Alright so my ‘make your own metaphor’ day was not greeted with as much enthusiasm as I’d hoped. I’m not giving up so easily. I won’t rest until we’re all walking talking metaphor, people! Alright, maybe I’ll settle for you being accutely AWARE that you are metaphor for about 15 minutes every month.
Some generous feedback suggested to me that perhaps I need to step back a bit and give more direction so in light of that we will have Lesson One in metaphor making.
I’ve already given you a description of what makes metaphor..it’s a transferring of one thing to another…from the latin word meaning to “carry.” You’re in effect, carrying the traits of one item onto another.
Generally, what makes metaphor really interesting to me is when we take two VERY DIFFERENT things to carry across to one another but you can always go for the easy load and choose things that have some well known connection. So today we’ll focus on choosing those things, you decide how far apart the shores you plan to bridge, alright?
Think through what is happening in your day or your week. Look at your actual calendar. Go ‘head…I’ll wait.
Now, choose an event that either is happening in your life…carpool, school project due, dinner party, dentist appointment. Choose something quotidian or something extraordinary, it’s up to you. Choose the first thing that jumps out at you, even if it’s SWEEP BASEMENT STAIRS! This is the point where I’d ask you though, why you had to write SWEEP BASEMENT STAIRS on your calendar…not judging, just asking. I ask questions…it’s what I do best.
If you have your “event” from the calendar then sit with that thought for a moment. SWEEP BASEMENT STAIRS. How do you feel about this event? Have you done it already? Have you been avoiding it? Are you looking forward to it? Does the thought of clean basement steps have some SPECIAL meaning for you? Are you on medication for this weird clean steps fetish?
Once you have an EMOTION we move from here. You see, metaphor isn’t just comparing two very different things…it’s not even pasting one on top of the other…it’s not Bacon Donuts. (Don’t go off on me about how awesome Bacon Donuts taste, ok? Let’s not go there.) Metaphor is MORE than comparision, it’s more than cut and paste. Metaphor is actually a distillation of these two things…they move together because they ARE connected…well connected….in the fabric of what knits US together. It’s unseen, it’s mysterious and yet when you hear it, it makes PERFECT sense. Metaphor that DOES NOT work is easy to spot. We don’t feel a connection to it. We don’t get it. We don’t BELIEVE it.
So get back to your basement stairs. If you felt dread about that event you might think then, what else do you dread? Visitng the dentist? Breaking up with your hairdresser? Admitting you were wrong to a friend?
We now have two different “things.” Sweeping the floor and calling to apologize to someone. If it was me, I’d do put it this way:
The phonecall would be messy. The phone call was the dirt on the staircase to the basement I never get around to sweeping.
Now, you CAN leave it to stand on it’s own but because I’m Mrs Metaphor I expand the metaphor…draw it out:
The phonecall would be messy. The phone call was the dirt on the staircase to the basement I never get around to sweeping. I had put off that mess for too long. Each time I walked down the steps I saw the dirt there, so I avoided the steps. I had a broom, I don’t know why I would not make the call. I could so easily clean it up. Every particle of dirt was a mistake I’d made, a word I’d said in anger. Sweeping it away didn’t mean it would disappear, certainly, it just meant that I was taking ownership of it, making our friendship clear again. I was still responsible for those stairs. I was still responsible for that dirt and clearing away the injury.
Alright, that’s enough for today…there’s no written homework required today…just read pages 75-225 in your textbooks and look around your life….seek out the metaphor this week. See where it takes you to just pay attention to how things are connected.