Figures of speech.
Writing has been on my mind recently. Not just this ongoing “Sparkling Isolation” series, but also some technical writing (grants for my job) and most importantly – a novel I am currently working on. It’s no wonder that my mind sometimes wanders to thoughts of literary devices.
I am often accused of “hyperbole” – exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.
Guilty! I remember once, way back in 1993 in a job interview, I answered a question and one of the interviewers rolled her eyes and said with great disdain, “Theater people are so prone to hyperbole.” I didn’t get the job – not that I would have wanted it after someone acting that rude and unprofessional in an interview. Still, she was right. We are prone to hyperbole because that’s the world we inhabit in the theater. Everything is bigger than life.
Today, however, my mind wandered towards the literary device of the “oxymoron.” The succinct definition of that is “a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.”
Welcome to my world!
My world today feels like a living embodiment of an oxymoron. I feel both productively unproductive and at the same time unproductively productive. Let me unpack that a bit.
Productively unproductive = Today I managed to spend a great deal of time fluffing pillows, wiping down countertops, sharpening knives, rearranging cabinets, etc. All things that needed to be done, but were really time-consuming activities designed to just eat up time due to my feelings of restlessness.
Unproductively productive = I had several time-sensitive projects including a grant narrative which I pulled up on my computer screen and then wrote and rewrote and rewrote and deleted and then rewrote again. It was probably fine the first time, but I felt the need to be busy since I’m being paid to work from home.
This ties in with those feelings I have been having where I am both listless and agitated at the same time. Energy swirls around me and within me in strange, random, unpredictable patterns. I honestly have no clue what I am feeling most of the time, just that I am clearly feeling many things all at the same time. It can become overwhelming.
I guess the overwhelm is largely due to these seemingly contradictory energies that coexist in my life lately. I don’t seem to be able to focus on just one thing. Rather, I am pulled in many directions at once, often without focus, and I feel so many oxymoronic things all at the same time: happy/sad, listless/agitated, productive/unproductive, focused/unfocused. I seem to have become this weirdly contradictory person.
Another popular literary device is “personification” so today I suppose you could say – in a literary sense – that I personify an oxymoron.
It’s only Quarantine if it comes from the Quarante province of France. Otherwise, it’s just Sparkling Isolation.