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The Yankee clipper is under her sky-sails, she cuts the sparkle and scud, My eyes settle the land, I bend at her prow or shout joyously from the deck. She owns the fine house by the rise of the bank, She hides handsome and richly drest aft the blinds of the window. Which of the young men does she like the best?
Ah the homeliest of them is beautiful to her. Where are you off to, lady? Dancing and laughing along the beach came the twenty-ninth bather, The rest did not see her, but she saw them and loved them.
The young men float on their backs, their white bellies bulge to the sun, they do not ask who seizes fast to them, They do not know who puffs and declines with pendant and bending arch, They do not think whom they souse with spray. Blacksmiths with grimed and hairy chests environ the anvil, Each has his main-sledge, they are all out, there is a great heat in the fire. I behold the picturesque giant and love him, and I do not stop there, I go with the team also.
In me the caresser of life wherever moving, backward as well as forward sluing, To niches aside and junior bending, not a person or object missing, Absorbing all to myself and for this song.
Oxen that rattle the yoke and chain or halt in the leafy shade, what is that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life. My tread scares the wood-drake and wood-duck on my distant and day-long ramble, They rise together, they slowly circle around.
The press of my foot to the earth springs a hundred affections, They scorn the best I can do to relate them. What is commonest, cheapest, nearest, easiest, is Me, Me going in for my chances, spending for vast returns, Adorning myself to bestow myself on the first that will take me, Not asking the sky to come down to my good will, Scattering it freely forever.
I do not laugh at your oaths nor jeer you; The President holding a cabinet council is surrounded by the great Secretaries, On the piazza walk three matrons stately and friendly with twined arms, The crew of the fish-smack pack repeated layers of halibut in the hold, The Missourian crosses the plains toting his wares and his cattle, As the fare-collector goes through the train he gives notice by the jingling of loose change, The floor-men are laying the floor, the tinners are tinning the roof, the masons are calling for mortar, In single file each shouldering his hod pass onward the laborers;.
My brother nodded in excitement. Ill go get it started! He ran off, probably to go turn on the Wii. His latest obsession. I turned back to Will with a sigh, flopping onto the couch.
I dont know how you can put up with all his energy all the time, I started, watching as Will took a seat on the recliner across from me. Im not that old, he pointed out. I still feel bad for leaving him with you all the time. Doesnt he distract you when you have to write?
Will shook his head. Not at all. Hes easily entertained. And you shouldnt feel bad. Im the one who offered to watch him when you have to work. I dont see why you just wont let me adopt you two I smiled, rolling my eyes. I can support the two of us.
You do enough. You watch Elliot almost all the time, you home-school me, and you cook dinner for us almost every night. Which is basically like Im your father anyway, Will pointed out with a grin. Think about it.
You could go to normal school again and I shook my head, cutting him off. I like my life. Really, I responded, looking him straight in the eye. After losing my parents I realized family is whats most important. I want Elliot and I to stay together. And not going to high school, well the part about not having a lot of friends kind of sucks, but at least I dont have to deal with the drama.
And I dont have to wake up early all the time either. He grinned at me. I like your attitude. You say that all the time, I pointed out, a smile slipping onto my face. But its true, he insisted. Even after all the tragic events in your life, you managed to not only stay as positive as possible through all of the ordeals, but after your parents died you didnt hesitate to drop out of high school and start working so you and Elliot wouldnt be separated.
Its very admirable, and not many people could do it. I blushed, clearing my throat. Its not that big of a deal And now youre being modest. I scowled at Will, crossing my arms. I need to start looking for a job right away. He gave me a worried look. Are you okay with this months rent?
I can pay if you I have it, I interrupted, shaking my head. Thank you for the offer, but Im not going to take your money. But So, has your editor asked about your manuscript lately? I asked, trying to change the topic. Wills face instantly paled. Unfortunately, yes. She wants it by next Monday. Im not even close to being done! I laughed out loud. Will was always like this waiting until the last second to finish his manuscript so it could be turned in to his editor.
He was a writer, and a good one at that. Thats how he managed to look after Elliot for me all the time: He worked at home. Well keep working on it, I urged him, smirking. We dont want a repeat of last time The last time his editor was here when the manuscript wasnt finished I thought I was going to witness a murder.
