Sunday, January 18, 2015

Resolution as Metaphor

This year, I made two New Year’s resolutions. The first was to carry only the essentials in my purse.

I’m a person who delights in handbags. In particular, I like to carry totes, which accommodate lots of extra stuff. As a result, my shoulder and back are constantly aching from the weight I carry.

Hence, this year, I determined to lighten my load.

My second resolution was to drink more water. Perhaps part of this resolution came from the fact that I had the flu the last week of the year, and discovered the keys to getting better were taking the antibiotic, getting lots of rest, and keeping hydrated.

Liquids are very comforting when your throat is sore and nothing tastes good. They’re both filling and moisturizing, two very satisfying feelings associated with a comfortable, healthy lifestyle.

At some point during my recovery, I read in a writing craft book that characters should be viewed as metaphors rather than people. Interesting concept. Rather like the passion plays from the medieval times where audiences were encouraged to associate characters with good or evil.

It made me wonder if resolutions should be viewed as metaphors instead goals. Is a resolution a plan for action or a reflection of what you think about yourself?

What does it say about me that I want to carry less around and concentrate on drinking enough fluids? Are those signals that I want to shed unnecessary baggage and focus on keeping refreshed and vital?

How do those resolutions relate to my writing?

If you travel only with the essentials, you’re not overwhelmed with personal objects. You can watch what’s around you and enjoy new experiences. And if you keep hydrated, you have what’s essential to life. You are, in fact, embracing what makes up most of a human body (50 to 75 percent) and of the environment (about 71 percent of the earth’s surface and about a trace to 4 percent of the atmosphere).

Lightness and water are two ideas associated with movement and flow. They enable the journey and keep the adventurer fueled to seek new possibilities.

So far this year, I’ve been able to keep my resolutions. My shoulder and back don’t ache, and I’m rarely thirsty.

I know it’s hard to stick to resolutions. I’m sure the day’s coming when I slip that extra book into my tote or stay at the computer too long without taking a break to fill my glass.

But, maybe when I stray, remembering how much better I felt when I was following the resolutions will bring me back to them again. Perhaps I’ll read over some of my writing from a time I carried only a notebook and pen instead of my iPad or laptop and wrote at a coffee shop drinking refreshing mint tea. Maybe I’ll notice the easy movement of my prose when I was less encumbered and better lubricated. Then, I can sit down at my computer with a full bottle of water, type from my notes, and feel like I’m making progress.

And, isn’t that what resolutions are all about? Getting us started going forward into the New Year?
Have you made any resolutions? If so, what do you think they say about you and your writing?


  1. Paula, I like this idea of viewing resolutions as metaphors rather than simply seeing them as goals or chores. You've definitely given me something to think about.

    1. Thanks, Linda. I have to admit that it seems to be working better for me this year. I look forward to comparing results with you.

    2. Great reminder to keep it simple and on purpose.