It’s approaching 6:00 p.m. on Sunday as I’m writing this, taking a moment away from working on my novel to work on this post. It’s been a busy weekend. My wife is still away, in Oklahoma City, on grand-baby #4 arrival watch. Due date is still more than a week away, but his brothers and sister all came early, so she went up early, and will be there a while after the birth. My mother-in-law is also away, visiting her relatives and friends in southwest Kansas. She won’t be back till around Oct. 3 or 4. So it’s just me in the house.
I’m in The Dungeon, which is where most of my serious writing takes place. After Life Group, church, buying a sandwich and fries from Arby’s, making a quick stop at the Neighborhood Market for something I forgot yesterday, and dropping recyclables off, I got home to the empty house. I ate my lunch while channel jumping between NFL football games that really didn’t interest me and one of the Star Wars movies, which some channel is showing over and over again this weekend. Then I went to The Dungeon to write. I could tell, however, as I started, that I would have difficulty adding coherent words to Preserve The Revelation, so I decided to go to the couch in the nearby family room and take a nap.
My nap lasted a little less than an hour, but I woke up with greater powers of concentration. I guess I was wiped out from Saturday’s labors. While I was working on Saturday it didn’t seem like I was working very hard. Oh, I was getting things done. I went to Wal-Mart early for groceries and building project materials. I removed cut branches and pulled vines from the front and back yard to the forest; worked on the flower garden project in the front yard, getting the edging blocks in place (I think; I may yet modify the layout a little, but it will be minor). Then I came inside and set up a new shelf unit in the storage room, to replace the old, old computer table which took up a lot of room but didn’t have all that much storage capacity. I’m not looking for more room to store more stuff we’ll just have to get rid of some day, but I want a neat storeroom, and the computer desk was frustrating those effort.
All that done, I fixed a salad for lunch, then went to The Dungeon to write. But, I was so exhausted from the work I’d done, I couldn’t write. I added a few words to the novel, but knew I wasn’t going to make major production as I’d hoped. So I searched YouTube for a medley of my favorite oldies, and spent a few afternoon hours just listening to some girl group songs and doo-wop. Then it was drive to town to the church to set up stairs for today’s worship service, then home to cook supper, then to study to teach Life Group lesson, while doing laundry, then to drop into bed and sleep the sleep of the dead for seven hours.
What, you ask, does all of this have to do with the title of the post, “Searching for a Metaphor”? Perhaps it’s a weak connection, but I have been searching for a metaphor for my writing for a while. As I read other people’s writing, such as Mark Twain’s short stories, or Thomas Carlyle’s non-fiction, I find them to be rich in metaphor. As I look back on my own writing, especially my poems, I know the ones that are best are those which are rich in metaphor. My poems of late, alas, have been more focused around imagery, not metaphor. Images are important too, but I think metaphor is a higher use of language.
I look out The Dungeon windows. The tall oaks are swaying, so it much be windy outside. Now they’ve stopped, so obviously it’s intermittent wind. There they go again. Dusk has come upon us, plus, it’s cloudy. We were supposed to have rain this afternoon, but it has never come. I find no metaphor in the trees, however; nor in the lack of rain, the busyness of the weekend, the usefulness of a nap, or the significance of writing with good, solid production.
I wrote a poem on Friday. It started out as a haiku, based on the eastern sky during my morning commute. This is often a time that inspires a haiku. However, I wanted to make a little more out of the poem. The tanka poetic form takes a haiku and expands it by two lines. It’s supposed to have only more information on images already presented, not present new images. Friday evening I worked on it, being just a few words short of the complete tanka. In the evening I was able to add those lines. But the tanka, while probably not too bad, is not a metaphor.
Alas, I will keep searching. Perhaps by the time winter comes, I’ll have much less work to do around the house and property, and will be able to quiet my mind for a while, and train myself to think in metaphors, instead of, at best images, or at worse to-do and to-purchase lists. One can always hope.