“I think the reason my stories have been so successful is that I have a strong sense of metaphor.” -Ray Bradbury

Metaphors are one of the most commonly used tools in the English major’s toolbox. If you consider concepts to be the nails, metaphors are the hammer. Which I guess means the piece’s theme is the blueprint. Writers and storytellers are architects and carpenters. The story we tell is the house we are building in your mind. WORDS ARE POWER.

Sorry, got carried away there.

Anyway, I wanted to share some of my favorite metaphors, from some of my favorite authors and people. So here are some good ones:

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances.” – William Shakespeare

“A hospital bed is a parked taxi with meter running.” – Groucho Marx

“So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was a drizzle and she was a hurricane.” – John Green

“Chaos is a friend of mine.” – Bob Dylan

It occurs to me though that, while a good metaphor can be difficult, metaphors are not exactly hard to make. For example, when discussing gender inequality and the myth of virginity, people tend to use this:

“A key that opens many locks is a good key, but the lock that is opened by many keys is a bad lock.” –Unknown jerk.

A creative Feminist replied with:

“A pencil that has been sharpened a lot is a bad pencil, but a pencil sharpener that has sharpened many pencils is a good sharpener.” –Unknown smart person.

The point being that using a metaphor does not mean that your argument is really any more valid. Plus the second person kept with the theme of comparing inanimate objects to genitals in a weirdly unflattering way, and I respect that.

To be honest, to make a decent metaphor you really just need to be clever and/or bored, and those two qualities pretty much sum me up. Here, let me show you:

“The human race is a flurry of unique snowflakes, made of the same stuff and heading the same direction.” –Me, just now.

See? I made that up in less than a minute. No problem. It’s actually harder and more fun to compare grand concepts and strange objects, like the famous “Life is a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re gonna get.” –Forrest Gump.

But I can do that too, watch: “Life is a thermos: hot or cold, empty or full, keeping everything on the inside.” –Me, again. BOOM.

So here’s my challenge: give me a concept and an object, or really any combination. I’ll put it all together and post it next week.


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