As Asteroid Donald Trump careens toward America, threatening to destroy all that is good and right in our country, I'm taking a break from my constant nagging sorrow and trepidation about the future, to talk about metaphor and simile. "Asteroid Donald Trump" is a metaphor. It will crash into our country destroying the lives of millions of Americans, polluting the air and water for decades, hastening the warming of the planet causing sea levels to rise and crops to fail, installing an authoritarian government of billionaires for billionaires. Okay, okay, that's the metaphor. Metaphor is a figure of speech which makes an implicit, implied or hidden comparison between two things that are unrelated but share some common characteristics. In other words, a resemblance of two contradictory or different objects is made based on a single or some common characteristics. A simile makes a comparison using the words like or as. So if I say Donald Trump is a lump of cow manure - that's a metaphor. If I say Donald Trump is like a lump of cow manure -- that's a simile. Or turd blossom which has more flowery aspects. Both make comparisons between Donald Trump and a lump of manure. * * * * * * * * * * * But enough about Trump.......there'll be plenty of time to revisit the asteroid metaphor and lump of manure metaphor in the weeks and months ahead, assuming, of course, that he doesn't quit or is convicted of the many crimes I'm fairly certain he has committed. So for now, let's focus on metaphor and simile. "Her eyes were deep green pools of mystery" is a metaphor for all that is hidden behind those eyes you love to gaze into that you can never fully see and that is only revealed carefully and gradually as trust develops between two lovers. On the other hand, Raymond Chandler wrote this in The Man Who Liked Dogs: "His smile was as stiff as a frozen fish." There's something about that smile - not sincere, not warm, not even human. * * * * * * * * * * * I recently tried to write bad metaphors and similes: metaphors are spice for word meat. You've got to admit that ranks right down there with the worst. Pun intended, btw. She had eyes like big round hub caps from an old Buick. Her lips were like pieces of cow liver stacked one on the other. Romance is like two magnets that can attract and repel depending upon which pole is which. Without you I am a dog barking in the back yard at the neighbor's cat. The sliver of the moon was like a sliver of a piece of moon shaped silver paper pasted upon the sky if the sky were something you could paste a moon shaped sliver of silver paper upon. The words flowed from my head like urine flows in the middle of the night from an old guy with prostate issues. Bad writing is like sweat drops on paper. Images swirled in left side of my head in the same way that water goes down a toilet when you flush it in the northern hemisphere -- clockwise. Bad metaphors are the irritating screech of chalk on a blackboard and then you have to get the chalk dust off your fingers. I think I have discovered that I am a pretty good bad writer and hope to work on that.......see my Ch. 1 thru Ch. 5 Has Anybody Seen My Picasso, in several earlier blogs. Here's the first paragraph of Ch. 1: "It was 10 am and I’d just gotten to my office. I was on the third floor of a five story. I walked up the stairs because the elevator still didn’t work even though the super had promised me he’d have it fixed by now. He’d promised me he’d have the cracked window pane in my office window fixed by now as well, but that was still cracked. The crack meandered across the lower left corner of the window like the drunk on the sidewalk below outside the bar with the red neon sign in the window that said “bar.” The crack had no real destination like many of those people I could see on the street below. I hadn’t really laid into the super because he rented me this dump cheap and I had been doing some private dick work for him in exchange for the last several months’ rent." The "crack meandered" is a metaphor and "like the drunk on the sidewalk below outside the bar with the red neon sign in the window that said 'bar'" is a simile. Later I wrote a character "wore lipstick like a Ritz cracker wears cheez whiz." I think that is pretty good bad writing. I was aiming for a blend of Dashiel Hammett and Bulwar Lytton. A friend of mine said is was like a combination of Joe Friday and Garrison Keillor. * * * * * * * * ** * Zane Grey used this wonderful description in riders of the Purple Sage: “The glorious sunlight filled the valley with purple fire. Before him, to left, to right, waving, rolling, sinking, rising, like low swells of a purple sea, stretched the sage.” Nebraska poet Ted Kooser said this of trees: "the trees like gnarled magicians/produce handkerchiefs/of leaves out of empty branches." Roy Batty, android nemisis of Bladerunner Harrison Ford, said this at the end of his four year life span atop the drizzled, bleak, Ray Bradbury Hotel, "All these moments are lost in time, like tears in the rain." Such wonderful metaphors and similes capturing scenery, and the magic of trees, and the transience of life. Robert Ludlum in one of his spy/action thrillers described a hilly, craggy landscape as "the fingerprints of God." Wow. Raymond Chandler wrote: "She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looks by moonlight" – Little Sister. A bit of a synaesthetic metaphor, mixing the senses, but nicely done. And lastly, my friend Greg Kosmicki wrote one of my favorites of all time: "After supper, washed the dishes/saw rain push down a leaf/here and there/ as if typing out a message. I'm sure it was./It's a language we can't live long enough to learn." from - "Message" in It's as Good Here as it Gets Anywhere. I hope that some of us live long enough and wisely enough to learn a word or two of that language.