Among the more effective tools available to creative writers is the simile.
That's when you compare something to something else using "like" or "as," as in, "The night was as black as the ace of spades." Actually we all use similes more than we might imagine -- and we do it for good reason.
Comparing something a person might be unfamiliar with to something known really helps readers understand what you're trying to say. It's also a more vivid and colorful way to write.
Which got me to thinking. Most of the similes we use are pretty generic, such as, "Her mind is as sharp as a tack."
Why don't we have similes that are custom-made for the Rim country? And since we don't, why don't we make some up?
To get us started, I went to a website for poetry teachers called, appropriately enough, poetryteachers.com. Dig around a bit on this website and you will find a lesson by Bruce Lansky entitled "A Fun Way to Teach Similes."
At the beginning of the lesson, Lansky uses a poem about similes that he wrote. It goes like this:
As poor as a churchmouse,
As strong as an ox,
As cute as a button,
As smart as a fox.
As thin as a toothpick,
As white as a ghost,
As fit as a fiddle,
As dumb as a post.
As bald as an eagle,
As neat as a pin,
As proud as a peacock,
As ugly as sin.
When people are talking
you know what they'll say
as soon as you hear them
begin a cliche.
The exercise is to rewrite the poem using fresh, new similes. What an opportunity to begin developing a poetic language for the Rim country.
Here are my offerings:
As poor as a person who works for Rim country wages.
As strong as a bull at August Doin's.
As cute as any animal at the Payson Humane Society.
As smart as passing the school district budget override.
As thin as that California vegetarian who just moved here.
As white as the bread they serve in Payson restaurants.
As fit as somebody from somewhere else.
As dumb as a woman wearing flipflops setting a signal fire with a Bic during a drought.
As bald as a guy wearing a Payson Concrete & Materials cap.
As neat as the grounds at the Majestic Mountain Inn.
As proud as a daddy whose son just bagged his first elk.
As ugly as the purple ballfields at Payson High School.
Use fresh similes when
you speak and you write,
so your friends will think you are
quite clever and bright.
And just to show that the similatic ability of Rimaroos is not limited to the confines of a poem, here are some additional gems:
As popular as the Payson Public Library.
As green as a Payson Concrete & Materials cap.
As green as artificial grass.
As green as the egg salad served in the Rim Country Middle School cafeteria.
As ornery as the mayor confronting the fire marshal on rodeo weekend outside the Ox Bow Saloon.
As slow as a drive down Tyler Parkway.
As contentious as a volunteer fire department meeting in Mesa del Caballo, or Beaver Valley, or Christopher Creek, or Forest Lakes, or ... (add your community here).
As scarce as water in a Payson wading pool.
As thick as the forest around our community.
As ludicrous as a town council member flashing his badge.
As repetitious as a Payson Concrete & Materials cap.
As rare as rain in the Rim country.
As common as closing the forest during a Rim country summer.
As familiar as mold at Rim Country Middle School.
As sure as a school board meeting lasting forever.
As noisy as The Door Stop in the imaginations of nearby homeowners.
As screwed up as a Payson Town Council election.
As dense as juniper pollen in April.
As prolific as the ducks at Green Valley Park.
As tasteless as a dead elk photo in the Payson Roundup.
As tasteless as the Dead Guy Report on KMOG.
As tasteless as a Payson Concrete & Materials cap.
As tasteless as the food at a benefit steak fry.