Kate, his editor, had screamed at him for five minutes straight about responsibilities and deadlines. It was actually very entertaining. I chuckled at the memory. Will pursed his lips at me, guessing what I was thinking about. There wont be a repeat, he stated stubbornly. Ill get it done in time. Sure you will. I will! I ignored him, getting up, and walking over to the computer desk.
I sat down in the swivel chair, spinning around to face Wills laptop. After pressing the on button, I leaned back and waited for it to load. A few seconds later Will appeared, hovering over me. I questioned, looking up at him. What are you doing? Im going to apply for a few jobs, I told him, typing in his password, and logging in. The sooner I get one the better. I swiveled the chair around to look at Elliot, who was frowning at me.
I thought we were playing! I made a face. I didnt have time to play with him. Turning to Will, I gave him a pleading look. He smiled and rolled his eyes. Pig is kind of busy, so why dont I play with you instead? Dont call me Pig! I called at the pair of them as they walked away. I heard Will laugh in response and I scowled. That nickname was so unfitting! I didnt eat that much anymore Okay, I thought with sigh, that was a lie.
I probably ate too much But I wasnt even fat! I turned back to the computer again, gazing at the screen. Forest green eyes appeared in the reflection, and I stared at them for a moment, watching my pensive face. My eyes were the only trait that my mom passed on. Every time I saw them, I couldnt help but to remember her. The desktop background appeared, making my reflection disappear. I waited a moment before clicking the Firefox symbol. I brought up Google, frowning as I thought of place to apply to first.
Tapping the keys absentmindedly, I finally decided I would start with the most known stores. Walmart was up first. It was better than nothing. Two grueling hours later, I had applied to six different stores. Hopefully ones that would hire seventeen-year-. Not many stores did that though. The bakery had been my exception, but now I had been fired from it Geez mom, dad. Couldnt you have just been rich and make things easier?
I joked out loud, gazing up at the ceiling. It had almost been a year since their death. Some people called me cold for being so optimistic after losing both of my parents, but they were wrong. I missed my parents like crazy; no one could understand how much I missed them.
But I knew they wouldnt want me becoming a depressed person. I didnt want to be one either. And so I became who I was today. Happy-go-lucky, optimistic Harley Allen. A character list is at the end of the chapter. They're who is playing who for the watty awards on wattpad, but a few people asked me to post them here as well! My ears perked up and I turned my answering machines volume up a few notches. Hopefully this was a good message.
Were sorry, but Im afraid we are looking for someone a little older and more experienced for Scowling, I slammed my finger down on the delete button, not bothering to hear the rest. That was the fourth store to call and say they were looking for someone older and more experienced. How experienced did you have to be to hit a few stupid buttons on a cash register?
I had seen teenagers younger than me working there! I swiveled around in my chair, glaring at my brother. I told you not to I trailed off when I noticed the solemn expression on his face. My gaze softened and I stood up, walking towards him.
He sniffled and rubbed his eyes as I approached. I knelt down beside him and put my hands on his little shoulders. Whats wrong, El? I had a dream about mom and dad, he relayed to me, sniffling again. Pig, I want to see them. Oh, Elliot, I sighed, gathering him in my arms. Ive told you, you cant see them anymore. Because theyve gone somewhere better? I nodded, rubbing his back soothingly. Yes, but dont forget they are always watching over you.
I miss them, he told me, sounding like he was about to cry again. I miss them too, I responded, my chest constricting. But we need to stay strong for them, okay? No more crying, okay? Sometimes when Elliot started crying, I ended up crying too, and it was just one big mess. But so far, I had gone two months without crying over my parents death. Elliot still cried once in awhile, but that was to be expected. My mom had been right; he was too young for this.
Elliot nodded against me. I pulled away from him and poked his forehead. He frowned at me for a moment, putting a hand to his forehead. I heard you were on fire, he commented. I raised an eyebrow at him. Im not on fire Will was talking on the phone and said you got on fire. Now I was even more confused. No I never got nor caught on fire. I dont know what hes talking about. What else did Will say? Your job? Elliot asked, more than stated. I said with realization. He said I was fired to someone on the phone?
Elliot nodded, his eyes widening fearfully. So you were on fire? I shook my head quickly. No, no, being fired is different than being on fire. Elliot looked confused and I sighed. I didnt have the patience to explain everything to him, so I decided to change the subject. Forget about it. Are you hungry? You slept in rather late today, I commented, leading him to the kitchen. I want eggs, he told me, climbing onto a chair at the table.
