Notice the Metaphors

The Tardis, Canberra by russellstreet

This is another writing exercise from Dinty W. Moore. His instructions are to find a place where you can sit comfortably and take in a wide vista. As you sit, take in as much detail from the scene before you and for everything you notice say, “That reminds me of….”

Moore writes that a metaphor is “for spurring us along so that we might see the world in new ways.” (Crafting the Personal Essay, p. 44-45)

Your list of metaphors may include 30 to 40 ideas, and you will discard all of them except the one that hits the mark. When that one idea hits your solar plexus, start writing and see where it leads you.

Here’s my list and where the exercise led me:

  • An eagle soaring alone high in the sky all alone reminds me that I can be free all by myself.
  • It also reminds me that some things are worth doing even if they don’t clothe me, feed me, or protect me.
  • A boy raking debris out of the garden reminds me that skill and efficiency are the gifts of age.
  • A child asleep on the couch reminds me that anytime is a good time to rest if I’m tired.
  • A car rolling backward down a steep hill reminds me that sometimes we can try as hard was we might and we still have to start back at square one.
  • That same car reminds me that dreams always have a truth to share.
  • A plant upside down in the sink reminds me that bad things happen all the time, and it’s rarely a crisis.
  • A blanket in a heap on the floor reminds me that what’s important to me isn’t always important to my children.
  • A pair of candlesticks on top of the TV reminds me of grandparents lost to death.
  • A pair of throw pillows remind me of shopping with Armina for home decor in Redding.
  • Amalia the bear reminds me of the importance of separating myself from my emotions and my thoughts.
  • A discarded pot tumbling down the street in the wind reminds me that things outlive their usefulness and become obsolete.

We shouldn’t leave them to rattle around in our lives. They cause distraction, just as the sound of that pot arrested me on my walk. I had to look back, and small as it was I had to involve others in its retrieval and removal. Had my son thrown it away as soon as it had surrendered its contents, I would have walked unencumbered by distraction.

It was a home to a living thing one moment, and the next moment it was trash causing a ruckus in the road.

I think of my possessions. How many things do I own that are arresting my forward movement because I’ve failed to throw them out after they served their purpose?

Do I really need a copy of that bill I paid last month? Couldn’t I get a copy fi I needed one for whatever reason?

It sits on my desk, cluttering up the space, while simultaneously sitting on the PUDs hard drive taking up no space. Meanwhile, every time I see it I’m reminded that money is tight.

I lose steam. I lose perspective. I lose momentum and motivation. I sit down to contemplate why I’m not sitting at my desk writing instead of pondering that old bill that obscures my keyboard with its black and green lettering.

When I get up next, I’m going to recycle that bill and all the others I paid last week. Their moment has passed. They’ve served to remind mew of what I owe, and if I discard them now, they will stop rattling down the pathways of my memory causing a ruckus.

I will know they are paid and I will see my keyboard inviting me to sit awhile and write or research. And if I sit and write, then when the next bill comes in the mail I will have the money to pay it.

And then I can throw that bill away, too.

What did you see? What did it remind you of?


Written by: Angela Magnotti Andrews

Unique Careers

©2010 Yann Duarte

People I’ve known with unique careers:

  • Dad – Antiques, Horse Training, Jewelry, Bamboo, Circus
  • Grandpa & Grandma – Airplanes
  • Uncle Eric – Locksmith
  • Gene – Softball fields; shot at the big leagues
  • Armina – Acting/directing/acting coach
  • Joseph – Cabinet maker
  • Mike B. – Wood crafts
  • Scott Hammond – EMT
  • Mario – Firefighter
  • Tiona – Professional barista
  • Grandma – Word processor when personal computing was very new
  • Michael – Online jewelry sales

Who have you known with an unusual career?


Written by: Angela Magnotti Andrews
Instructions: Make a list of people you’ve know who have had unusual jobs/careers.
Writing Exercise Source: Crafting the Personal Essay, by Dinty W. Moore (Writer’s Digest Books, 2010)

My Mom and Dads

Full of Colour by JLK_254

Dinty W. Moore, who wrote Crafting the Personal Essay peppers his book with an amazing array of writing exercises and writing prompts. In this exercise, I’ve written down a list under the following memory categories: Cars My Dad Drove; Women My Dad Loved; Joseph’s Home Improvements; and Mom’s Routines.

Cars My Dad Drove

  • Mercedes
  • Jeep Cherokee
  • Honda Accord

Women My Dad Loved

  • My mom
  • Aloa
  • Woman from NJ
  • Woman from Internet
  • Melissa
  • Lisa
  • Simonne

Joseph’s Home Improvements

  • Drilling down silverware trays
  • Drilling shut the windows
  • Locking the TV
  • Kitchen remodel
  • Cubby hole

Mom’s Routines

  • Homework on the couch (textbooks, highlighter, TV)
  • Homework at Gladmoor Park (up to knees rule, seaweed story, picnics, sodas)
  • Eating out when running errands
  • Cutting veggies, making food (not cooking), cleaning kitchen
  • Paying bills at table
  • Making mochas
  • Reading on porch swing after work
  • Inspections (which continued well after I was married)
  • Saturday morning chores (with music)
  • Dancing in the dining room with Joseph
  • TV and cross-stitching/games
  • Gardening (wheelbarrow loads to white Toyota truck; truck past expiration date for one purpose only; parking strip; Gene’s garden; white garden; bunny poop; veggie gardens)
  • Teasing – table & bathroom
  • Wake-up rituals (well into college and sometimes even now)
  • Morning Bible study time
  • Hair and makeup routine
  • Movies and foot rubs
  • Grocery shopping at Albertson’s (checking receipts)
  • Always having an answer (“I don’t know” is a 4-letter word)

Even with this list, my mom comes to life in my memories.

What do you remember about your mom and dad?