Monday, 30 July 2012

The Metaphorical Outline of the Everyday

Soho in the early morning. Almost empty. People disinfecting steps. Doors open to receive deliveries or take bags of rubbish. Boxes and trays of vegetables left outside unopened restaurants. Setting up stalls in Berwick Street market. All this I prefer to Soho in the evening. Partly, no doubt, because of a preference for stillness (urban not rural)  over commotion. But also because this early morning Soho is a metaphorical outline of Possibility. Clearing the ground for something new. This quiet time, the quiet of a before rather than an after, 'the morning coming to consciousness,' is something I find appealing. It gives me an immediate, living metaphor for a sense of potential. And if, in Soho, I think about the idea of possibility then I am following what has already been given me in reality. If I open a new page in my notebook then this seems to mirror what is taking place outside. This seems rather obvious and perhaps it is.

To try another example, there are two cafes I go to in Soho before work, but I have a strong preference for the one over the other. The other is narrow, with little space between your table and the counter. The view onto the street is restricted, and the street itself is busy with market traders setting up stalls. If you try and write your thoughts feel cramped, blocked. The prefered cafe, on the other hand, is on an unexpected and quiet sidestreet. More spacious, airy, the full-length front window folds back completely, removing the barrier to the street. And you have the vignette of an alley through which Soho square can be glimpsed as a rectangle of greenery and sunshine. This, incidentally is the view pictured at the top of this blog. We might say that this is a metaphorical outline of what (for me) thought requires: the protection afforded by an interior but openness to and commerce with the outside; the alley is a vista focusing the gaze.The actual cafe traces a metaphorical outline of thought itself, and this is in part why I find it more condusive to writing.

Of course, it is only when I am thinking about why I prefer the cafe, or Soho in the morning, that the idea of a metaphorical outline is posited. Ordinarily it remains mute and implicit. It is only thinking which translates it into language. It is one of those silent metaphors which, i think, help organise or signpost our day.

[More on this idea, hopefully, later]

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