Anne Bean

I make delicious words. // I make words delicious.

Tag: metaphor

Sow What You Plant

Or, some ways that being a freelance writer is a lot like gardening.

image: raised garden beds and containers in a front yard near a street

My actual vegetable garden. Definitely not my freelance writing career.

But, like, high stakes gardening where you don’t have a grocery store, so what you sow is what you harvest, and that’s both what you eat and where you get your money from.

And maybe you can do some trading with other farmers so you don’t have to, like, raise a cow if you were really just trying to focus on vegetable gardening. And sometimes you have a pretty well-balanced garden, but sometimes you’re like, hey, I have zucchini…and…zucchini. And then people are like “do you know how many people in this town have zucchini? I could definitely find someone to sell it cheaper than you’re offering.” But then, you can’t lower the price of your zucchini or give it away for free, even if people are like “but I’ll give your zucchini to such a big audience! It’ll be great exposure!”

image: zucchini growing in a gardenAnd in general you have to remember to do succession plantings or else your crops will all ripen at once and you’ll have like two hectic weeks where you make a ton of money, and then a huge dry spell where you have to wait for the new seeds to grow. And you have to pay attention to your garden every day or else some connections will run dry and some of your crops will die out, and you’ll have to plant them all over again. You have to pay attention to your garden every day. Weekends? What are weekends? Plants don’t recognize weekends.

And the thing is, you only have so much time and space to garden, and even if you have extra seeds, there is only so much space for them to grow. When your beds are full, they’re full! And if you’ve chosen to grow something that’s not a particularly good crop, or a crop that takes up a lot of space for a low yield, then that’s what you’re stuck with, and that’s the money you’re going to make.

And there are definitely seasons: sometimes some crops just don’t grow as well. There’s usually something you can grow to make it through, but sometimes taking care of the garden will take just a little bit of time and then you have a whole bunch of extra time on your hands to plan the next season or to feel a sense of existential guilt because your career path doesn’t look Normal. Sometimes everything is ripening at once, and you’re run off your feet.

And you’ve got to make sure that you’re talking to plenty of people around town who have a keen interest in vegetables. Sometimes you get a gig with some bigger institution like a restaurant, which is great because they’ll order a lot of vegetables from you. But sometimes you’re selling veggies to individual people.

Some lucky people have made this CSA site called Patreon work out for them, but you’ve got to be a specific kind of gardening operation for that to work.


Anyway I was going to write about freelance writing, but whatever.

Figurative Language with Drax the Destroyer

Greetings, humans. I am Drax.

4055895-drax+guardians-of-the-galaxy-draxYesterday I was sitting with the human Peter Quill on The Milano and he asked me what had my panties in a bundle. This confused me greatly; I was wearing no panties nor underwear of any type. When I told him this, he said “Whoa, so Drax flies commando” and I was again confused because Gamora was currently flying the ship and while I am a mighty warrior I am not specifically a commando; this does not change when I fly.

At this point, Rocket interrupted Quill and offered to further explain figurative language to me.

I dislike figurative language. It is cheating. Words have meanings. I feel irritated when people tell me that single word has not only more than one meaning, but meanings which are not “literal.” This is confusing and stupid*.

metaphor draxAfter our recent battles, I now understand the concept of metaphor: one thing means a different thing. And not just any different thing, but something related to the first thing in what human scholar Thomas McLauglin describes as “some shared category of meaning.” He also says that metaphor is a “word-for-word substitution,” but sometimes it is a gesture-for-word substitution. I know this, because finger on throat means death. Metaphor.

tSc-finger-to-the-throat-means-death-metaphorRocket tells me that there are even more kinds of figurative language than metaphor. He explained a few of them. I like similes because it is like metaphor but easier to understand, because a simile contains both the word and the other word that it’s substituting. For example, once when I threw a Kree warrior into a large chasm, Quill told me I was a beast. I thought he was insulting my genetic heritage, so I moved to throw him in as well, whereupon he corrected himself, saying, “No, no, I mean STRONG like a beast!” You can tell if it is a simile because the person will say “like” or “as” in the sentence. I do not mind similes so much.

There are other types of figurative language that make even less sense than metaphors, though. When we were having systems failure and Quill asked me to get my ass over here, he thought I mocked him when I turned my posterior in his direction. Instead, he was using synechdoche, I learned later. Synechdoche is when you name part of a thing but mean the whole thing. He said “your ass” but meant “you.” Once the Milano was being pursued by a fleet of Kree warships, and Quill referred to them as “those assholes,” meaning neither the anuses of the Kree nor even the Kree themselves, but the entire fleet.

On the other hand, by which I mean another related idea because in this case hands are metaphors for ideas and since two hands are connected to a single body that means they are related, there is metonymy. It is sort of like synechdoche except instead of referring to part of a whole, you refer to something related to another thing instead of just saying what you mean. Quill gave me an example by referring to the loss and regret he felt after after a failed love affair as “heartbroken.” I did not understand at first, but then understood that he was talking about the body but meaning the emotions. Feh. Humans.

UNSM52VRocket says there is another type of figurative language called irony, but despite his efforts I still do not understand it as anything more than a particularly confusing form of lying. Rocket says he will keep trying. For his own safety, I am not sure I will let him. I feel very angry in the presence of irony.

Baby-GrootI enjoy Groot because Groot does not use confusing figurative language. Rocket says I am wrong about this and keeps talking about a thing called Poststructuralism, but I do not think that little furry creature is mighty enough to dig a post hole, much less build a structure.

Until next time, humans.



*In fact, sometimes I think a word means one thing, and it turns out it means a different thing. For example, I thought that the word “whore” meant “woman.” This is why I once described Gamora as a “green whore.” However, Rocket later informed me that the word “whore” means “person who has a lot of sex, often with multiple partners.” I corrected my error immediately. However, Peter Quill was somewhat annoyed when I began to refer to him as “pink whore.” I am unsure why: this seems accurate to me.


Next time on Understanding Literary Theory, Representations And Help In Popular Culture (ULTRAHIP-C), we’ll look at Lacan’s concept of significance with the help of that rascal Teen Dog.

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