Just eggs? Alright, I responded, walking over to the fridge and opening it. I searched the fridge until my eyes landed on the egg carton.
Pulling it out along with the milk, I placed them on the kitchen table. Elliot watched me as I went to the cupboard and took out a bowl to scramble the eggs in. Want to crack an egg? I asked, seeing the solemn look still on his face. Elliot immediately smiled, nodding his head eagerly. I handed him the egg, and hoped that he wouldnt leave half the eggshell in the bowl like last time.
To my surprise, he carefully cracked the egg on the side of the bowl instead of slamming it down like he usually did. Only one little bit of eggshell fell into the yolk. Elliot grinned at me and I couldnt help but smile back.
I ruffled his hair. Good job. I cracked the other three eggs, letting the yolk drop into the bowl. Elliot poured the milk in, and I added a few dashes of paprika. I had Elliot start mixing the eggs as I went to the cabinet and pulled out a frying pan.
I put it on the stove and lit it, grabbing the eggs from Elliot and mixing them quickly before pouring them into the pan. Pig, you make the best eggs! Elliot complimented, digging his spoon into his breakfast when it was finished.
Dont call me Pig, I responded in an exasperated voice. My name is Harley. Pig is Pig! I groaned in frustration. There was no getting through to him. Hopefully he would outgrow it in a few years. I returned my attention back to my eggs and placed a forkful in my mouth, chewing slowly. I had to admit; I was a pretty good cook.
Which was probably why I used to work in a bakery. My thoughts consumed me as I ate, a frown now appearing on my face. I needed to find more places to apply at. A week had already passed since I had been fired, and I was just wasting my time by applying and being told I was too young to be hired.
A knock at my door brought me out of my reverie. I glanced at Elliot, who hadnt seemed to hear it.
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I slid of my stool, walking to the front door. Hesitating for only a moment, I reached out and pulled open my door. My jaw dropped when I realized who was standing at my door.
He gave me a sheepish grin and held up one of his hands. I cried, flinging myself at my mothers brother. Its been so long! Too long, he responded with a chuckle, patting my back.
I see that you are doing well. How is Elliot? Good, I responded, pulling away. Hes in the kitchen eating right now. Come in! What are you even doing here? My uncle followed me back inside my house and I shut the door behind him, gesturing for him to follow me to the kitchen. Want some toast? I offered, stepping into the kitchen with him. Im good, he responded, his eyes locking onto Elliot. Oh, he sure has grown. Elliot looked up at his uncle, his little eyes nearly bulging out of his sockets.
I watched as Elliot came running at my uncle. Rob laughed, scooping up Elliot in his arms. How have you been? Elliot responded. Thats good, my uncle responded, smiling. Im glad to hear it. We made our way back to the kitchen table, where we all took a seat.
Elliot began to eat his breakfast again while I focused my attention solely on my uncle. He cleared his throat, pulling at the tie on his neck. I heard you were fired from your job. A sheepish smile appeared on my face and I scratched my head. Er, yeah And Ive also been told that every place youve been sending applications into has been refusing you?
Ah yes, I muttered, my eyes now downcast. Apparently Im too young, and I should be in high school. My uncle chuckled. You should be in high school though. Will teaches me a lot!
I protested, frowning at him. You know that! I bet Im smarter than most seventeen year olds these days. Youre probably right about that, he responded, a smile crossing his face. Yeah, so I dont understand why even Super Saver wont hire me. They hire everyone! My uncle frowned, tapping his finger on the table.
Elliot copied him almost immediately and I sighed. Dont teach him things that will get annoying, I scolded, sending Elliot a warning glare.
Both males stopped immediately, sending each other sheepish grins. I rested my elbow on the table, plopping my chin onto my hand. So what did you come here today for?
I asked my uncle, who was fiddling with his fingers.
To offer you a job. My ears perked up at that. I watched him curiously to see if he was joking. He returned my look with a serious one. A smile slipped onto my face. Are you serious? I want to help you out in any way I can, he told me, running a hand through his hair, since you refuse to live with me. Youre a busy man, I dont want to be a hassle, I responded, rolling my eyes. Weve been over this. And I like living like this, believe it or not. I know. Thats why Im going to offer you this job.
I understand you worked in a bakery at your last job, right? I nodded my head. Yep, why? The job Im going to offer you has to do with baking, my uncle said slowly, as if choosing his words carefully. A lot of baking. I responded, really intrigued now. Thats awesome! I love baking! What kind of job is it?
