Category Archives: metaphor

Idealism

Idealism (a poem)

When I was but a stupid boy

I had a stupid thought

That if you told a story well

And that story was easily bought

That you could save yourself from hell

If the story was rightly wrought

And the telling would end in joy.

………………..

But when I was an awkward youth

I tried my tale to spin

And awkwardly my words went wrong

And my story failed to win

And readers sang that critical song

And laughter crept right in

And my steering was not strong

My story was uncouth.

……………….

But as a mostly mature man

I tried to tell the truth

And live my life by a mature code

And profit from lessons of youth

And composed a much more stable ode

That rhymed while showing tooth

And defended my small abode.

I executed my story’s plan.


Finally, I wisely became real old

And I warily and wisely began to lie

I made of life a serious joke

And ate my small piece of the pie

I laughed and watched the faces in the smoke

As the fires began to die

And I made the point as I wisely awoke

My story is now told.

4 Comments

Filed under autobiography, commentary, humor, irony, metaphor, Paffooney, poem, poetry, strange and wonderful ideas about life

I Hope You Dance…

When you walk to the front of the classroom and take up the big pencil in front of a group of young teens and twelve-year-olds, there is a strong pressure to learn how to sing and dance. That, of course, is a metaphor. I was always too arthritic and clunky in my movements to literally dance. But I looked out over a sea of bored and malevolence-filled eyes, slack and sometimes drooling mouths attached to hormone-fueled and creatively evil minds. And I was being paid to put ideas in their heads. Specifically boring and difficult ideas that none of them really wanted in their own personal heads. So I felt the need to learn to dance, to teach in ways that were engaging like good dance tunes, and entertaining in ways that made them want to take action, to metaphorically get up and dance along with me.

I wanted them to enjoy learning the way I did.

But the music of the teacher is not always compatible with the dance style of the individual learner. The secret behind that is, there is absolutely no way to prompt them to dance along with you until you learn about the music already playing in their stupid little heads. (And you can’t, of course ever use the word “stupid” out loud, no matter how funny or true the word is,) You have to get to know a kid before you can teach them anything.

The discordant melodies and bizarre tunes you encounter when you talk to them is like dancing in a minefield blindfolded. Some don’t have enough to eat at home and have to survive off of the nutrition-less food they get in the school cafeteria’s free-and-reduced lunch program. Some of them have never heard a single positive thing from the adults at home, enduring only endless criticism, insults, and sometimes fists. Some of them fall in love you. Some due to hormones. Some due to the fact that you treat them like a real human being. Some because they just stupidly assume that everyone dances to the same tunes they hear in their own personal head.

Some of them automatically hate you because they know that if you hear their own secret music in their own self-loathing heads, you will never accept it. They hate you because you are a teacher and teachers always hate them. Some of them, deep down, are as loathsome as they think they are.

But, if you find the right music, you can get any of them, even all of them, to dance. It might be hard to find. It might be a nearly impossible task to learn to play that music once you find it. But it can be done.

And if you get them to dance to your music, to dance along with you, I can’t think of anything more rewarding, anything more life-fulfilling. Have you ever tried it for yourself? If you are not a teacher, how about with your own children or the children related to you? Everybody should learn to dance this dance I am talking about in metaphors. At least once in your life. It is addictive. You will want to dance more. So the next time the music starts and you get the chance… I hope you’ll dance!

Leave a comment

Filed under commentary, education, kids, metaphor, Paffooney, teaching

Lighting Candles in the Darkness

I recently got word that my octogenarian father is in the hospital again for the third time in the last three months.  I am fairly sure the end of my father’s long and epic life is near.  And though I have basically come to terms with not only the coming end of his life but my own life as well, human beings, real ones, were never meant to live forever.

But I do not welcome the coming sadness, never-the-less.  There will always be something in the mysteries of death and darkness that is to be feared… and avoided for as long as possible.

There are many ways to light a candle, and some require no fire.

One of the most important avoidance measures is to light a few candles.  A candle holds back the darkness for a while.  And of course, I mean that in only the most metaphorical of multiple senses.

There are many ways to light a candle.  I have lit three in this essay.  I lit them with my ink pen and my drawing skill (modest though it may be).  And drawing alone is not the sum total of the ways a candle may be lit.

Each of the novels I have written is also a candle.  They may be useless piles of pages that nobody ever reads, but they are the summation of my already long life and work as a writer.  I may not be well known, and probably am not as talented as the better-known writers, but I really do have something to tell.  And being published where someone may eventually… even accidentally read some of it, there is no telling exactly how far into the darkness my light will reach.

And the even-more-amazing fact about the reach my candlelight into the darkness has is this, my candles were only lit because my father first lit the candle that is me.  As I have passed the candle-lighting responsibility on to those who read my writing, and to my children who have many more candles of their own to light.

