Metaphors and Me

This week I’ve been working on an essay about miscarriage and faith.  As you can imagine it’s so uplifting and happy and plastered with joy that everyone is going to want to read it!  …  Or, no.  The good news is that I made tremendous progress from this happened and then this happened and then THIS happened and I HATED it to something a little more artistic and a little more interesting, and I think, also, a little more accessible, a little more heart-breaking but also a little more redemptive, too.  And that’s what I like about revision.  Just a little more at a time.

One of the reasons I like writing essays and poems is because of metaphor and simile, parallels and juxtaposition.  There are few things more exhilarating than to find a similar story line in some other experience in nature, or the perfect fact to buttress what I’ve gone through or felt.  It’s probably also why I love stories, and why many people love stories – if a story (whatever genre it is) in some way rubs up against our own personal experiences or tugs at the desires and emotions of our lives, we have exited the realm of solitude and entered community.  I am not alone in this.  This feeling that I’ve had is not unique to me.
For me, discovering some strange parallel in nature or science or health or religion or wherever it might come from builds an even greater connection, one to the divine.  It reinforces the sense I have that all things are vibrating with a mysterious energy, rubbing up against each other to make friction and music, because they are carrying in greater or lesser degrees the same spark of divinity that resides in the hearts of men and women.  
I don’t think this is just me anthropomorphizing.  Or maybe it is.  Whatever the case, when I discover a metaphor for an experience I’ve had, like miscarrying, or more often than not, when the metaphor pops into the middle of my living room like a sizzling 4th of July sparkler, I’m so surprised and delighted by it that I can’t help but smile.  Each sentence or line feels like a gift.  I am not alone in the universe, on the planet, in this country, on this street, in this room, in my head.  There are beautiful strange delightful fantastic mysterious horrible and wonderful things all around me and I just can’t wait for the next one to sneak up and say, hey, check this out.
What I’m Reading: Wild by Cheryl Strayed (FANTASTIC, as expected)
What I’m Writing: this essay about miscarriage and faith that everyone just can’t wait to read and be so inspired
What I’m Watching: National Treasure is muted in the corner
What I’m Eating: I just had a big spoonful of almond butter, and as soon as I’m done with this, I’m going to go make sweet potato fries and guacamole because my husband is coming home soon YES

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

One thought on “Metaphors and Me

  1. This is why I write. Just this morning I was working on an essay of a very similar topic (blog sister!!!) and was describing a scene at a river with no plan at all that I was uncovering a metaphor for the situation and whamo! there is was. Also, I think you described CNF perfectly in your first paragraph. Going from “this happened to this happened to something a little more artistic.” Yes, it is more painful but what a story!


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