A bakery again? My uncle cleared his throat, looking steadily at the wall, as if it was he was talking to instead of me. Its actually at a high school. I responded, frowning the slightest bit. You mean like, a lunch lady? Not exactly. I glowered at him, tired of the guessing game. Rob, just get to the point.
Its a home economics class, he told me, his eyes looking directly into mine. Now I was confused. What would my job be? Helping prepare? No, my uncle started, a smirk slipping onto his face. Youd be the teacher. I blanked, looking at my uncle like he was crazy. He cleared his throat once again, beginning to tap on the table again. Elliot copied him, giggling to himself. There was a moment of silence while I tried to gather my thoughts in order to make a coherent sentence.
A teacher? At a high school? Im too young, I stated dumbly. Duh I was too young! Yes, I know that, my uncle responded with a sigh. The thing is, this place really needs to find a teacher by the end of the weekend.
But, how? Im too young so it wouldnt work out. The principal is willing to er, slightly bend the rules Theyd let a seventeen year old work? I asked dubiously, frowning again. No but theyd let a twenty-one year old work. I held in a sigh. Why couldnt my uncle be straight to the point instead of confusing me? Unless that was the point, which I highly doubt it was.
Was he trying to say I could have the job in four years? But no, that wouldnt make sense if they needed a teacher by the end of the week. Im confused, I finally admitted. My uncle ran a hand through his hair again. If you took the job, you would pretend you were a twenty-one year old. My eyes widened. But thats thats lying to society! You need a job, right?
They need a teacher and are willing to hire you. And you wont be recorded as twenty-one in the registration, so technically youd only be lying to some of the faculty and all of the students. But The pay is about seven-hundred a week. My jaw-dropped and I stared dumbfounded at my uncle. Elliot continued to tap the table with his finger, even though my uncle stopped. My uncle looked at me, his expression still serious. I know thats not as much as an average teacher makes, he told me, but you would be an extra-curricular teacher, so thats as much as they can offer No, I responded, shaking my head.
No, no, no But Harley my uncle started, a confused look appearing on his face, but I cut him off. Wait, I meant no as in that seven hundred dollars is definitely enough, I said, my eyes wide.
Thats double what I made at the bakery! My uncle relaxed slightly. So youll take the job? I wanted to scream, Yes, of course Ill take the job! Before I decided, I wanted to make sure I knew exactly what I was getting into.
Teaching to bake was a lot different than just baking. What exactly do I have to do? I questioned. My uncle smiled slightly, his green eyes lighting up.
Youll only have to teach three to four classes a day, he told me. And maybe lunch duty now and then, maybe detention too. And Im just teaching these students how to cook? Pretty much. We dropped the sewing after the last well, never mind. I cocked an eyebrow, but didnt question him. Sowing wasnt my thing anyway. Pig, Elliot said suddenly, youre a good cook. I smiled. Thanks, Eli. You like to cook? I do, I responded, mussing up his hair. Inside, the seeds are white, and tiny, like little alien capsules ready to burst in my mouth and launch the war of the worlds.
Outside the skin is better than government-grade protection, lead-lined or vacuum-sealed so that nothing disturbs the sleeping chaos within. My teeth etch the thin skin as I bite down, and for a moment I think, what's the big deal? It takes a moment for the chemical to seep through my gums, drift osmosis-like beyond the cell walls of my veins, and enter my bloodstream.
I feel the hairs in my nose spring to life, as if every molecule and pore connecting them to the bare skin of my nostrils is suddenly inflamed.
I become a cartoon, stream engine-sized whistles pulsing from my ears, smoke billowing from the drums, eyes bulging with regret. My fingers bring in backup as they reach for a glass, a beer, water, anything to rip the sizzle from the skin of my tongue. That's the last time I try to impress a boy without high heels and a tube of ruby red lipstick. The salad is naked except for the oil and vinegar drowning it until it no longer tastes of lettuce but something more tolerable.
She squeezes the lemon into her iced tea like a sailor with scurvy and mixes it in with her spoon imagining cake batter and a wooden spatula. She is embracing her new way of living, gently unfolding her napkin and draping it across her hopeful thighs.
She smells a hamburger with fries and eyes it like a junkyard dog walking past a cookout. She is interrupted by the tall thin waitress as she sets down her grapefruit and once again focuses in on her goal. I can live without sugar she prays.
