Metaphorics of Embodied Labor

  • Barbara Tomlinson


Writers’ “metaphorics of embodied labor” evokes a writing process with little resemblance to the inspiration and incubation stories of the buried life of the mind. Bodies, time, spaces, and the processes of work, growth, and change assume center stage when writers describe their work as embodied labor. Writing is figured by means of metaphors of effort, temporality, rhythm, liminality, and tangibility, by varied acts and mutable texts. The rhythms of activity and pause, of movement and return, fill stories of spatiality, directions, and movement. Some metaphors emphasize large physical tasks such as in mining; others stress small moves and nurturance, as in gardening. Some metaphors focus on physiological labors such as gestating or giving birth. Temporal analogies and allegories reference the inevitable slippages that occur because texts have histories and futures, they are written, re-written, published, and read at many different moments. All these metaphors testify to the emotional content of a shared social understanding of the embodied labor that goes into writing.


Emotional Content Labor Practice Bodily Experience Temporal Analogy Craft Work 
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Copyright information

© Barbara Tomlinson 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Tomlinson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA

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