I played a metaphor game with a writing class, once-upon-a-time, taken from a text I was using by an author named Rohrback. I can’t remember what the author might have had in mind, but what we did was to play with the metaphoric possibilities of a simple concept. While my students were writing, here’s what I did with the phrase “My mind is . . .”
Examine a Cliche
- My mind is a sieve – – yes, I had a brain aneurysm a few years ago and it feels like some of the facts it used to hold have leaked out.
Explore some Originals
- My mind is a humming-bird — moving quickly but with little significant purpose: food, food, food, food . . .
- My mind is a tangle of weeds – – nothing in there is worth keeping, it just goes on thriving without any help or care or guidance and with no apparent good or beauty.
- My mind is written in invisible ink – – the kind where you have to see it under a special light or brushed over with a specific powder. I know there is all kinds of stuff there, but what comes out surprises me. I can’t count on it. Sometimes I find I’m wandering in my ideas, or I come up with long-forgotten stuff, or I have a bright hole where a piece of information used to be and the penny is gone. So does this imply that somebody else holds the powder or controls the light. I sure don’t have control! Is it God? Is it the person who knows and loves me best — but he is dead. And who knows where the magic powder is kept?
Negate the metaphor
- My mind is not a filing cabinet – – no matter where I tell it to put information, I can’t count on it being there when I come back.
Transfer the metaphor to someone else
- His mind digests steel pens for breakfast and lives on coffee the rest of the day.
- His mind is an old sandpit — it was wonderful when he was a child, but it has collected vermin ever since. Now it wears signs: “Beware of filth.” “May contain carcinogens.”