Tag Archives: simile

Same Difference

The Prompt:

Page 39 of Room to Write asks us to draw at least 25 comparisons between 2 different things: ¬†something that’s around you right now, and something else that’s either an object, person, or concept.

I’m going to compare the old Victorian church outside my window to marriage ūüėČ

Response:

1.  Soulful, can inspire

2.  Houses both joy and grief

3.  Immense, sometimes imposing

4.  Intricately constructed; always something new to see from a different angle

5. ¬†What appears outside is not always indicative of/relevant to what’s occurring inside

6.  Wears with time

7.  Built one brick at a time

8.  Requires faith and commitment

9.  Can be alive with song and community

10. Is empty when neglected, hollow and echoey

11. Fundamentally the same structure throughout time, yet must adapt the way it operates to change

12.  Needs to be scheduled into a busy life

13.  The lushness surrounding it periodically gets chopped away, but does grow back, and more lushly for it

14.  Is a vessel of new life, on varying levels

15.  You get out of it what you put into it

16.  Can house hypocrisy

17. ¬†Can’t please everyone all of the time

18.  Needs constant maintenance

19.  Provides sanctuary

20.  Provides education

21. ¬†Requires attentiveness—not just hearing, but listening

22.  Requires reciprocal communication

23.  Requires an open heart and mind

24.  Cannot operate without thankless hard work

25.  Comes around collecting, making you pay now and then

Reflection:

These were the first 25 things to come to mind, and I’m sure that some of them are redundant with each other—I found it getting really hard by around 18 or so! ¬†A very fun and brain-flexing activity, though, when trying to assess all that is similar between things otherwise so dissimilar to one another. ¬†Writing involves an abundance of comparisons, after all, as such devices as metaphor and simile help us communicate more vividly and stylistically, drawing parallels within the universe to illustrate the connectedness of all things.

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Fire Walk With Me

The Prompt:

Given the prevalent symbolism of fire across centuries of story-telling, page 30 of Room to Write asks us to share “a personal story, memory, or belief about fire.” ¬†Or, we can conduct a freewriting beginning with the word “fire” and let it spread from there.

Response:

FIRE. ¬†It takes life and sustains life. ¬†It guides our sight through darkness or blinds us to what else we might find in shadow, revealing and concealing. ¬†It illuminates our romance and dances upon the page. ¬†Fire attracts the moth and repels the mosquito; it swallows the air and laps up the tinder that shelters us, spiriting it away in climbing smoke, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. ¬†It licks our bones clean and sterilizes the needle, preens the prairie grasses and purifies the water. ¬†It ¬†casts menace upon our faces when lighting us from beneath, yet shrouds in angelic glow when lighting us from behind. ¬†Fire converts raw food into nourishment for our bodies, or consumes nourishment for our souls into raw emotion. ¬†It is¬†an exclamation that will clear a room within seconds or signal a gathering to share stories round its warmth. ¬†It thaws, it soothes, it burns, it chars; it can fuel our hope or ignite our dread. ¬†It can whisper to us in crackles and snaps, promising safety and comfort in a cold, barren landscape, or it can hiss at us like wind against our eardrums or a stampede rumbling down the hillside to crush us. ¬†Fire is an element embracing our passions, sweeping exponentially in our lust or our anger until it sizzles into dowsing foam or, when¬†there’s nothing more upon which it can feed, coughs its smoldering death rattle as glowing cinders close their eyes on a bed of black.

Reflection:

Ah, this prompt brought me back to my teaching days, when fire was so often imagery to analyzeI’ve actually used this exact same activity in class so that students could reflect on what connotations fire held for them. ¬†And, as I can see above, I personally muse over the dualities of fire in all its functions and figurative implications.

This dichotomy is evident in Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, in which fire goes from being a symbol of a romantic love to that of recklessness:

“O! she doth teach the torches to burn bright.” – Romeo commenting on Juliet’s beauty

“These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume.” – The Friar commenting on R&J’s impetuous actions

In just writing about it above, I found how naturally anthropomorphism came, describing fire in terms of carrying out human/animal actions—e.g., “laps up,” “licks,” “preens,” “whisper,” “coughs,” etc. ¬†This immediately brings to mind the figurative and descriptive language William Golding employed to depict fire in Lord of the Flies:
“Smoke was rising here and there among the creepers that festooned the dead or dying trees. ¬†As they watched, a flash of fire appeared at the root of one wisp, and then the smoke thickened. ¬†Small flames stirred at the trunk of a tree and crawled away through leaves and brushwood, dividing and increasing. ¬†One patch touched a tree trunk and scrambled up like a bright squirrel. ¬†The smoke increased, sifted, rolled outwards. ¬†The squirrel leapt on the wings of the wind and clung to another standing tree, eating downwards. Beneath the dark canopy of leaves and smoke the fire laid hold on the forest and began to gnaw. ¬†Acres of black and yellow smoke rolled steadily toward the sea. ¬†At the sight of the flames and the irresistible course of the fire, the boys broke into shrill, excited cheering. ¬†The flames, as though they were a kind of wild life, crept as a jaguar creeps on its belly toward a line of birch-like saplings that fledged an outcrop of the pink rock. ¬†They flapped at the first of the trees, and the branches grew a brief foliage of fire. ¬†The heart of flame leapt nimbly across the gap between the trees and then went swinging and flaring along the whole row of them. ¬†Beneath the capering boys a quarter of a mile square of forest was savage with smoke and flame. ¬†The separate noises of the fire merged into a drum-roll that seemed to shake the mountain.”
The similes and anthropomorphism above create such vivid sensory detail; this is the kind of descriptive writing to aspire for.
Okay then, your turn.  Does fire bear a personal meaning for you?  What images, emotions, or beliefs does it represent?


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