A metaphor is a figure of speech that identifies something as being the same as some unrelated thing for rhetorical effect, thus highlighting the similarities between the two. (the dictionary definition) I remember learning about metaphors in school. I love them! We are advised, however, to use them sparingly in our writing as many of them are considered clichés. I once submitted a story to an anthology call out. To my delight, my story was chosen. The editor asked me to make a few changes including removing some of the numerous metaphors and similes. I thought I was being so clever, but once I removed a good chunk of them or reworded them, I realized the story read much better. By using metaphors in my rough draft though, I developed some great ideas.
In a newsletter sent out by Jan Moore she writes about how metaphors can be useful, not just in writing. She mentions that Creative people use metaphors automatically. It’s our natural mode of communication. I certainly agree with her on that point. I often get strange looks from my non writing friends and family when I use metaphors in my speech.
Jan Moore has written a book called Work on Your Own Terms: Change Your Mind and Change Your Life in Midlife and Beyond which is worth checking out. Written by a former career counselor , Jan writes about how you can create meaningful work that nourishes the soul and sets you free, at any age.
Jan also goes on to say: Metaphors can be powerful guides for living. Writers and artists use them and so can you. Playing with metaphors can help generate new ideas. Here are a few to play with:
- If your day was a colour, what colour would you paint it?
- If an obstacle was a mountain, how would you climb it?
- If two paths diverge in a wood, would you take the one less traveled?
- If a project was a baby, how would you nurture it?
- If your life was a song, what would you be singing?
What would your answers be to these questions? Put your answers in the comments if you wish. I would love to read them.
From one of my favourite authors who passed away last year at age 92:
Words. Words. I play with words, hoping that some combination, even a chance combination, will say what I want.