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).

The Fluent Self