Building Metaphors and Explaining When the Blow Over

Joseph Boyden
From Mushkegowuk to New Orleans: A Mixed Blood Highway
Henry Kreisel Lecture 2008

And so maybe these two stories, both absolutely true, serve as metaphors for my life thus far. Maybe. But one thing I have learned as a writer is not to push a metaphor too far. What is the fun in setting something up in word pictures only to go ahead and explain it? Let the reader, the listener decide.
In my reading I note a slippage between pushing a metaphor to explaining. They aren't exactly the same type of activity. As Boyden himself demonstrates in the lecture you can push a metaphor to full blown manifesto. And some will argue that manifesto is a type of explanation. Indeed it's a type of blueprint as demonstrated by the title of his manifesto which concludes the lecture: "If At First You Don't Secede, Try, Try Again".

And what is the fun in explaining this push from metaphor to manifesto? Except merely to chuckle, praise the method evidenced in any carrying through and to go ahead and explain and realize with a wry smile that there's more, always more.

Push it further than too far. Like witnessing a hurricane (New Orleans) or spring break up (Mushkegowuk). There is something sublime in the disintegration of language that has been piled up. It is worth sometimes risking the entropy of explanation [which I hereby distinguish from "explication"].

Maybe I'll consider writing a manifesto for explainers. Maybe.

And so for day 1785