smiling right back :)

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  6. I wish I could pretend that mortality is an illusion. Instead, I feel like it's always peering over my shoulder, waiting for me to make a false move. Yikes! Love the beach picture.

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  7. I love the trompe l'oeil art. And I think we all need some illusions to keep our sanity. Like the fact that I'm still 35 on every birthday.

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    1. Love that you didn't pick the proverbial "29" ;)

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  8. My mother always hated Daylight Saving. When we sprang ahead, she'd spend a few days saying, "It's 6 o'clock. Except it's really 5 o'clock." No amount of trying to explain to her that it wasn't "really" either one and they were both conventions for understanding time made any difference.

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  9. Mirka, I know I've said this before, but you *always* make me think. I especially like how you said "We all have our illusions," and definitely identified with the "good rejection" illusion...I was talking about this just this afternoon. Thanks so much for sharing this!

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  10. I need mine, too. A good or nice rejection is still a NO. Like Kelly said, it probably hurts (or puzzles) more.

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  11. We'd probably give up sooner on many things in life without our illusions encouraging us to press on.

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