2 min read

Metaphors and Mind Games

Is this a thing all writers do?

I take note of small moments (sometimes, big ones too, but usually during a big one you're too busy being in the moment to take note of it and evaluate it afterward) and wonder what they're akin to. I then, attempt to morph the moment into a metaphor. It's a little mind game I am forever playing.

The other morning, I barely, for barely any time, touched the metal tray as I was pulling it out my air fryer toaster oven (one of the greatest kitchen purchases of my life – will gush about it in a future post) and I barely burnt my index finger when I did it.

It's the kind of burn you almost immediately forget about, having thought, "I almost really burnt myself!" before dismissing from your mind entirely. Until, several minutes later, you realize you did burn yourself, or did you? You can't see the burn, and a small amount of pressure feels inconvenient, not necessarily painful. Your fingertip is tender is all.

I thought about these things as I ate my breakfast, What is this feeling like?

I made an Evernote:

That moment before you know whether a burn will be discomfort or pain. The subtle lick of something that could be something more or nothing at all.

I kept thinking about it, this small moment. Later, in the shower, I pushed my mind more to describe what an almost burn is like. I updated my Evernote:

Any amount of pressure an inconvenient reminder of self-harm, a directive to be gentle.

As I was getting dressed, I decided this could be a metaphor for what it's like to get back together with an ex after some period of time has passed. You cross over territory in your new relationship, that you forgot you'd trampled together before. You are unsure whether this old wound hurts or if the moment will be a passing discomfort, like a slight burn on your fingertip, almost not there at all, until pressed on.

This meditation on a fingertip burn that I experienced has now become a draft for an extended metaphor on repeat relationships. If it were to make its way into my writing, I'd tighten it up.

But, it probably won't. I'm pleased with it, but I probably have more than a hundred of these in my Evernotes app and I almost always forget to return to the app when I'm writing, unless I'm out and about and make a note for a piece I'm in the middle of. It's sad really, some of them are so good! Sometimes, when I'm desperate in my writer's block I'll ferret around in there.

However, whether I use it or not, I think the exercise is what helps me create strong, fresh metaphors during my writing process because my mind is constantly attempting to force these connections, always asking myself to match up the similarities between a physical feeling and emotional feeling. I think it strengthens your writing when you embody your feelings.

Anyways, now this is your game to play too. If you want. Maybe I'll make it a future WEW...

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