I love you, Dad.  Raymond L. Beyer.  My next novel is dedicated to you.  Let’s continue to hold off the darkness for as long as we can… together.

2 Comments

Filed under drawing, healing, insight, inspiration, metaphor, Paffooney

Over the Rainbow

oz1

Here is a notion that I find disturbing, compelling, and totally fascinating.  The world portrayed to us through history, current media, and what is assumed to be common knowledge of the facts is all warped and incorrect.  The people who make the world go round, like Glinda the Good Witch, Dorothy, and the Wizard in Oz are all lying to us.

What?  You thought I was talking about something more than the Wizard of Oz?  Well, you were right.  You cannot consider the real meaning of the story Frank L. Baum wrote without realizing that it has more than one meaning.

giphy

You understand that in this story we are talking about a girl who becomes an interdimensional traveler.  She visits a dimension which contains the Land of Oz (a place you cannot find anywhere on a map of the Earth) first by means of an interdimensional Kansas tornado, and later, after learning how to use them properly, finds her way back to her own dimension by magic-heel-clicking ruby slippers.

Not only that but after she learns of the whole rulership of Oz by witches and wizards, she allows herself to be recruited as an assassinator of evil witches by a supposed “good witch”.  Again, she kills the first one by accident, then learns by trial and error how to kill the second one despite the witch’s winged-monkey minions.

Wizard

Nothing in Oz is, of course, really what it seems to be.  The Scarecrow, representing the rural farm worker, has been convinced he is an idiot know-nothing who doesn’t even have a brain.  Yet, in the story, his were the plans that led the group to successfully overcoming obstacles.  The Tin Man, representing the modern factory worker, has been told he doesn’t have a heart.  Yet he is the one with the most empathy, willing to make any sacrifice necessary for the benefit of those he loves.  And the Lion, symbolizing the military, is told he is cowardly, and he believes it, though he is willing to face grave danger and bravely takes on Dorothy’s enemies in spite of his paralyzing fear.

And we all know the Wizard, the man behind the curtain, is a humbug and a con man, trying to deceive others to stay in control of every situation and potential problem.  (I am actually surprised his face is not orange and he doesn’t have tiny hands for signing executive orders,)

So I believe I have definitely shown there is a conspiracy behind the whole Wizard of Oz thing.  It becomes obvious if you match up the signs, symbols, and clues.  But the biggest thing of all is the obvious evidence of making everybody wear green sunglasses in the Emerald City.  The cover-up is the greatest giveaway that there is when something odd is going on in Oz that they don’t want you to know about.  It is the biggest clue that George W. Wizard is actually the instigator behind 9/11.  The Scarecrow is also behind the back-engineering of alien spaceships at Area 51.  The Tin Man is behind the chemtrails in the sky that are trying to undo the damage of global warming.  And the Lion led the assassination team of CIA shooters who killed Kennedy.  I know it all sounds crazy.  But still… if we are willing to believe little Kansas girls can ride tornadoes into otherworldly dimensions…

wizard-of-oz-munchkins

And we all know who really voted Trump into office in 2016.

 

3 Comments

Filed under commentary, conspiracy theory, humor, metaphor, Paffooney, Uncategorized

Sunflower People

20180804_091915

Sunflowers can be beautiful.  They are the State flower of the State of Kansas.  They are also weeds.  I know this because as a teenager I had to walk up and down beanfield rows in Iowa and pull them out of the ground by the roots.  They were slightly harder to be rid of than the hated button weeds and cockleburrs that made up the bulk of farm boy plant war enemies.

To be clear, a weed is a plant that grows where you really wish it wouldn’t.  Weeds can aggressively take over in places that are outside their natural environment.  They can, like sunflowers, be volunteer crops that come up amongst the desired plants, aggressively and with malice, to take away the moisture and the nutrients from the plants you are trying to cultivate.

sunflower-category

A picture from Holmes Seed Company… some people pay for sunflowers.

But sunflowers can be a useful plant in their own right.  As a farm product they can produce edible seeds, and sunflower oil, like soybean oil, has a multitude of food and industrial applications.  Plus, as flowers, sunflowers have a certain hardy and steady beauty that metaphorically symbolize happiness and hope.  It is probably the reason Kansas chose it as a State flower, more than the fact that Iowans hate it as a pernicious weed.

People can be sunflowers.  I know at this point you expect a little Trump bashing, as both Trump himself and Iowa Congressman Steve King are examples of sunflower people.  They thrive where you really don’t want them, and they are very hard to remove from your beloved country crop field.  But hopefully, the system will pull the racist weeds out of the soil by the roots so they don’t grow back right away.  Robert Mueller as special counsel has his farmer gloves on and he is already going up and down the rows.

