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We dissolve stuck and rewrite patterns. We apply radical playfulness to life (when we feel like it!), embarking on internal adventures (credo of Safety First). We have a fake band called Solved By Cake. We build invisible sanctuaries, invent words and worlds, breathe awe and wonder.

We are not impressed by monsters. Except when we are. We explore the connections between internal territories and surrounding environment to learn what marvelously supportive delicious space feels like, and how to take exquisite care of ourselves. We transform things.* We glow wild.**

* For example: Desire, fear, worry, pain-and-trauma, boundaries, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity.

** Fair warning: Self-fluency has been known to lead to extremely subversive behavior, including treasuring yourself unconditionally, unapologetically taking up space, experiencing outrageously improbable levels of self-acceptance, and general rejoicing in aliveness.


Metaphor Mouse carries a valise and twirls his moustaches!

Metaphor MouseBackground: the metaphor technique is something I’ve adapted from Suzette Haden Elgin‘s teachings. It’s an amazing tool for destuckifying.

It’s also how I discovered that I work on a pirate ship and defeated the hackers. And cured my fear of being beautiful.

More recently we turned my dreaded Tickler file into an Iguana Watcher’s Guide And doing taxes happens in a Secret Money Cave where I visit my treasures and make Tribute to the lands that allow me access to their fair harbours.

Metaphor Mouse to the rescue!

Unpacking the metaphor. Here’s the situation.

It started when I couldn’t decide which was more depressing — the fact that I have a Travel Shopping List, or the fact that I can’t look at it without wanting to throw myself off of a cliff.

Really, it is ludicrous that I have a travel shopping list because Travel, Shopping and List are pretty much my three least favorite words.

Actually, travel doesn’t seem nearly as as stressful as “shopping” or “list” — I do it all the time and really do adore most of it. But when I looked at travel more closely, it became apparent that actually travel in general, as a concept, isn’t that fun for me. Hmmm.

Clearly a job for … Metaphor Mouse!

* As always, this is is just me yelling I AM METAPHOR MOUSE to the song I am Iron Man. Yes. Still.

Unpacking my current relationship with this. (TRAVEL = ?)

What are the qualities, aspects, associations, attributes of the problem word (including what *is* working — if anything)?

[+ stressful]
[+ headache]
[+ worry]
[+ unmanageable]
[+ anticipation]
[+ I have to do everything myself]
[+ transition]
[+ dread]
[+ juggling]
[+ tiring]
[+ freedom]
[+ fun]
[+ hilarity]
[+ adventure]
[+ something I’m good at]
[+ transitions]
[+ switching gear]
[+ movement]

Reminds me of?

Being the director of an off-Broadway show.

Having to do so many things and keep track of so many things just to make sure that everything goes smoothly.

Plus dealing with the damn actors. It’s like herding cats! But in a theater! Entertaining, sure … but not really all that pleasurable.

Learning more about my IDEAL metaphor (Travel = ?)

What sort of qualities, aspects and feelings does the thing I want contain?

[+ freedom]
[+ sovereignty]
[+ relaxing]
[+ ease]
[+ supported]
[+ prepared]
[+ playful]
[+ carefree]
[+ fun]
[+ anticipation]
[+ clear boundaries]
[+ cared for]
[+ simplicity]
[+ spaciousness]
[+ movement]
[+ adventure]

Reminds me of?

Well, it’s showing up for something that has already been prepared, instead of doing the preparing.

Like being an audience member? Like being taken to your special box at the opera house before Groucho Marx causes chaos and pandemonium? Oh my lord. Do I need a lorgnette?

Or maybe it’s getting to be the diva super star … red carpets and the like.

No. That’s no fun. For me, at least. But I wouldn’t object to being an early ’30s film star traveling on a ship.

With my traveling secretary.

Or at least some companion to carry the hat boxes and find my cabin and fetch my drinks and fend off my admirers with a parasol.

Yes, a lovely Atlantic crossing in good weather with plenty of time on my hands. That sounds like the way to travel.

Adventuring! But in style.

What needs to happen next?

More words!

Words for a film star on holiday!

Because this means I don’t have to pack “toiletries” anymore. They can be “essential supplies”. Or my powder box? Someone tell me what this is called!

And my much abused and dreaded Travel Shopping List can be simply: trinkets and baubles for the crossing.

Instead of packing, I can make arrangements. Or select my gowns.

Much brainstorming is needed.

And how do we make it more fun?

Obviously a lorgnette is necessary.

And possibly a cigarette holder.

Maybe I could bring a magic wand and pretend it’s a cigarette holder.

Glamour is clearly called for. In spades.

And there has to be a fun, lighthearted, playful way about it. I could raid the Costume room at the Playground. Or buy something appropriately outrageous to wear.

The main thing is that it’s an adventure. And a ridiculous one. One that allows me to dress with panache. And one that exists to support me.

I don’t know what else is missing, but that’s where I’m going to start.**

** And since I am currently being a Rally-er at the Rally (Rally!), that can be one of the things that I play with this week, while I unabashedly metaphor-mouse everything in sight.

