Jenny Knipfer–Author

Writing to inspire, encourage, and enjoy

Everyone has a crazy something in life. Living with multiple sclerosis, I feel like I have more than my fair share of crazy. I describe my legs as crazy because that is the most applicable word I can think of. Their fluctuations and bizarre behavior flummoxed the doctors for years before my diagnosis.

In fact, I distinctly remember one doctor visit where I tried to describe what senses arose in my legs. The doctor looked at me with what I could clearly discern as a “You are delusional” look. After a while, I thought I might actually be imagining all the weird and creepy sensations, but the pain always brought me back to home base saying, “This is real.”

So why in the world am I yakking on about my legs? I’m using them as a writing lesson this morning. When I write, I want to craft real descriptions for my readers. They—you—need to live through my words. I’m practicing similes and metaphors this morning. My process goes like this:

  1. (The object) My crazy legs
  2. (What the object can be compared too) a: heart beat of its own, mini race cars, rusty metal, tight rubber band about to break, stump of wood, flesh and blood, fire, corpse, muscle, interrupted nerves

Simile Example:

My crazy legs sometimes feel as if they have a heartbeat all of their own. They march to the beat of their own drum. A constant pulse emanates from within them. It once drove me batty, but now I’ve learned to ignore their constant rhythm. Sometimes they are like tightly wound rubber bands about ready to snap with the stress of being pulled and stretched too far. At other times, my legs branch out beneath me as lifeless as the stump of a dead tree. Sometimes they have no flow and movement, only a stiffness resembling death. I often feel like the tin man from The Wizard of Oz in dire need of a good oiling. I endure one of three modes in my legs. They:  burn with an itching crawling heat, stiffen with the cold rigidity of a corpse, or hum in the background like a constant droning fan. But yet my poor legs consist of flesh and blood and bone and muscle, with nerves like short circuited wires which work—just not too well.

Metaphor Example- no like or as:

My crazy legs have a heartbeat all their own. They march to the beat of their own drum. A super sensitive mini racetrack of nerves pulses within them. They are tightly wound rubber bands about ready to snap with the stress of too much stretch. On the converse side, at times my legs are tree stumps, dead and lifeless. Other times, these appendages of mine are stiff rusted metal in need of lubrication. They burn and are a fire within me. My legs are a corpse’s legs, stiff and rigid, but yet my poor legs are also flesh and blood, which embody bundles of short circuited nerves.

Hmm, I’m not sure which I like better. Maybe a combination of them both. Similes contain more words. Metaphors get right to the chase. I think of a metaphor as a balance scale. You put an object on one side and a similar object on the other with a verb equating the two together. Similes paint a picture using words to describe an object according to other known objects. Each have their place. I think writers tend to use similes more because they draw a gentler conclusive image.

I challenge you today to describe your ” something crazy” in simile or metaphor fashion. I warn you, it might be a little freeing.



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