Mind your Metaphors

April is metaphorical English month over on the Macmillan Dictionary blog, and reading James Geary’s post Metaphors in Mind set me thinking about my own application of metaphors and how I use them to manipulate you, my dear readers. Because writing a blog makes manipulation necessary – you’re not gaining anything physical by reading me, per se, and so I need to manipulate the hell out of y’all in order to ensure you come back!

When I tell a story I am conscious of my tendency to drop in a metaphor and then run with it. Let’s take, for e.g.:

I’m not sure where I’m going to take this little epihpany, which dream to chase after first or which path to forge for myself, but I do know that I can’t just let it go. Until now, every aspect of my life, the good the bad and the ugly; the dreams and the nightmares, have been like helium ballons, their strings clutched in my grubby hands. When one wriggled free I just let it go to float into the ether with a shrug of my shoulders – “You win some you lose some – there’s no point fighting with fate…” I need to start weighting those ballons I want to keep, tying them around my wrists – even protecting them from sharp objects! (Have I milked this metaphor enough yet??)…

On routines and the breaking of them, June 2010

(Yes, I know this begins as a simile, but it rapidly turns metaphor to illustrate my point…)

Looking back across secondhandshopper I notice the application of my “grubby little hands” quite often. In fact, there are multiple phrases put to use in metaphors quite frequently to create a certain mucky childishness, to give the impression of a little girl’s voice, but most emphatically not a prissy one. I write quite deliberately in a way that endears me to you.

But my metaphors actually run deeper than that. Whilst they openly employ childlike imagery, they also run to the point of exhaustion. I milk my metaphors, dropping in twists and turns and levels of meaning – all with a knowing nod. Which tells you that I know exactly what I’m doing, that I may be childlike, innocent, unthreatening, but I’m not stupid. What I have to say, well, it might actually be of some interest!

James’ post tells us that “We should mind our metaphors… because metaphors make up our minds.”, and I think as marketers, as bloggers, as representatives of ourselves online, this is well worth consideration. If we are in the blogosphere, like it or not, we are involved in a form of self-promotion. And the way we describe things, the connections we make and the backstories we paint around our anecdotes say more about us than we may at first realise. We should all consider: what sort of self are we trying to promote?


6 thoughts on “Mind your Metaphors

  1. There is nothing to mind about your metaphors at all, Caroline. Your choice of words is indicative of the person that you are. The voice of that person can and should come out in your posts (and it does). If it makes us love you and want to come back to read more then it is to our benefit.

    PS the way that you use the same pose in each photo – that little touch of consistency in the pose is a lovely whimsical touch.

    • Hi Caveat Calcei, and thank you for leaving me such a lovely comment! I’m so pleased to hear that my voice comes out in my posts, and that you keep coming back! 🙂

  2. Your voice is definitely representative of you, I think, which is a good thing. I think the best self to promote, being the most interesting, is the honest one x

    • Thanks Jen – I try to be true to myself on here, sometimes more so than I can be in real life! But I’m glad you see that my blog persona and personality marry together! xx

  3. This is exactly the kind of post that keeps me visiting your blog. You balance the cheery and the thought-provoking so well. I’ve been following you since you applied for a job at a ‘well-known Oxford publisher’ – I was one of the people who reviewed your CV and your blog was listed. A shame we never actually had the chance to meet! Your positive experience of blogging was one of the things that helped to inspire me to start my own blog – http://www.naturalbeautycabinet.com/. I hope I can eventually build up the kind of friendly community you have.

    • Hi Faye,

      Thanks for leaving such a lovely comment – and for reviewing my CV back in the dark days of my redundancy!! And I’m always delighted to hear that I’ve encouraged others to blog – the blogosphere is such a fantastic thing to be a part of! I’ll certainly check out your blog! 😀

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