Thursday, June 21, 2007

Metaphors and images

Exercises from today's creative writing class: metaphors and images for abstract concepts. Important lessons from today: use concrete, particular, and unequivocal terms; use verbs to convey the meaning; and minimize the use of adjectives.

Here are some of mine (some good, some not so good, many probably real groaners):

  • a nothing, a mote, a grain -- but whose weight is needed to tip the scales once again

  • a five-ton wheel made of stone -- slow, ungainly, moves like molasses -- but grinds everything in its path down to dust

  • Love
  • a lonely watchman waiting for the dawn

  • a washer woman's pruned bloodied fingers on the eighth load of the day

  • the unexpected perfect storm that leaves devastation in its wake

  • Grief
  • that tasteless, papery texture in your mouth, matching the boom-boom-boom of your heart

  • a patch of fur on the highway, moist and red, never more to lick your face (my personal favorite, though probably too obscure)

  • Hate
  • an eternal sourball that you roll around your mouth; it's slick from your own spit, it screws up your face. (you really should spit it out. really, you should. but it's just so gosh-darned yummy.)

  • Freedom
  • the last bell of the schoolday

  • the last bell just before the start of summer

  • a necktie undone

  • Sunrise
  • a million million sparkling diamonds on the face of the gently rippling sea (ugh!)

  • the thing that I never see because I'm pasted on the couch, lying in a pool of my own vomit

  • God's revenge on drunkards

    1. Hey, those are pretty good! Returning to your blog after a long absence (via the grieving Madame Chiang)was like revisiting an old neighborhood, superficial similarities overlie time's deep transformations. Hmm -- simile writing is always harder than it looks!

      I always thought Virginia Woolf's were among the best. Here is a young man trying to force himself to speak in the famous dinner party scene in To the Lighthouse:

      He felt rigid and barren, like a pair of boots that has been soaked and gone dry so that you can hardly force your feet into them. Yet he must force his feet into them. He must make himself talk.

    2. Hi, Torn: thanks much for the return visit! Coincidentally, I've just discovered Virginia Woolf via "The Gutenberg Elegies" by Sven Brikert. I've added "A Room of One's Own" to my reading list, and looks like I'll have to add one more.

    3. "a patch of fur on the highway, moist and red, never more to lick your face"
      Anyone who's ever lost a beloved dog would definitely relate to this. :-(

    4. Leah: yeah, I know. His name was Charlie.