Fairy Lights: A Reflection on Brokenness at Christmas Time.

I wrote this poem a while ago, but it seems so relevant at this point of 2020. Every time my Christmas fairy lights flick on lately, I think of this poem.

It’s the time of year when people want me to attend parties and end of year gatherings for work or other groups. They want me to sparkle, but I feel as though I am still so tangled and frayed and broken, I just can’t.

Yet again, I find myself ‘faking normal’ and smiling and nodding while wishing I could go home and go to bed instead. It’s a well-practised skill that, quite honestly, I wish I had never had to learn in the first place.

Hence my choice of new Christmas decoration, hung lovingly on my tree in honour of the mess that 2020 has been.

It’s fair to say I enjoy this bauble far more than I have enjoyed this year.

Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

Just like a bundle of fairy lights, stowed carelessly,

I am a mess of entangled emotions

A jumbled catastrophe, knotted and messy,

Some parts are missing, some coloured glass broken;

Synapses misfire in slightly frayed wires:

There’s danger in causing my power to surge,

I don’t always light up the way others desire

But I can be quite lovely when I have the urge.

©2017 Joanne Van Leerdam

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Dysphemism.

Euphemism— using neutral or pleasant terms in place of offensive or negative terms— has been mentioned multiple times on this blog.

Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

Most people, though, have never heard of dysphemism, which is the opposite practice: using harsh or negative terms in place of neutral or positive language.

To refer to dying as “passing away” or “graduating to heaven” is euphemism.
To refer to it as “kicking the bucket” or “carking it” is dysphemism.

To refer to having a cold as “being under the weather” is euphemism.
To refer to it as “having the plague” is dysphemism.

English is full of examples of dysphemism. What’s your favourite?
Alternatively, is there one you really dislike?

Dysphemism.
#language #EnglishLanguage #blog

What Do You Say When People Try To Tell You What You Already Know?

This morning I heard someone use the phrase “preaching to the converted” in reference to someone insisting on telling another person something they already knew and believed.

My mother used to use that phrase all the time, while my usual idiom in response to that behaviour is “singing to the choir”.

Image by Mariamichelle on Pixabay.

It got me wondering: are there any other common phrases for that kind of behaviour? And do they all relate to religious practice, or are there others drawn from other aspects of life?

I asked a few friends who have different interests in life if they knew of any others. They made some great suggestions:

“That horse has already bolted” and ‘flogging a willing horse” are both metaphors drawn from the world of horse-racing. This is definitely not religious imagery… unless you’re Australian, in which case, it could be.

“I’ve already picked up what you’re putting down.” This seems to be a metaphor related to card games.

“We’re beating the same drum” and “We’re singing from the same song sheet” are both appealing musical images.

Similarly, one could say “We’re on the same page.” Exactly which page that is remains helpfully unclear, allowing for some flexibility of reference and application.

I’d love to know if you use or know of any other such terms, particularly if you are from somewhere other than Australia, or if we all say similar things.

In case you were wondering:

Idiom: a popular expression or way of saying something that has significance other than its literal meaning.
Idiom is often specific to a particular language or a particular group of people.

Metaphor: an image that sounds literal, but is understood not to be a literal statement.
For example, someone “singing to the choir” may neither actually be singing, nor in the presence of a choir.

What Do You Say When People Try To Tell You What You Already Know? #language #words #images