Archives for posts with tag: metaphors

My somewhat under-filled schedule allows for too much procrastination. The little (and big) tasks on my list take on less urgency when I tell myself I have plenty of time to get to them. As a result, I don’t always accomplish what I should. 

The two bird feeders in my front yard are an example: I noticed last week that they needed to be filled. Today, as I walked to the house on the way back from an errand, I took the few minutes to take care of it.

After releasing Waldo from his crate and pouring myself a cup of coffee, I glanced out of the kitchen window. There they were: bright Cardinals, Goldfinches, and Purple Finches, dithering around the feeders with their more soberly dressed counterparts.

“You get more birds when you fill the feeders” I snarked to myself. The metaphor walloped me between the eyes. Well, duh…


Fellow writers (bloggers especially) has this ever happened to you?:

Have you ever, in the middle of a perfectly good, idle, random thought, ever pulled up short and started to edit it? Do you find yourself, while  absent-mindedly scratching your dog’s ear, wondering how you can turn that experience into prose with A Larger Message? Do you collect titles the way you used to collect comic books/45 rpm records/ Matchbox cars? (My personal favorite: Is Everything a Metaphor?) Do you attempt to turn everything you see or do into a metaphor?

Or is it just me?

Some days I can’t tell whether my little blogging habit has heightened my awareness of life, or simply turned me into a self-conscious, self-absorbed jerk.

When I am engaged in something that demands my complete attention, like work, tutoring, or talking with my friends and family, the “writer switch” is off. I don’t start  composing accounts of those experiences until later, if ever.

Any activity that requires less than complete focus can trigger the condition: washing dishes, walking the dog, driving anywhere alone.  (Not that it  gets me anywhere; you should see my drafts folder.)

Fortunately, I don’t go through the day narrating it in my head: “I walk briskly into World Market, intent in finding the green tea I like, and wondering again why Trader Joe’s doesn’t carry it. I love Trader Joe’s…I pause, momentarily distracted by the seasonal display at the entrance. Wait- I have things to do. Back to business.  The heels of my boots resonate against the concrete floor as I grab the tea, along with a bottle of ginger syrup I hadn’t intended to buy.  Next, I’ll  head to my store, to pick up the quilt I forgot to buy at the end of  my last shift. Checking out, I decide to drop by the garden department at Lowes’s for pansies to plant by the mailbox.  Or should I go to Home Depot?…”

If it ever comes to that, I may have to abandon writing altogether.

George Lakoff

George Lakoff has retired as Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is now Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society (

Greggory Miller

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