Topical Metaphors



One of the writing skill that I am impressed with when I see it is a well formed, well placed metaphor. The sad thing is when I see an ill conceived metaphor (which I am too often guilty of creating), I get annoyed.

I call well conceived metaphors ‘Topical Metaphors’ because the metaphors fits the context on as many levels as possible.

Imagine a setting, in an home, entire family is there. Grandparents, children, grandchildren, pets, great food. It is Thanksgiving. The meal is being consumed. The conversation turns to a recent federal election. Most in the family avoid the topic, but a few engage it, with differing points of view. The conversation becomes heated.

In the ensuing argument, someone says to another ‘You’re as dumb as a brick.” A cliche to be sure but think about it as a metaphor. It is way out of place. The brick has nothing to do with the setting, the meal. Would not it not be better if the metaphor read, ‘Grandpa grabbed his knife, pointing at the turkey, shouting at his son, ‘You’re head’s as stuffed as that turkey’.

Now, admittedly, not a great metaphor, it could be written better. That aside, it is fits the setting. The son’s head is filled with nonsense, and the turkey is as dead as his politics.

The metaphor is deeper, more meaningful, because it fits the setting. It is topical.

Gods and Goddesses in Embyro

Imagine if you can a time, eons ago beyond present memory, when you existed in some form other than you do at this moment, sitting where you are, reading this blog. Nothing more than a thought. You drifted amongst the solar wind endlessly, aware only of yourself and nothing else. You were utterly alone.

Then you sensed something, something distant and far away. A light, perhaps. A light in the complete darkness calling to you. You are drawn to it without seeing it.

As you move forward, your mind expands. Your senses find life. You feel, see, hear. Knowledge floods your consciousness. You discover wonders beyond imagination. Stars, planets, creation.

And you realize a truth. You are nothing. Nothing more than an empty seed, wandering without direction or purpose, until the light reached out to you. You are worthless by comparison. 

Emotion overwhelms you and yet, you sense you can became like the light itself. But there is danger. If you try and fail, you become less than you are in the attempt.

Is it worth the risk?

For intelligences like you, who accept the challenge fraught with risk. The sharing of such power with any not capable of restraint is disastrous. A testing place is created,to find who is worthy and who is not. Who will be given the power and welcomed into the council of the Gods. 

You accept the price. 

Your journey continues. Your evolution involves many changes. You struggle is seemingly endless.

Finally, when you are ready (or so you believe) the final test arrives. All memory is stripped away and you find yourself where you are, right now, at this very moment. A mere mortal on a planet, one of countless planets the light has created.

You do not know  your very purpose or why you even exist. You are as you were in the beginning. Alone again, for the first time it seems. 

You are, nevertheless, here.

This power, this control, is at your fingertips. Only death separates you from your goal.

What will you do to obtain it?

What will do you do with such power?

Will you condemn or pardon?

Whether or not you achieve what you set out to accomplish is revealed in your choices.

What did you do today, with the power you already have?

The Fat Little Pastors

Many years ago, I watched Cabaret, with Liza Minelli, Joel Grey and Michael York. In the musical, the song “Money” stood out because of a single verse that resonated with me. It was a time in my life where I did not feel I had enough to even put food on the table for my family.

If you haven’t any coal in the stove
And you freeze in the winter
And you curse on the wind
At your fate
When you haven’t any shoes
On your feet
And your coat’s thin as paper
And you look thirty pounds
When you go to get a word of advice
From the fat little pastor
He will tell you to love evermore.
But when hunger comes a rap,
Rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat at the window…

At the window…

[EMCEE (spoken)]
Who’s there?

[GIRLS (spoken)]

[EMCEE (Spoken)]
Ooh, hunger!

See how love flies out the door…

One of my angst at the time was coping with the concept of those who have passing judgment on those who have not. I utterly detest those who have what they need (let alone want) advising those who are struggling to not lose faith, to work hard, pray, fight the good fight and eventually their dreams will come true. Most dreams do not come true.

I noticed, from my particular personal point of view, how easy this advice must come from them. Had they ever struggled in their life? Had they ever been without? How dare they, sitting before their well ladened table, consuming their fatted calf and drinking wine, while I crawl beneath them, licking crumbs off the floor. 

I still cringe when such advised is offered from the fat little pastors.

Separating the Wheat from the Terrors


In context of the Brussels attack today, as well as the immigration conduit leading to the continuing onslaught of terrorism, I hurt. I am torn and bewildered. The problem, as I see it, is how to separate the actual terrorists from those fleeing terrorism. We have all seen the images, the Facebook memes condemning those escaping the carnage in their homeland. Some in the media (and out) would have us believe all these ravaged people are really terrorist. Every. One. Of. Them. It seems impossible.

While I am naive, I am not so naive as to accept that belief. I realize there are many immigrants who are really terrorist using fear to spread their hate. I do believe that. But how does one, anyone, determine that eighteen year old young man clutching a starving child is truly what we fear? How do we separate the wheat from the tares?

I do not like waxing religious. I have traveled that path. I have been (and still am to some degree) an apologist for my own faith. That is my choice. That said, I have learned one thing that answers this conundrum for me.

It comes from the Book of Mormon.  Many of you may not accept that tome as scripture (I do), but please go along with me on this for a moment. It does not matter if the Bok of Mormon is scripture or not in the context I am writing about. It does not matter if one is Christian or not. What matters is what happened. I am considering a single resolution, taught in the Book of Mormon that I see as the only thing that will solve this Gordian Knot.

In the Book of Mormon, there is a prophet called Alma. He was the chief judge of the nation to which he belonged. He could not control what his society was doing to themselves. No laws seemed to work as all laws were being ignored (sound familiar?). The people were so consumed in pride, in their avarice, they were destroying themselves. Hatred seemed to rule.

So Alma took a drastic step. He resigned his position of leadership and took to the field to preach Christ. You can read about it here.

Again, I do not like to preach. And I accept the posit that religion, any religion or none for that matter, is not needed for a person to be good. I agree with that. But I long for the place where there are no laws because no laws are needed. I see Christ as the only answer, the only response. Or at least, Christ like behavior.

Yet, in a world past feeling, I know I will never see that in my life.

The Dementors

You have met them, at least one of them. Those dementors hiding in your family, in your social circle, perhaps at your employment. The one, evil soul, who sucks your soul away. I pray there is only one in your life.

These bullies, and there are more than two of them hunting me every workday, prey upon those they feel are less worthy and filled with fear. You know those they hunt: the kind, the good, those who simply want to live their lives in peace.

To confront them is unimaginable to them. They are rarely confronted in their life. They intimidate those around them, insisting life is according their definitions.

They are the strong, the intelligent, the rich, the beautiful.

You are the weak, the stupid, the poor, the ugly.

They are above, before and beyond you.

And when you have had enough, when the social filter you possess that governs your behavior is so dirty and strained from their behavior, and you finally lose control, and your rail against the tyranny on display because you have had enough and cannot take more, it is your fault.

You are the one out of control, you are the one who is in need of anger management. You are the evil one.

These dementors do not get it. Empathy is a concept beyond comprehension. They possess no frame of reference by which they can understand those beneath their self appointed station in life.

You are wrong.

They are right.

I would rather be wrong than be one of them.

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