Would you like to play? Hooray! Also: comment zen for today.

You are more than welcome to practice your own Metaphor Mousing on something you’re working on.

Or to mess around with words and wordishness related to a stuckness. Or get brainstorming help from other commenter mice.

Or to be happy for me and my new baby metaphor and to suggest fabulous things to wear.

As always: we let people have their own experience, and we don’t tell them what to do (unless someone specifically asks for help).

28 Responses to Metaphor Mouse carries a valise and twirls his moustaches!

  1. Melynda
    Twitter: melyndahuskey

    Oh, words for a trans-Atlantic crossing! At last I can be of use!

    You might need a steamer trunk (that’s that trunk that opens vertically and has all drawers and hangers inside). And certainly you’ll want a dressing case–that’s the case that holds all your bottles of specially-prepared colognes and splashes and creams and your nail buffer and your hair receiver and your pincushion. And for sure you’ll need several hat boxes, to hold your cloches and turbans and aigrettes. A handkerchief case, and a nighty case, and a harlequin doll with a hollow skirt to put over the phone you call the steward on when you want all the fruit baskets and bouquets cleared out of your stateroom.

    When MFK Fisher made the transatlantic crossing in the 20s, the steward put a chicken salad sandwich and a split of champagne beside her bed every night. Her mother-in-law got a piece of cake and a thermos of hot chocolate.
    .-= Melynda´s last post … Carrot Bacon That’s Right Carrot Bacon =-.

  2. Wormy
    Twitter: SecretWormy

    Well! 1930s eh? One of my favourite eras. Such style and fun. You truly did get to be a goddess.

    Here are few places that may be fun. One does clothes and the other luggage.


    Have much fun!

  3. Pearl Mattenson
    Twitter: pearlmattenson

    I love the “dressing-case” concept. (Toiletries-one of MY least favorite words!!)

    Also just discovered the concept of a “comfort-station” which it turns out is equivalent to a toiler. One might need to pack ‘comforts’ for a comfort station?

  4. Willie Hewes
    Twitter: williehewes

    I love metaphor mouse.

    The travelling secretary fending off admirers with your parasol is vital. Ideally, it would be a beautiful young man, who is secretly a young woman with a Troubled Past but also a Strong Heart to go with her Sense of Adventure.

    Thanks for reminding me I can invoke metaphor mouse when I need to. I’ve been wading through legal documents and it never even occurred to me to metaphorise it. Hello?
    .-= Willie Hewes´s last post … What Monsters Want =-.

  5. Leocadia says:

    Perfect timing. I am going travelling next week and – like Willie Hewes – have asked myself why invoking metaphor mouse hasn’t occurred to me. Now I will think of how to prepare the carriage (velvet cushions, roibos tea in silver flask) and send the stable boy to pick the best horses.
    Just not sure how much chosing my gowns works for my hiking outfit but it will make me laugh anyway.

  6. Chris Anthony
    Twitter: noellejoyeux

    @Willie: Either that or a slightly older gentleman, greying at the temples, with a good sense of humor but a cultivatedly serious demeanor, with muscles like whipcord and a mustache to put Burt Reynolds to shame. (One must follow one’s conventions!)

    @Melynda: what an excellent thing to be an expert at! I’ve always loved steamer trunks. There was one at the local antique shop that I was going to snap up on the spot until my sweetheart pointed out that the hinges were stuck in the open position. Le sigh.

    @Havi: I think I like your redefinition of travel. Metaphor Mouse continues to demonstrate both his utility and his excellent taste!
    .-= Chris Anthony´s last post … Everyday Delight 8 – First Day of School Edition =-.

  7. Elizabeth
    Twitter: corsetlib

    I love the old use of the word “notions.” Button-repair kit, tiny bottles of useful lotions and ointments, things that your assistant might need to hand to you…
    .-= Elizabeth´s last post … Subscribe and Have Impulsia Delivered to Your Inbox! =-.

  8. chicsinger simone
    Twitter: simonebernhard

    So funny you mention a theatre metaphor. I have been having such fun rehearsing for a show that I am considering Metaphor Mousing big projects in my life to be Productions.

    It’s a Sitz Probe! It’s a Wander Probe (where you sit and read through and walk through scripts, respectively)! It’s Tech Week! It’s Dress Rehearsal! IT’S OPENING NIGHT!

    I can already see you relaxing on the deck chairs with a cozy blanket, hat and shades. WOOT!
    .-= chicsinger simone´s last post … Summer 2010 =-.

  9. sarahhf
    Twitter: shfitch

    This post is highly amusing to me because I was just commenting to my gentleman friend about how travel-wise, I’m stuck in the 1800s. I meant because I’m afraid of flying and driving, prefer trains, and would ideally travel overseas by boat, but I think this has something to do with it, too.

  10. Hiro Boga
    Twitter: HiroBoga

    Your red sovereignty boots will need a valise of their own. And every transatlantic traveler must have a Dresser–someone who will lay out your clothes for you, help you on with your elbow-length gloves before those shipboard dinners, fasten the clasp of your bracelet, and brush your hair! :-)
    .-= Hiro Boga´s last post … Pattern Makers and Playpens =-.

