Metaphors, similes and what it’s all about…

Tiny beads of sweat are starting to appear on my forehead as I toss in my bed under the warm duvet cover. I am fast asleep so unaware of the agonizing sounds I am making… “Caviar, black pearls, shiny, salty” I keep repeating words in my head that do not seem to make sense… I cannot get any sentence out of the jumble of letters and I start to panic. Then with a shock I sit up in bed and realize I was having a nightmare… I breathe a deep sigh of relief and manage to slow my heartbeat to a fairly normal flutter.

I sit up and try to remember the dream I was having just moments before; Jeanne and Jamie standing over me and looking very stern and serious with their fingers pointed at a blank piece of paper. A piece of paper I was supposed to have filled with some meaningful metaphors about caviar. A piece of paper that is yet to be written. I look to the left of the bed and see that my roommate Astrid is still fast asleep. We’re still at the plate to page workshop and the topic of today is going to be how to write for a magazine.

Different style, different context and different audience from a blog post. I prop the pillow up against the bedhead and sit up pondering on our days assignment. There are just a handful of people that know that I used to write before I took photos. When I was a kid I drove my parents crazy with my total book obsession; I read any time of the day and if I was curled up on the sofa with a good book, I shut out all other sounds in the room and concentrated purely on the book at hand. I kept reading when I needed to go upstairs or even when I needed to go to the bathroom. Book in hand and continue reading! All that reading at some point let me to start writing my own stories.

I loved to write; I still have my very first story on some crumbled pieces of paper. Don’t laugh as the story is about Simone and Ineke (my best friend at the time) in the Jungle (aha! It was Jungle then already… the source of Junglefrog!!) and I was this crazy kid who could talk to animals. I have no idea how the story unfolded but I was about 7 years old at the time, so let me tell you it was no literary masterpiece… This was also the time before the computer and so I did all my writing by hand, writing page after page on huge notebooks. I still have all of them today and some are actually quite funny (or at least I like to think so).

I wrote my first ‘novel’ before I was 20 years old. It was called Rainbow House and obviously was never published. It was a story set in a creepy old building in the South of England and the scene of a terrible horror story of which the details have sort of escaped me at this moment, but there was a dangerous ghost of some sorts that played the key role here as did the four girls that lived in the house. And it was not a small book either! 500 (typed) pages went into the book that got written and rewritten countless times. So many times in fact, that halfway through the book the plot got lost and time lines were completely messed up to never recover.

I remember following a course in creative writing and believe it or not, I am actually a copywriter (diploma and all) too… It’s just one of those things that I forgot about, never used again and I find that writing is like learning a new language; if you do not use it, the knowledge and the skill get lost over time.

Thinking about writing these past days during our writing assignments has brought all those memories back. The love I used to have for writing, the pleasure of just putting words to paper and coming up with a story. Plus I did write some pretty cool stuff twenty years ago. God, I used to write diaries about all my teenage loves and dramas. And yes, they all still exist somewhere in a crate upstairs. Stacked together. I kept writing diaries until I met a guy that didn’t respect my privacy, read and misused those journals and I stopped writing them since. I don’t miss the diary writing. I think that was useful when I needed it during the turbulent times of my life but now that I am older (o jeez, that sounds like I am 80 right now..) I don’t feel the need anymore to write about day to day life. Instead I write a blog, a blog about food predominantly and isn’t that a diary of sorts?

And then the thought about metaphors and similes comes back to me… I realize I am not good at using metaphors nor similes and I write pretty straightforward without a lot of adjectives. Is that good, is that bad? I don’t know but it’s just the way I know how to write.

I swing my legs over the edge of the bed and sneak out of the room for a quick shower before everyone else in the apartment wakes up. Another day at the Plate to Page workshop is about to start.

