Cliches, Metaphors & Dreams

Published June 4, 2021 by Nan Mykel

I haven’t been a newbie on Word Press  for 5 years, but while I should be getting more familiar with its challenges I have been having my own, as each year passes.  So although I read some of the “One Day” invitations to write and post on a topic, the struggle to accomplish the goal usually proves too much.  In this posting I started to respond to the word diligent,  then gave up and hours later (I’ve been at this computer for a long time) gave up on submitting it to the joint enterprise, and this is what I am left with:

Don’t know how this works, but I’ll put my toes in, responding to “diligence.”  I looked it up in Roget’s Original International  Thesaurus--great deal at Thriftbooks– and was led into a garden overflowing with what we ourselves are told not to use when writing–cliches.  It was such fun I’ll share a few suggestions, under a sub-meaning of voluntary action:

Dealing; done deal; do one’s stuff; swing into action; run with it; get off the dime or one’s dead ass; fish or cut bait; shit or get off the pot and put up or shut up and put one’s money where one’s mouth is; lift a finger; get a life; do the trick; cut the mustard; carry the ball; rise to the occasion; have a go at; in harness…

And going from diligence in action to activity, we’re told about pep and moxie and oomph and pizzazz and piss and vinegar; hubbub; hullabaloo; hoo-ha and foofaraw and flap; many irons in the fire; much on one’s plate;  get-up-and get; eager beaver; wheeler-dealer; finger in every pie…have other fish to fry.

So–a thesaurus could come in handy in character development dialog when writing fiction, even though we are cautioned not for us  authors to use cliches (which I often ignore when blogging– I think it’s fun) which brings to mind something I read yesterday, in The Julian Jaynes Collection,  edited by Marcel Kuijsten, p 86:  “Every word we use to refer to mental events is a metaphor of something in the behavioral world.”  (I see I just used “brings to mind,” above).

Why was I reading Julian Jaynes?  I often sit in a comfy chair next to my bookcase when drinking coffee, and pull out a book to look at while relaxing.  I had bought the book about Jaynes’ theories because in 1985 I had heard Jaynes speak at a 6-day gathering of the Association for the Study of Dreams and the International Dream Conference II at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and had been duly excited when during the discussion period he stepped down from the podium while speaking and into the aisle while another dream expert in the audience left his seat to join Jaynes in the aisle while the two experts politely though energetically offered their conflicting views, waving their arms in the  energetic exchange of ideas.  That small drama was quite exciting to observe.  I wasn’t that young, but still impressionable. Actually, I still am, more than 35 years later.

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