The figurative language of Mary Grimm….

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a series of images from American writer Mary Grimm….

I’d never before read any of the work of Mary Grimm, pictured above, a professor of English at Case Western Reserve University, and the author of the novel Left to Themselves. She teaches fiction writing, with courses both in the short story and the novel, as well as contemporary literature, with a special interest in science fiction.

Recently, she had a short story published in the New Yorker. Titled “Back Then,” it offered an evocative portrait of a young girl enjoying her last summer on the cusp of womanhood. It also contained some terrific figurative language. I share my favourite examples here:

  • I was four and a half, an elder stateswoman of a sibling, always ready to show off how superior I was to my sister when it came to eating with a fork and politely saying hello to strangers.
  • The morning was drenched with dew and the trees were dripping with it so that it sounded as if it were raining, although the sky was bright blue.
  • We wore flip-flops, and the sound of them slapping against our heels kept time for us.
  • My neck was itchy with freedom.
  • Even now, all these years later, I can remember the feel of the ridges of sand on the bottom, the slight up-and-down-ness of the waves, the black rubber of the inner tubes as hot as the skin of an animal, the jostling of our elbows and knees.

If you’re interested in learning more about Mary Grimm, you can read an interview with her that’s been published in the June 17/19 New Yorker.