Simone van den Berg

Food- and travelblogger from the Netherlands. Loves good food. Loves to taste good food the world over. She also loves to share travelstories, delicious recipes and ok, cat pictures too. She sometimes feels the need to get really healthy for a while, always mingled with periods of insanely delicious sweets and other decadent treats. Lives together with Tom and their two cats; Humphrey and Buffy. Profession: Food photographer

24 comments

  1. Simone- I love the way you write. It is real and honest and your voice…is the best. A blog is a diary I think be it about food or anything else. You are right about the writig though, if you do not do it every day you get a little lazy and the words suffer for it….but you still got it! Looking forward to reading lots more now.
    Móna xxx

  2. *sigh* I miss you roommate! and I miss our early morning talks with fresh brewed “Simone” coffee… I like your writing style – metaphors and similies or not…
    when I read that part about reading I was thinking for a second “she is writing about ME” :o)

  3. A great post! I love your way of writing. Straighforwarness in style is awesome too.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  5. Having met you I can hear the way you would be reading this. It’s very much you and it’s lovely. Straightforward and pure just like you! Love the shot with the whole garden in the glass ;o)

  6. Simply beautiful Simone – and I love your style, metaphors or not 🙂

  7. Simone, you write just like you are – as Mona says – honest, straightforward and with the light, bouncy, happy emotions that always exude from you. I love the immediacy of your writing but just reading this one post and I can see how you have improved, searching out for words and thinking of your language even as you haven’t changed your style one jot. But it is kind of scary to think that Jeanne and I are haunting yours dreams! But, baby, if I had only known that you used to be a writer…. oooh would we have really stood over you with a whip! Ha ha ha!

    Never change, Simone, your writing and your photo styles are perfect. Evolve, develop, but never change. You are perfect! xo

  8. I think you have not lost your writing skills at all.

  9. I am loving all the all the stories from Plate to Page! What a wonderful workshop and gathering 🙂 I think your straightforward way of narrating a story really puts the reader right there with you…for which I am happy until I can get to one of those workshops myself!

  10. I love the way you write! Your writing obsession in the early years of your life paid off I think.

  11. Simone..I would love to read that Rainbow House! I think you should send it to publishers and see what happens. Love me a good chiller!

    On another note, your entry about Plate to Page was such a pleasure to read, and the photos showed happy people dedicated to the art and beauty of their blog. I hope I can attend the next one, as this is what I’m looking for – creativity, flow, being ourselves and not catering to what the masses want, for money.

  12. I think the hardest part about blogging is the writing…just finding the right balance of “being yourself” and expressing some creativity. I love your style Simone…keep it up!

  13. It’s never too late to get back to our passions. I used to write a lot too, but not it seems like even writing a blog post is a monumental chore. Hehe. I love how you express yourself in this post. You’re certainly a great writer.

  14. What a great event! And, how interesting that you were a writer prior to being a photographer. I’m always so impressed with people who really enjoy writing–it’s always a chore for me!

  15. Oh Simone, you just gave me goosebumps. I kept a daily diary every day from when I was about 11 – and then a guy that I was dating read my current diary when I was in my 20s – and since then I find myself self-censoring my diary which made it pointless and so I mostly stopped.

    I love how you write because your voice is authentically YOURS! Like you, I am not big on metaphors or adjectives, but more about squeezing in a pun or a joke – which is also pretty much how I talk (as you by now know!!). I love that Plate 2 Page made you remember your old writing days and I hope that I got my message across that there is no correct way to write, only YOUR way – and that’s what we love about you.

    So thrilled that I finally met you in person and really hope we can meet up again soon.

  16. Hi Simone
    I’m riveted by your story (our instructors, fingers pointed and pushing us to the limits- we can all relate),the diary writing and your journey with words. I’m not surprised at all that you’re a qualified copy writer- you’re a woman of many talents. I loved sharing jokes with you over dinner, having you handle my equipment (the Neeeekon, sorry to disappoint you) and chatting over the weekend. I’m so glad we met and can’t wait to read your next post (no pressure of course. As you may have noted, I returned last night and haven’t done a single one. *gulp*)

  17. Oh the event sounded informative, I must look into this myself. Enjoyed your many words…now you can stop sweating and sleep!

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  21. It sounds like you have quite the imagination, and you’re definitely a talented writer. I love that your first story was in the jungle…it was meant to be

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