  11. laine says:

    Don’t forget your hat boxes!

  12. jessie
    Twitter: roomtosmile

    ah! so brilliant! i think you will definitely need a beautiful peach silk gown for lounging around en deshabille. and a social secretary! and a dance card! and spats for the gentleman friend.

    metaphor mouse needs to visit me. i am going back to work after the long summer break and it is sort of miserable, despite everything that i’ve learned this summer that could help it be better. i am sort of convincing myself that work is a learning- and spirit-free zone. can metaphor mouse help? anyone?

  13. Anna Barnett
    Twitter: annabarnett

    @Melynda – inquiring minds must know…. *hair receiver*?

  14. LaShae
    Twitter: LaShaeDorsey

    My great-grandmother would have called them “top-ups” and “train cases” as that is what she gave to my mother and to me upon graduation from High School.

    @Anna Barnett – a small, preferably silk, bag which holds the hair from your brushes and combs

    Oooh and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the preparing bit and the arranging bit and also the diva super star bit… hmmmm, it’s the stuff in between I don’t want to deal with. Oh!

  15. Sheridan
    Twitter: sheridan

    Going with the theme, instead of list you could have a Manifest.

    @Anna Barnett – A hair receiver was a small container (often a ceramic bowl) where hair would be placed after being pulled from a lady’s brush. The hair would be saved and gathered over time and then reused. It might be woven into a bracelet, used as a decoration inside a clear pendant, or any number of other things.

  16. claire
    Twitter: claireofRA

    I’m not a big fan of boats, but the rest, omg, the TRUNKS! The beautiful, fabulous trunks of the 30s/40s. The kind you set on their side and open to reveal your traveling writing desk, with the shelves that drop down. I saw a spectacular one a while back in a magazine except it cost a few thousand dollars and weighed a ton. So yes, hunky porters and a traveling companion to sort out its delivery to your state room.

    Also a fancy hat with a huge brim. And, of course, giant sunglasses.

    I’d use Katharine Hepburn for my model. Glamour! Pants! Traveling companion! And sovereignty so strong as to make reporters a non-issue and quick work of autograph seekers.

    The parasol use made me laugh. Have you read any of Elizabeth Peters Amelia Peabody mysteries? Set around turn of century (1900) mostly in Egypt, Amelia uses her parasols with gusto. First in series is Crocodile on the Sandbank. Great books!
    .-= claire´s last post … Things- more of them 19- in fact =-.

  17. Rupa
    Twitter: theyogaofliving

    I could use some help with a metaphor if anyone wishes to put in their two cents. I’d actually really appreciate it, especially if you’re not crazy about…

    PUBLIC SPEAKING. I actually like it, and people tell me I’m pretty good at it, but the term itself induces panic and/or dread.

    So, what are the qualities, aspects, associations, attributes of the problem phrase:

    [+yucky and slick
    [+sweaty and shaky

    What sort of qualities, aspects and feelings does the thing I want contain?

    [+walls broken down
    [+steady and fluid

    Reminds me of?

    Maybe…telling ghost stories around a campfire? Very casual, everyone is a little grubby, entertainment deprived and together in the situation.

    I think I like it. Would love some other suggestions.
    .-= Rupa´s last post … When Grandma Got Stuck in the Garage =-.

  18. Trish says:

    Oh the timing! I am getting ready for one of my travel adventures and,.. well,.. I don’t travel very well. So how nice is this! I can be my own star, and have fun and glam it up a bit by changing a few words here and there. LOVE IT! Thanks Havi!!!

  19. Cathy
    Twitter: cathyyardley

    @Havi — Perhaps I’m mixing metaphors, but I like the idea that you’re a famous director, traveling on a fantastic ship to your new production! :)

    @Rupa: ghost stories is good, although I was thinking Story Circle, like Preschool… everybody gets to share, you’re just telling a story to people who LOVE stories. Of course, depends on what you’re talking about. Otherwise… maybe a messenger, like Paul Revere? where you need to get the word out to people who really need to hear it, and it’s urgently important? Or is that too stressful?

    Love Metaphor Mouse. I need to metaphorize “revisions”, LOL! Wish me luck!

  20. Rupa
    Twitter: theyogaofliving

    @Cathy– Thanks for the suggestions. I like them, especially the Story Circle idea! Paul Revere is great, too, but it might be too Me/Them for what I’m looking for at the moment.

    “Revisions” is a good one. May epiphanies be yours! :)
    .-= Rupa´s last post … When Grandma Got Stuck in the Garage =-.

  21. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    My sister and her husband had their honeymoon on a cruise ship. The first night, my brother-in-law asked for cherry pie. The staff apologized, saying that they had none for him that evening but would have some for him the next day. Sure enough, he got his cherry pie — every day for the rest of the voyage.

    Courtesy, comfort, sovereignty, and daily moments of nurturing — sounds good to me!
    .-= Kathleen Avins´s last post … I know you’re strong So- most likely I am- too =-.

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