The figurative language of Gene Fowler…

Reading time: Just over 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a series of similes and metaphors from Gene Fowler….

Gene Fowler was always eminently quotable. My favourite line of his is: “Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”

Born in 1890 (he died in 1960), Fowler was an American journalist, author, and dramatist. Known for the speed of his writing, Fowler was as at home in the wilds of Colorado as he was on Hollywood sets. He eventually moved to New York where he worked for the New York Daily MirrorNew York Evening Journal and as managing editor of the New York American and The Morning Telegraph.

Gene Fowler wrote more than a dozen books and I’m exceptionally grateful that my reader Bill Spaniel sent one of them to me, a 1933 book titled Timber Line: A Story of Bonfils and Tammen.

Here are my favourite examples of the figurative language Fowler used:

  • The Senator was a mouse-colored burro, with one lop-ear which lent its port side a docile quality, entirely misleading, if not actually libelous. The other great ear stood like a member of the Coldsteam Guards, forever hearkening to some oracular summons inaudible to humans.
  • I’m sure he was clairvoyant, for he could foretell a rattlesnake half a mile away.
  • The Senator had legs of the Queen Anne period of furniture, and his feet were as dainty as Cinderella’s — albeit more lethal.
  • From a distance, timer line is a strangely level hedge. The peaks rise baldly, a congregation of tonsured monks.
  • She clutched his arm. She began to fumble at his sleeve, fingering it as though it were an oboe.
  • The aspen stumps, from which these amazing engineers [beavers] had gnawed logs for their dams, protruded from the frozen earth like fat pencils.
  • The high world was awaiting its first general snow — often the heaviest of the year. It would swirl from heaven in a chokingly fine, directionless blast — snow as fine as confectioner’s sugar.

I was unable to find a royalty-free photo of Fowler to illustrate this post, so I contented myself with a photo of a mouse-coloured burro with apparently uneven ears.

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