Gillian Welch had a group in Nashville that met for two and a half years, every Sunday afternoon from one to four. They'd warm up with a five- minute exercise and read their results to each other. The best writing of the round would set the bar for the next round. Then another five-minute warm-up. Everyone dives a little deeper. Then ten minutes. One more ten. Then a ninety-second piece suggested by Kami Lyle — I call it a Kami-kazi: Then another five minutes to decompress from diving so deep.
And a break for munchies and conversation. Cyber Writing You can also try writing with a group over the Internet. I had a yellow slicker that smelled like my rubber boots and my boot and buckles jingled when I walked. All the cool guys left their boots open. Even though it isn't sense-bound, I like the last line, especially the tone it takes. You might want to use some tells in your object writing, but you might wait a few weeks before you do — getting really sense-bound is hard work.
You need to practice being specific and sense- bound to do it well in the context of building a song. Remember, showing is one of the most powerful ways of getting listeners involved in your song. Neither object writing nor destination writing is journaling.
It's usually about self-exploration, not so much about writing. And that's fine. But object writing and destination writing are about writing. They are a preparation for writing songs. They have a specific purpose. There are other possibilities, especially who, when, and where. In every song, you have to answer these questions: Who is talking?
Sometimes the character is pretty much you, talking either to the audience or a particular person. Sometimes it's not. Either way, keep the character in focus. What is the song about? What is the character trying to say? Be as specific as you can, using sense images that evoke something about the character. Try using the character's senses, even if the character is you. And remember, your song doesn't have to be an accurate autobiography. Never let reality get in the way of truth.
Practice using other perspectives. Your object writing can be from the perspective of an airline flight attendant, hurrying to serve drinks on a short flight. Or a volunteer at an animal rescue shelter. People watching is full of interesting possibilities. Ask yourself questions: Does she play golf? When did she learn? What was his favorite game when he was little?
Of course, you'll be drawing on your own experiences as you answer your questions. And always stay close to your senses. Sense images. I also recommend this kind of storytelling when hanging out with other writers. You might even make a special trip to the mall or the airport to exercise your powers of observation. Who did he take to his junior prom?
Does she get along with her younger sister? Take turns asking questions. There's lots of stimulation available here. That's its strength. The Wailing Wall, 42nd Street, a lake cabin, the Grand Canyon, a mountain path, the backseat of the school bus.
A-Z of English Idioms: 150 Most Common Expressions
The opportunities are endless. Maybe you can come up with a few ideas here. When an exciting image or idea drops into your object writing, mark it and save it in your file. The gem spot will be a good place to look for interesting stuff when you need stimulation. Though object writing generates nifty lyric ideas, the main purpose is stimulation, deepening the world you swim in. Over time, your senses will take you places you never would have been as you see the world more and more through your writer's eyes.
Object writing makes the art of diving automatic, a sensible habit. Your lyric writing will benefit by drawing from a unique and provocative source, and everyone will listen. I promise. Here's some food for thought. When I was in kindergarten, we got a new puppy. His name is Rusty. I put on my best sad, irresistible face, and it had the usual effect. Then you could tell about him. The next morning there was Rusty's collar laid out on the kitchen table next to my Superman lunchbox.
What a good mom. I hurried through breakfast, pulled on my snowsuit, buckled my overshoes, wrapped my scarf around my face, yanked on my mittens, grabbed my lunchbox, and headed for St. Casimir's Grade School. I hung my moon suit in the cloakroom and went to my desk to open my Superman lunchbox: No Rusty's collar. Apparently, I had forgotten it in my hurry to leave. It was probably still on the kitchen table.
I assumed that Mom had put it in my lunchbox. Mom didn't put it in my lunchbox. Showing makes the telling more powerful because your senses and your mind are both engaged. First, hold up Rusty's collar, and then say what you will. Look at this example: All the things we used to do Those dreamy teenage nights Nothing matters like it did Back when you were mine Try showing Rusty's collar first: Hot rod hearts and high school rings Those dreamy teenage nights Nothing matters like it did Back when you were mine Think of Rusty's collar this way: Hang the dye on top of the section and let it drip its colors downward onto the other lines, giving them more interest and depth.
Even if you show Rusty's collar just a little later: Nothing matters like it did Those dreamy teenage nights Hot rod hearts and high school rings Back when you were mine We still get colors, but the law of gravity says that they'll only drip downward, leaving us starting with: Nothing matters like it did Those dreamy teenage nights This has less color than when we followed the Sister Mary Elizabeth Rule of Songwriting.
