Posted by Liam on 11/22/05
My then-two-year-old (I hate isn’t-my-toddler-cute stories, too, but hang in there), the first time we installed her in one of those bike seats above the rear tire of daddy’s bike, was terrified. And she’s not very terrifiable. It took a block or so of her desperately hanging on before the concept took hold, and as we picked up speed and the wind finally started weaving through her helmeted hair, she suddenly shouted, “Sing with me, boys!” And we were off.
So think of the blog as a bike and me as a two-year-old and hectoring emails from the Old Hag’s proprietriess (“why haven’t you guest blogged anything recently, jerk? I’m paying you, aren’t I?” [She’s not.])–well think of her emails to me as the wind in my hair, and here I am, off and singing, naturally enough, about metaphor.
Let’s stop at the crosswalk first, though, and clarify my whole guesting thing. It’s not so much that Lizzie is out/away/staying in North Dakota Holiday Inns, as she was the last time we caretook this blog. She’s still around, but we’ve divvied up the world. She will cover: real estate, acts profane, words profane, funny SPAM, and herself. I will cover: metaphor, acts literary, acts of the apostles, things Milwaukee, and herself, although in this case, herself will refer to one of my two smaller daughters.
Lizzie has also asked me to tee-up the world’s richest metaphor prize, amount TBD, and offer a few nominations. Happy to.
> Best metaphor/simile from a Canadian poet: “Rather, I should say the book started in my front hall on October 24, 2000 when I lay on my belly thrashing like a beached Cut-throat trout, my mouth full of blood and the crystal threads of vodka…” from Patrick Lane in Bookninja. What I like about this is that, yes, of course, you usually can’t swing a fish without hitting a bad metaphor, but what makes this work is the blood, and then those “crystal threads.” Tingly perfect.
> Best unlinkable, unforgettable image: from a 1990 restaurant review I read, never forgot, and recently discovered I’d liked so much that I’d packed in the bottom of a box which has made five moves with us. It appeared in the ill-fated, pre-Time Out New York, and altogether great publication, Seven Days. The author–whose name I’ll go hunting through my basement for–described the restaurant as being “suffused with an orange/pink glow, the kind of light you associate with loosely-planned vacations.” Yum.
> Best reference to Miss Aluminum, which isn’t quite a metaphor, or maybe it is: “…I remember that Moore shook her silver bracelets a few times, and that she answered one question from the audience by informing us that she was speaking as a former Miss Aluminum…” from Richard McCann, over at The Happy Booker, where a happy few are engaged in the desperate endeavor of saving one of DC’s loveliest independent bookstores, Chapters. (For additional procrastinating fun, try googling up the source of Miss Aluminum, and find out how many people out there just plain miss aluminum–bats, roofs, and more. So much sadness, so little foil.)
> Best completely unfair, but devastating, and perfect, and bingo, I’ve gotten us back around to this post’s headline metaphor/simile: “Which may be why Rumsfeld’s military, as of late September, had assigned just 1,000 Marines to cover the western half of the 376-mile border with Syria. Picture five major college marching bands stretched over the distance between Washington and Trenton, N.J.” from David Von Drehle in the Washington Post. What’s great here is not just that tweaky little word “major”–re-read it, that’s key–but the DC to Trenton bit. If you’ve ever ridden the train from DC past Trenton to NYC, you’ll know why he picked that span.
Now, then: cue apartment-hunting post. Rest of you: back to work.