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Feb 25, 2023·edited Feb 25, 2023Liked by Antonia Malchik

I really like your take on metaphors--sometimes they are the key to breaking open a new meaning, but many times they can also be shoehorned into speech in ways that are, what one writer I admire, terms lazy language. Attention to words, the deep meanings encoded in their histories, the precision in a turn of phrase are all a purposeful act that we need more of, it feels like. Also I watched a very nerdy and delightful show about living on a medieval farm for a year and these crazy archaeologists lived and re-created what life and the seasons would mean with work in preserving food, etc. One of the things that stuck with me is how they stored their apples--in the rafters, where a little more heat kept them dry and less likely to rot (?). I loved it for those kinds of details and discoveries the crew made as they learned from historians, etc. Not sure if it's right, but I'm curious to try something like that next time I live with an apple tree. ;)

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Feb 24, 2023Liked by Antonia Malchik

I think part of the magic of metaphors is how they arise spontaneously, as if from our subconscious. It's more than the final product - a juxtaposition of two disparate concepts - it's the inspired process of even thinking them together in the first place. When a metaphor is so established and unreflexively incorporated into everyday speech that it no longer really functions as a metaphor, continuing to use it as metaphor (not just a convenient shorthand expression) can become stale. The content and structure is still there, but it's sort of dead because there's no *reason* for needing that particular metaphor at that moment; we're trying to make the moment fit the metaphor. You can't really force a metaphor, anymore than you can not think of an elephant.

Maybe today soil and potatoes are just soil and potatoes, and then tomorrow some new experience will turn them back into fresh metaphors.

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The estimate of food waste in America is 40%. It sounds like you are doing much better than the average. Final disposition in compost is still part of a virtuous cycle. The potato in all its form is one of the foods I miss the most in the carb counting derby. If average folk simply stopped and considered (which you model so well), our situtation all by itself would improve.

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Feb 23, 2023·edited Feb 23, 2023Liked by Antonia Malchik

I liked your last paragraph so much that I copied it down in my journal.

I too had some potatoes that I had stored (obviously) not well. I kept wanting to save them as long as possible, as if they could make it until March, that I'd win some sort of award. But instead they just got lumpy and a bit moldy, and I had to sneak them into some soup instead of enjoying them closer to their prime. There's a metaphor in there for sure, but I like this idea of just sitting with the disappointment instead.

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Feb 23, 2023Liked by Antonia Malchik

I didn't think anyone else had read Metaphors We Live By.

As for "puttng by" all that food, I was a kid on the tail end of that as a common lifestyle (already abandoned by those who had more money, and by my people as soon as they could) and remember canning season in August on the southern Plains. My parents had lived that way all their lives, of course, including through the Dust Bowl. I think a certain share of the problems we inherited from their generation is a reaction to the difficulties of that life. My mom hated canning, sewing, all that, and my dad never said anything positive about life on the farm (of course he was one of those men who seldom said much at all). I ocasionally saw a touch of nostalgia from them about the loss of community, but not about the physical world. We sometimes think of the overwhelming expansion of consumer capitalism as being about greed (and some of it, with some people was and is), but the way was made easy by a working class that was seeking any release from hardship that it could find.

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You meditation on words reminds me of one of the opening lines-a piece of the purpose statement-of the book of Proverbs.

"...to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles."

For years I couldn't help but think, "Great, I can solve riddles. How practical." Because, you know, Will James and the Enlightenment, etc.

But one of the definitely patterns throughout Proverbs is the pitting of odd, unexpected, asymmetric words against each other. I think one of the points of this ancient text is that words that look simple are layered with nuance and complexity, and a good part of building wisdom (the WORDS of the WISE) is through digging into it!

And I think Aristotle said something (in the Poetics?) about how the sign of a true philosophy was the ability to find links in disparate ideas through metaphor.

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Feb 23, 2023Liked by Antonia Malchik

You have to read The Nutmeg's Curse - I've read it twice and it was so important. We're discussing it in Sciwri bookclub next month, should be good!

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Feb 23, 2023Liked by Antonia Malchik

I will never look at a potato again without the off chance it could spawn a tsunami of thought. Thanks Madame.

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I love this sentence: Most of the time it’s handling language like it’s a live wire.

Because language can be a livewire, sometimes a very dangerous one. Look at the words Donald Trump used to inflame his supporters enough to actually attack the capital building.

And I love the contrast of your discussing metaphor and the use of language -- pretty abstract concepts -- with the reality of growing potatoes in the dirt.

Because we need both.

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We lost an entire crop of stored buttercup squash to mold a few years ago and many potatoes. I empathize. I’ve had similar thoughts about the craziness of our food markets. The frozen huckleberries that took a whole day to gather - have always been eaten “too soon.” I love a good chokecherry syrup on pancakes in January. Never once ate a dehydrated tomato (but have them). Canned green tomatoes make the best chili verde. I’m storing way too many pickles. Turns out you really only need one jar a year.

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