Colors drip down, not up. Show first, and watch everything else gain impact: Hot rod hearts and high school rings Those dreamy teenage nights Nothing matters like it did Back when you were mine The teenage nights get dreamier.
We're really able to feel the emotion of: A long time ago I left my home For a job in the fruit trees But I missed those hills with the windy pines For their song seemed to suit me So I sent my wages to my home Said we'd soon be together For the next good crop would pay my way And I would come home forever One more dime to show for my day One more dollar and I'm on my way When I reach those hills, boys I'll never roam One more dollar and I'm going home Look what happens when we forget to bring Rusty's collar to school: When you're writing, it's fine to just let things flow.
Show before you tell. They are difficult to find and difficult to use well. Unfortunately, are a mainstay of good lyric writing — indeed, of most creative writing.
The trick is to know how to build them. In its most basic form, a metaphor is a collision between ideas that don't belong together. It jams them together and leaves us to struggle with the consequences. For example, an army is a rabid wolf. We watch the soldiers begin to snarl, grow snouts, and foam at the teeth. The army disappears, and we are left to face something red-eyed and dangerous. Of course, an army isn't a wolf. All metaphors must be literally false.
If the things we identify are the same e. Conflict is essential for metaphor. Put things that don't belong together in the same room and watch the friction: Interesting overtones. Let's take a closer look. There are three types of metaphor: An expressed identity metaphor asserts an identity between two nouns e. Expressed identity metaphors come in three forms: You might even try extending them into longer versions e. A qualifying metaphor uses adjectives to qualify nouns, and adverbs to qualify verbs.
Friction within these relationships creates a metaphor e. According to Aristotle, the ability to see one thing as another is the only truly creative human act. Most of us have the creative spark to make metaphors, we just need to train ourselves a bit and direct our energy properly.
Great metaphors seem to come in a flare of inspiration — there is a moment of light and heat, and suddenly the writer sees the old man bent over, dragging a load of invisible hour-chains. But even if great metaphors come from inspiration, you can certainly prepare yourself for their flaring.
The next section will help to train your vision, help you learn to look in the hot places, and help you nurture a spark that can erupt into something bright and wonderful. Call this a diatonic relationship.
For example, here are some random words that are diatonic to in the same key as tide: This is a way of creating collisions between elements that have at least some things in common — a fertile ground for metaphors. There are many other keys tide can belong to when something else is a fundamental tone — for example, power.
Let's play in its key: Muhammad Ali, avalanche, army, Wheaties, socket, tide. Muhammad Ali avalanched over his opponents. An avalanche is an army of snow. This army is the Wheaties of our revolution. Wheaties plug your morning into a socket. A socket holds back tides of electricity. Try playing in the key of moon: The New Mexico sky is a rich harvest of stars. Evening brings a harvest of lovers to the beach.
The lovers' feelings waned to a mere crescent. The crescent of human knowledge grows with each astronaut's mission. Astronauts' flights are a calendar of human courage. A new calendar washes in a tide of opportunities. Essentially, a metaphor works by revealing some third thing that two ideas share in common. One good way of finding metaphors is by asking these two questions: What else has those characteristics?
Answering the second question usually releases a veritable flood of possible metaphors. Often, the relationship between two ideas is not clear. Muhammad Ali is hardly the first idea that comes to mind with avalanche, unless you recognize their linking term, power.
In most contexts, Muhammad Ali and avalanche are non-diatonic, unrelated to each other. Only when you look to find a link do you come up with power, or deadly, or try to keep quiet when you're in their territories. Always asking the two questions above opens up these relationships and helps you develop metaphor-seeking habits.
Here are several exercises to help you get hooked. Divide the participants into two equal groups. Have each member of one group make an arbitrary list of five interesting adjectives. At the same time, have each member of the other group make an arbitrary list of five interesting nouns. Then combine their arbitrary lists. This usually results in some pretty strange combinations. For example: Take any combination and try to write a sentence or short paragraph from it.
Like this: My day has been bleached of sound and color. Even the rainbow this afternoon has been decaffeinated. The point of the exercise is to see that overtones linking ideas, metaphors are released by this blind striking of notes. Wonderful accidents happen frequently. Have each member of one group make an arbitrary list of five interesting verbs. Like these: Write a sentence or short paragraph for each of the following combinations: Put your lists together and see what your combinations suggest.
