I got this new-ish computer a couple of months ago. The background of my desktop is a stained and discolored wall. It’s a standard background Compaq put on their computers once upon a time. I haven’t changed it yet because there’s a little troll in the right hand corner, just above the date and time. He’s kind of shy and just peeking out.
Can you see it? You’ll have to look for him of course, trolls look just like stones. Wait, I’ll outline him.
I know he looks kind of grumpy. But he’s a troll. That’s just his face. He’s really very friendly. He’s very supportive too. Whenever I get stuck with my words or need to have an idea, I look at my little troll. I’ll let my eyes look for the lines of his face and I try to imagine the other side which is hidden by the edge of the monitor. Sometimes his brother is there. He has more of a Yoda ear, attached higher on his head, about level with the eyebrow.
There’s all kinds of creatures around, living in the tree bark outside my window, in the stones in the yard. Some of them only come out when the light hits just so. There’s even a few in the electric outlets. Those are very easily startled and always look surprised. I guess to them, life is shocking.
(I’m not going to apologize for the pun. I like puns.)
It’s a trick of my eyes and brain called pareidolia, and according to some it’s a human evolutionary trait. Humans have gotten so good at recognizing faces that we now can see them where there aren’t any.
To me, it’s a great way to kick-start my imagination. Whenever I feel a bit stuck I start looking for faces in objects and shadows and before I know it, ideas will start to creep in. Some idea will be linked to the expressions of the faces I see, but just as often they will be totally unrelated.
And my little computer troll is a huge help. I don’t think I could do without him just yet. So my back ground stays. Even if it seems a little impersonal.