Friday, March 25, 2016
The trail home
I adore analogies and use them all the time. What is language, after all, but a kind of tapestry of analogy. So too are all stories analogies, in their way, just not usually particularly direct analogies. Analogies, I believe, don't lock down the understanding of things. They open them out and allow for wider and deeper ways of looking. But I accept that perhaps I use analogies too much of the time. For instance there is one particular analogy I love to use at the front desk of my library...
When patrons at my library are concerned about getting a replacement library card, and they fear that important information or requests on their library account will somehow get lost in the exchange, I use the house key analogy.
Here it is:
Your library card is like a key. Your library account is like a house. So when we change your library card (and your library card number) we are merely changing the key to your house, but your house and everything in it remains exactly the same.
I give this analogy with great gusto, and usually with quite a few more words than in the above, and I endorse it all with number of enthusiastic hand gestures. And while to me it is the clearest and most perfect analogy, I always seem to catch a glint of confused alarm in the eye of the person I am giving the analogy too. When I'm done talking and gesturing to the person it always looks as if they're about to ask a question, and then they think better of it. Then they sort of drift away.
Maybe I'm too enthusiastic about the analogy. Maybe analogies are terrible ways to communicate things. But I still believe.
Here is an analogy for clerkmanifesto:
Writing every day a short essay for clerkmanifesto is like laying a trail of breadcrumbs away from myself. And when I am done they show me the way home.
I think this is why birds show up here so much.