I like illusions. I like the magic of sleight of hand, the sight puzzled over, the pleasure of a surprise. I enjoy experimenting with photography software, particularly when the unexpected emerges from layering, and a new vision appears. The mystery of illusion almost always makes me smile. Facts can tell us about the mechanics behind many illusions, but not what happens in us when we experience them for ourselves.
Words work illusionary wonders too. We believe we know what a word means, but what I label a chair doesn’t look like yours. I think my word describes what you’re seeing, and yet it doesn’t, even if they have common characteristics. If it’s challenging to share the same sense of something that it’s possible to see and touch, the complications inherent in attempting to share the abstract is completely boggling. The words of a story that come alive to me through my mind’s translation don’t necessarily speak to you (which always amazes me when I have loved a book, and a good friend hasn’t.) Our lives are more interesting because of these differences in imprinting and interpretation. But it’s a wonder to me that the words we choose, the layers we apply, the regional peculiarities that exist in our exchanges and the presumption that our visions are similar, can actually produce anything between us but confusion. We live in a world of verbal illusion, sharing in the wide space that mysteriously interacts between our imaginations, mostly quite successfully. I am in awe.