• Mark J. Keenan

Pie on a Sunday Morning



Learning is important to me and, in the last couple of years, I have specifically sought opportunities where my writing can be critiqued and challenged. And improved.

There are a lot of ways to learn. Reading, watching, listening, emulating, testing, trial and error. Some are faster than others, some lend themselves to certain situations, and some are just not my cup of tea anymore. I’m looking at you rote learning. I’ve worked out, after nearly fifty-two years, I learn best through doing and receiving direct feedback.


What I have learned recently is that I have a clear writing voice and an underwritten approach to stories. These are good things. I have also been told to allow more lyricism into my work; not that it isn’t there, but that there’s room for more. In part, this means using similes and metaphors; it means not just telling a story, but skipping and dancing along the way.


So how do I do that?


First, I think I need to notice them. Often when I am reading am in another world and, while I might appreciate a beautiful piece of writing as I pass it, I often don’t stop to investigate why.


Secondly, I need to consciously use them in my writing. That shouldn’t be hard. Let’s try one now.


His mind was empty of comparisons, like a fishbowl, recently drained of water, the fish flushed down the lavatory.


Ok, that’s bad. Terrible, really. But hey, it is a simile.


Finally, and rather obviously, I need practice. Lots of it.


In my work, of course, but I think focusing on this could slow down my productivity. If I am to learn to spontaneously create something surprising, beautiful, or funny, I need to do this every day. Until it’s like brushing my teeth. Something I do without needing to be reminded.


So that’s my plan.


Create a simile, or a metaphor, each day, every day.


Write it in my journal.


Read back over them from time-to-time.


Appreciate the good ones, cringe at the bad ones.


Until it’s easy. Like pie on a Sunday morning.