One thing will become clear right away: You get better results combining nouns and verbs than from combining adjectives and nouns. Verbs are the power amplifiers of language. They drive it; they set it in motion. Look at any of the great poets — Yeats, Frost, Sexton, Eliot. If you actually go through some poems and circle their verbs, you will see why the poems crackle with power. Great writers know where to look. They pay attention to their verbs.
At the same time, have each member of the other group also make an arbitrary list of five interesting nouns. Try these noun-noun collisions in each form. Winter is gone. Time for another ride in the Rolls-Royce of summer.
Once again, summer's Rolls-Royce has collapsed into the iceboat of winter. Now it's your turn again. Use whatever form of expressed identity metaphor that seems to work best. Write a sentence or short paragraph for the other four noun combinations.
These are also great fun to jumble up. You can even jumble them within the same columns. Try a sentence for each of these: Step one: Make a list of five interesting adjectives. Then, for each one, find an interesting noun that creates a fresh, exciting metaphor. Take as long as you need for each adjective — hours, even days.
Keep it in your vision. Push it against every noun you see until you create a breathtaking collision. Be patient. Developing a habit of looking takes time.
It is the quality of your metaphors and the accumulated hours of practice that count here, not speed. Remember that you can make vivid adjectives out of verbs: These are called participles. Step two: This will be more difficult, since you are used to looking at things in the world, not actions.
Again, take your time. Develop a habit of mind that can see a doe stepping through the shallows as the water wrinkles into circles around her. Step three: Make a list of five interesting verbs and track down a noun for each one. Most likely, you've never looked at the world from this angle before. You'll find it unnatural, challenging, and fun.
Step four: Make a list of five interesting nouns and find an adjective for each one. Don't forget about participles. Step five: Make a list of five interesting nouns and find another noun for each one.
Use whatever form of expressed identity metaphor you think works best. This last step brings you full circle. You have looked at the world from the vantage point of nouns, verbs, and adjectives. I left out adverbs as a matter of personal preference. I don't get much use out of them, especially when I am careful to find strong verbs. If you want to add them to the exercise, simply list five adverbs and find a verb for each one.
Then reverse the process and start with a list of verbs. This is a practical result: Because you have developed a habit of looking, you will see countless opportunities to create metaphors in your writing. After all, you run into nouns, verbs, and adjectives pretty frequently. These exercises focus your creative attention on a practical way to find metaphors using expressed identity metaphors, qualifying metaphors, and verbal metaphors.
You don't have to wait for a grand bolt of inspiration. Simply look at the word you're on, and ask: What characteristics does this idea have? Then watch ideas tumble out onto your page. True enough, but that's like saying that measles are spots on your body. They are, but if you look deeper, the spots are there because a virus is present. There is something more fundamental going on. Remember the metaphor an army is a rabid wolf? Say it to yourself and let the pictures roll. You start with the army, but your focus transfers to the rabid wolf, something red-eyed and dangerous.
Simile doesn't transfer focus: An army is like a rabid wolf. The army refuses to budge. No snouts or foamy teeth. We sit waiting for an explanation while the army stands before us in full uniform.
Look at this from Kurt Thompson: The speaker is asking baby to get in and step on the accelerator. Now look at this version: My love's like an engine It ain't run in years Just took one kiss from you to loosen up these gears My heart needs to rev some Like an old Chevrolet You might think it's crazy To want to race away Who ever said that love was smart Baby won't you drive my heart Won't you drive my heart Read it again and let the pictures roll. Now the focus stays on the speaker rather than transferring to the car.
It seems like a subtle difference, but it makes all the difference in how we hear the song. The metaphor creates a light, clever song. The simile is clever, too, but it's also more intimate, since we stay in the presence of the speaker throughout the song. Because a simile refuses to transfer focus, it works in a totally different way than a metaphor does. A metaphor takes its second term an army is a rabid wolf very seriously — you must commit to it, because that's what everyone will end up looking at.
You needn't commit as deeply to the second term of a simile, since the first term gets most of the attention. This makes similes useful as a one-time event. We have no further appetite for corn or Kansas. Good thing, since the rest of the song goes everywhere but Kansas. As a rule of thumb, when you have a list of comparisons in mind, use a simile: It only grows when it's on the vine.
