Monday, November 17, 2008

Melinama does Illustration Friday: "Pretend."

Once again, there isn't enough time in an afternoon to cut a woodblock! So I whittled away at it some more this morning (getting tiny wood chips all over my bathrobe) and then scanned the block itself.

I was thinking of one of the most mind-changing things anybody ever said to me: my "first love," a philosophy major, used to quote Wittgenstein at me constantly, and one of his favorite Wittgenstein quotes was: "We are what we pretend to be."

This was huge, because my self-confidence was low and I was always afraid my mother's curse ("nobody will ever love you because you don't love anybody but yourself") was going to ruin my life. I realized that if I pretended to be a kind, loving person, and I pretended hard, all the time, then the fact that I might in fact be what my mother thought me to be wouldn't matter. I could be what I pretended to be.

It's part of what attracted me to Judaism, in fact: Judaism doesn't emphasis the need for your heart to BE pure, it emphasizes the need for you to DO good and correct things. I have my suspicious about my heart: how would I know if it were pure? But I'm action oriented, and understand doing.

When I looked up the quote, I was surprised to see it attributed to Kurt Vonnegut. Looking some more, however, I found it attributed to Socrates, and since he came first of the three, he gets the honors.

I was plentifully criticized for this woodcut by my son Ezra. He thought it made no sense at all. My idea: an ordinary (though androgynous) being is dressing up like Mighty Mouse and trying to be like him/her, although it doesn't come naturally. Evidently it was a complete failure. Unlike a drawing, though, it can't be fixed with an eraser. Some other time, maybe.



At 3:53 PM, Blogger peachtreeart said...

I love this, now if I can only learn to pretend, I'll be fine :(. Great job

At 8:07 PM, Blogger ArtSparker said...

Very cool, some kind of infinite regression, a youth pretending to be a mouse who thinks he is a superhero who can fly...But I like the mystery of it. Those pigeontoed boots are perrty funny too.

At 9:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like it! To me, it's a reminder that our good intentions should be put into action. Maybe Ezra was just distracted by Mr. Sunshine and the flower?

--Lisa S.

At 7:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh.... for years,i have been under the idea ...'I'm tired of pretending to be all right' ㅜㅠ
MAYBE I need to learn more to be a good pretender survive?

i like your writing and Wittgenstein ^^


At 6:58 AM, Blogger Tessa said...

Really thought provoking - and a unique take on the topic. The woodcut is wonderful and your words so expressive and meaningful.

At 6:38 PM, Anonymous susanlynn said...

I think that Socrates, Wittgenstein, Kurt Vonnegut, and your old beau would all have liked your woodcut. Ezra could have at least pretended to like it. I like that philosophy.,,,and I'm not pretending to like it. I really like it. I can relate it to Norman Vincent Peale's power of positive thinking. Thoughts creating reality.


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