Tuesday, November 10

might could

'in linguistics class a few semesters back we had a lecture on the characteristics of human language. one of the coolest things that separates human speech from bird calls is the concept of lying. irrealis, it's called. the ability to think about things that aren't real right now. the future. the past. nightmares. fictions. goals. lies.' - a.c. april 24, 2006

here were are, on the edge between not yet and already. what are we doing here? what are we thinking we'll get away with? where are we imagining we'll wander off to?

this article about pretending and games that are barely games has been coming back to me over the past few days. it has reminded me in more than one way of that crazy old Linguistics professor.

I love what Mr. Davies says about edges. betweenness. overlap. 'Pretending is something you do with a bit of your brain, with the edges. It's a thing of inattention, not concentration.'

and that's how it becomes such a part of us. that's how while I'm reciting to my roommate this silly little fairy tale I read on wikisource last evening, she can be daydreaming about what the pair of us might do if some frightening person attacked us as we turned the corner. it's everything that isn't real, but somehow it perfectly solidifies everything that really is.

somebody once told me that actors, and actresses, were more likely to be surer of their real self underneath all the costumes. they had to be just a little bit more real than anyone else, just so they wouldn't lose themselves in all the pretending. I suppose the same principle may apply to the rest of us: pretending sharpens the edges, the contrasts of our reality. is that true?
once, we built a fort. what were we pretending? that we were schoolgirls having a slumber party? or pioneers camping out on the plains? maybe it doesn't matter. we had a few chairs, a few big blankets, and an ironing board, so we made a fort. the next morning we took it all down again.
'We don't need many cues to help us pretend. We'll find meaning in the noisiest noise - just give us a tiny signal and we'll come up with a message.' - r.d.

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