So, enough about the weeds.

sunnyface3

Let’s talk about the sunflower people we all know and love.  They can be weeds, at times, too, but the most important things about them have to do with their basic flower-ness.  Just because they tend to vote Republican does not make them weeds.  They are all about a primary color.  Yellow.  That is the color of warmth and sunshine.  One thing that always holds true about sunflower people is that they definitely love the people they love, and while living in rural farming communities full of sunflower people, you will be warm in the embrace of a culture that knows how to keep you fed and happy.  Yellow is also the color of happiness.  Sunflower people know how to celebrate.  They get together in large family reunions with lots of grilling and lots of potato salad.  They can sing country western songs, and often play the guitar.  The women get together in quilt-making clubs that produce beautiful works of blanket art that makes you happy on cold winter nights.

20180714_153033

And sunflower people have smiles that radiate who they are in the same way a sunflower does, mirroring the firey orb in the sky the flower is named after.

But make no mistake either.

Sunflower people can burn you with the force of their angry fire if you don’t do the right thing.  Their frowns and displeasure can wilt you under righteous heat.  And they can do it with just a disgusted look, leaving you as sunburned as a day at the nude beach without sunscreen.  They can take root in your life and take hold in a way that eventually takes over, like the sunflowers dominating the flower garden.  You had better pay heed, or your other blossoms are lost to you.

Well, that being said, I’ve already written too many words about it for today.  I know many sunflower people.  I live with some and was raised by others.  And you are probably surrounded by similar blooms yourself.

Leave a comment

Filed under artwork, flowers, humor, insight, metaphor, Paffooney, photo paffoonies, strange and wonderful ideas about life

How Mickey’s Brain Percolates

Animal Town212

I tend to do a lot of thinking about thinking.  I pay attention to what sources of input and images I use to bring the old brain to a boil.  It is entirely possible to turn into a malevolent moron in this age of Trumpalump Twitter Twit-Tweets if you pay too much attention to its anger-inducing misinformation and rage-ranting.  So I have to limit how much I think about calling Trump and the other elephant-heads names.  I enjoy it, true, but I really don’t want to become a malevolent moron.

Val in the Yard

The anti-moron medicine comes in the form of remembering who I used to be and how problems were solved as an educator, mentor, and advocate for young people.  I remember how the times I used name-calling and anger in place of problem-solving tended to only make the problem worse.  If you deliberately brainstorm solutions to the problem instead, I have found that after you test several solutions and have them spectacularly fail, your persistance eventually yields a solution that works.

So when I think about how to proceed with the daily problems of life, especially the age-old question, “What the hell am I going to write about today?” I find that I tend to leap out of the box, think all around the outside landscape, and seize on something silly in a very round-about and experimental manner.

The things I choose to write about in book form are all based on my own real experiences.  But I have the unfortunate gift for having an overdose-level vivid imagination.  So my books are about fairies and ghosts and aliens as well as the kids I have taught, the people who raised me, and the people who have always surrounded me.  I write about ideas in some depth, but always from a sideways viewpoint that reflects my beliefs in non-violence, rationality, and love.

20160127_205542

My mind works like a match in a firecracker factory.  But I try not to use it for evil.  And now that I am done revealing the secret of how Mickey’s brain percolates, feel free to tell me how stupid it all is and call me whatever bad monkey-names you can think of for me.  I can take it.  And when I take it, I most likely will use it to make something surprisingly good.  Mickey-brain tea… now there’s a weird, wild, and wonderful metaphorical brew.

5 Comments

Filed under commentary, goofy thoughts, humor, metaphor, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, writing humor

The Evolution of the Sunflower

Apparently the seed was in the soil the demolition company used to fill the hole when the pool was removed.  It grew in the corner of the flower patch where I planted zinnias, and I decided to leave it, rather than treat it as a weed like I did with the other 14 sunflower plants that grew in the plot where the pool used to be.

You don’t even notice it in the first picture because it was in the back corner of the flower patch and only green.   But it began to stand out more as the yellow petals began to appear and it grew taller even than the gardener.

There is a certain metaphorical truth here that applies to being a teacher as well as it does to being the gardener in the flower garden.  Sometimes in the classroom you have to nurture the student other teachers have identified as the weed in the garden.  And don’t get me wrong when I say this, I pulled enough sunflowers out of the bean fields as a farm boy to know how aggressively obnoxious they are in their weediness.  But sometimes the classroom weed becomes the tallest, brightest, most beautiful flower in the patch.  It shows you clearly what a little patience, a little love, and accepting a lot of risk can accomplish.

I have begun to think of the sunflower as Clarissa, the valedictorian of the flower patch.

2 Comments

Filed under flowers, humor, inspiration, metaphor, photo paffoonies, strange and wonderful ideas about life, teaching