Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Up for a Writing Challenge? Write Your Random Metaphor

(I blog more regularly at Julie Unplugged, but typepad was being annoying yesterday so I decided to blog here, instead...

There is something both silly and sacred about what we randomly discover as we hopskotch through our everyday lives.

Some people see little, hear less and smell only frying bacon or perhaps the siren song of a fresh dollar bill.

And then there are those who share my love of the nuanced, the odd image caught from the corner of the eye or the synchronicity of seeing the color yellow at every turn.

Yesterday I received my daily photo taking prompt from Flickr Group Roulette which called me into nature for a photo. I immediately knew the where the who and almost the what. Last week when I arrived at San Miguel Commemorative Grove I followed an egret down an unusual to me path and at one point I saw a rabbit at the end of an unknown to me off-shoot path, taking a sip at one of the fingers of the river that didn't exist visibly until this season. The shadows and the leaf cover begged to be photographed.

I couldn't wait for the opportunity to visit and photograph in this space.

In the five days in between visits, my sacred morning spot turned into something of a grand central station late afternoon happy hour spot. There was trash and papers and I shook my head when I saw condom wrappers thrown about like popcorn on the floor of a movie theater following a bargain matinee. "This isn't what it looked like last time," I semi-apologized to the friend I invited on this photo taking adventure ~ my human tripod, so to speak.

I had my cobalt blue work-in-progress poetry duck in one hand and quickly manuevered into place. This was going to be a fast shoot, we had no time and I couldn't afford any messing around or cleaning up, we had to work with what was there. We took some quick shots and I gathered my things to go and then my friend noticed something in the river fingers. "Oh my gosh," he said, "condoms, used, floating."

Last Summer in Oakland I had photographed a purple used condom that found its resting place in the sidewalk in a very graceful heart shape.

I understand, when you notice a condom dancing in the water as if doing water ballet, it must be photographed. This is a necessity of a creative soul's life.

I wasn't expecting the random photography to continue into this morning, when I discovered some very old silver while seeking set-dressing for Stage Door. I was primarily looking for china and any random candy dishes or cut glass photo frames when I saw the small plastic bag along with a handwritten note from my mother. "Look at the date for Aunt Julie's fork." There, on the tiny fork emblazoned with "Juliette" was a '94. proudly proclaiming my Great Aunt and namesakes birth: 1894.

She would have been 103 years old when my Emma was born in 1997.

I took the spoons out of the bag and held them in my paint splotched hand, my breath held in amazement.

I turned the forks over, mine from 1962, hers from nearly 70 years before.

I never expected to find such a treasure in a box in my pantry closet. It had been sitting, waiting to be discovered, for years.

I sit on my writing porch, thinking of what I need to do in the next couple hours and I debate internally which metaphor to write.

I want to flaunt convention, like I bet my Great Aunt Julie did and like that condom did. Other condoms just disintegrate. That condom was a water ballet dancer and became art amongst worms, forever immortalized in the condom world. Great Aunt Julie left behind a curious fork, among other things. This is different, though, than the dishware and glassware I own that belonged to her. This fork was from the infant Aunt Julie. It is an intimate peek into her first family connections, not of the Aunt Julie who was of San Francisco society.

I want to leave it to you, instead.

What metaphors do you find in these very different, very random images stretched across more than a century?

What connections, memories, ideas spring up from within you, asking to be written?

Write them now.

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