tell it to me tuesday – metaphors and similes

In the mood for irony? On these pages, I write and I write. I even write about writing. But in the real world, I am so afraid to call myself a writer. It makes me feel as though I’m playing dress-up with my mother’s clothes and I’ve got the lipstick all smeared out past the edges of my lips. I’ve got a frock on but it doesn’t fit and looks rather queer, hanging in frumpy layers past my knees.

About a year ago (good god, it’s already been a year, shame on me) a friend of mine and I made a pact that we would call ourselves by what we truly were: artists. She, a dancer. Me, a writer. We made a deal with each other that we would have the courage to speak our hearts about ourselves. But here we are a year later, and I am still afraid.

When I left for our cruise a couple of weeks ago, I reminded myself of this promise. I said to myself, “When I meet people, I will tell them I am a writer. No excuses. For what do I have to lose? I will never see them after I get off the boat.”

One person asked me what I do. Just one, and still I faltered. I said I was a writer, but when she asked me what I write, I stumbled. I talked about my passion as if it were driftwood, a piece of boring slate grey dead limb pieces. And the conversation stopped. Talk about it that way, why would she be interested? I’d go numb too.

And as I heard the stupid words tumble from my mouth, I felt ashamed. Like I’d been caught with the silly frock and smeared red lipstick. I saw disappointment in her eyes, but I think it was just a mirror of my own.

I know the only thing that keeps me from fitting in the frock as if I belong and wearing that lipstick with grace is courage. In my head I know this. But then my heart whispers: sometimes people say they like my words, but would they really buy them? So I don’t tug too hard on the lace-lined dress, for I think it might unravel in my hands.

This week’s challenge: Metaphors and similes. Let’s play around with making up our own metaphors and similes. Create your own metaphor or simile, then write something using it. Link it up in the comments section below and please do stop and visit others’ entries to spread a little love.

Next week’s challenge: I don’t know about you, but I’m addicted to adjectives and adverbs. But I hear writing can be strengthened and made more precise without qualifying words. So this week’s challenge is to trim the fat. Write anything you like. Then go back and eliminate all the adverbs (if you’re extra daring, you can try adjectives too…using color is okay though). Erase anything that ends in -ly. Then rewrite those parts/phrases to mean what you meant, without using the adverb.

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7 thoughts on “tell it to me tuesday – metaphors and similes

  1. It's hard to "own" something like that. Asked, if you are a professor – tell them what you teach. Asked, if you are a doctor – tell them your specialty. So what do you write? You write historical fiction, freelance, from the heart, to inspire. These are your creations – own it, baby!

    And here's my entry this week.
    http://www.livinginagirlsworld.com/2010/07/tell-i

  2. Oh thank you! That's really very sweet of you to say. I suppose it just feels awkward to me because I haven't really published yet. So I feel I don't deserve the title, or something like that. But I suppose I just gotta think that being a writer can be true with or without publication…just like one can be a cook and not work in a restaurant.

    Yeah, this assignment turned out to be harder than I thought too. I couldn't think of any metaphors. Nothing worked until I turned it around and started writing and then inserted the metaphors. I think after next week, I might go back to some word or theme prompts again. :)

  3. Here's the thing I've found when one says one is a 'writer.' People automatically dismiss you if you are not a 'professional writer,' one that earns money doing it. And that is where my problem lies. That is why one is afraid. I, too, feel like you. My heart is that of a writer. I AM A WRITER. But not by profession. I have a WIP still in the works that I diligently work on; I write beautiful words that strike a chord with many on my blog; my passion is in words. All of this makes me a writer. But then the, "who do you write for?" or, "what have you published?" comes in that one must somehow have an answer to. So, yes, that is where the fear is based but we have to overlook that. We just have to keep on saying it until we are comfortable with it and BELIEVE it, and then, and only then shall it become manifest destiny.

    So let's you and I and every other non-professional writer that feels their heart is of a wordsmith artist, proclaim they are writers.

    • Yes it's true. It's a sense that only publication will bring you legitimacy. But then, once published, I imagine there's always more: number of books sold, book sales, awards, best sellers lists, and on and on. Even having published, some writers don't make enough to live on. Not every great writer is published and not every published author is great. Everyone must start somewhere. And I guess the only difference between being a writer every day and owning it is seeing yourself as one.

      Anyway, it's not much more awkward than my current response to "what do you do": a grad student finishing up a PhD. A lot of people don't know what to say to that one either. I met up with a group of friends the other day, and one asked how I've been. I said, "Oh just been busy finishing up the last bit of school before I'm done." And such a sneer crossed her face and utter disdain, "You're still in school?" Implying that I'm 30 and still working on a BA. "Um…yeah, for the PhD," I said. It wiped the sneer off her face, but then she felt stupid and didn't know what to say. All in all, it was a loser of a conversation.

      I guess the lesson here for me is try not to be a jackass when asking people about their professions. And people won't see me as a writer until I start telling them I am one. For, how else would they know, right?