If you're grateful for any idea that comes along, you're probably not getting the best stuff. But if you have lots of legitimate choices, you won't end up playing six hours in Bangor, Maine, for twenty bucks. Look at it this way: The more often you can say no, the better your gigs get. That's why I suggest that you learn to build a worksheet — a specialized tool for brainstorming that produces bathtubs full of ideas and, at the same time, tailors the ideas specifically for a lyric.
Simply, a worksheet contains two things: There are three stages to building a worksheet. Sometimes, you'll start the lyric from an emotion: I want to write a song about her. I want to do one on a serious subject, maybe homelessness. Since you always bring your unique perspective to each experience, you will have something interesting to offer. But you'll have to look at enough ideas to find the best perspective. Object writing is the key to developing choices. You must dive into your vaults of sense material — those unique and secret places — to find out what images you've stored away, in the present example, around the idea of homelessness.
Stay sense- bound and very specific. How do you connect to the idea? Did you ever get lost in the woods as a child? Run away from home? Sleep in a car in New York? Now, did you find an expressive image, like a broken wheel on a homeless woman's shopping cart, that can serve as a metaphor — a vehicle to carry your feelings?
Did you see some situation, like your parents fighting, that seems to connect you with her situation?
These expressive objects or situations are what T. Even if you find ideas that work well, keep looking a while longer. When you find a good idea, there is usually a bunch more behind it. The gig opening for Aerosmith could be the next offer.
Jot down your good ideas on a separate sheet of paper. Get out a thesaurus, one set up according to Roget's original plan according to the flow of ideas — a setup perfect for brainstorming. Dictionary-style versions set up alphabetically are useful only for finding synonyms and antonyms. They make brainstorming a cumbersome exercise in cross-referencing.
Your thesaurus is better than a good booking agent. It can churn up images and ideas you wouldn't ever get to by yourself, stimulating your diver to greater and greater depths until a wealth of choices litter the beaches. In the index the last half of your thesaurus , locate a word the expresses the general idea, for example, risk. From the list below it, select the word most related to the lyric idea. My thesaurus lists these options for risk: The first notation should be read as follows: They set a general meaning for the section, like a key signature sets the tone center in a piece of music.
Look in the text front half of the thesaurus for section or whatever number your thesaurus lists; numbers will appear at the tops of the pages. If you peruse the general area around danger for a minute, you will find several pages of related material. Here are the surrounding section headings in my thesaurus: Safeguard Warning Preservation Deliverance This related material runs for sixteen pages in double-column entries.
Risk is totally surrounded by its relatives, so if you look around the neighborhood, you'll find a plethora of possibilities. Start building your list. Look at these first few entries under danger: If you take each entry for a quick dive through your sense memories, you should have a host of new ideas within minutes. Frequent object writing pays big dividends here.
The more familiar you are with the process, the quicker these quick dives get. Just vow to do more object writing. Jot down the best words on your list and keep at it until you're into serious overload. Now the fun begins. Start saying no to words in your list until you've trimmed it to about ten or twelve words with different vowel sounds in their stressed syllables.
Put these survivors in the middle of a blank sheet of paper, number them, and enclose them in a box for easy reference later on. Keep these guidelines in mind: If you are working with a title, be sure to put its key vowel sounds in the list.
Most of your words should end in a stressed syllable, since they work best in rhyming position. Put any interesting words that duplicate a vowel sound in parentheses.
Your goal is to create a list of words to look up in your rhyming dictionary. Here's what I got banging around in the thesaurus, looking through the lens of homelessness: Don't be afraid to switch, add, or take out words as the process continues. First, a quick survey of rhyme types. The syllables' vowel sounds are the same.
The consonant sounds after the vowels if any are the same. The sounds before the vowels are different. Remember, lyrics are sung, not read or spoken. When you sing, you exaggerate vowels. And since rhyme is a vowel connection, lyricists can make sonic connections in ways other than perfect rhyme.
Family Rhyme 1. The consonant sounds after the vowels belong to the same phonetic families. Here's a chart of the three important consonant families: Each of the three boxes — plosives, fricatives, and nasals — form a phonetic family. When a word ends in a consonant in one of the boxes, you can use the other members of the family to find perfect rhyme substitutes.It's usually about self-exploration, not so much about writing.
He ran by me, shoving me in the process. Or I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the vegetation. Winter is gone. Had to do it for himself when all that help was available.
Yes, I know — I'm brain-dead then, too.
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