Posts Tagged: metaphor
Autumn is the season of change and, some say, death, as the leaves turn, the air cools, and the nights lengthen. Likewise, Halloween is not just a holiday for costumes and candy but also, at its untouched roots, a day for remembering loved ones passed....more
At Necessary Fiction, Anna Rowser’s story “Breaking Down” effectively uses the subject of recycling as a metaphor to subtly explore what the narrator wants, needs, uses, reuses, and casts off both physically and emotionally. It’s fiction that makes you rethink what you’ve been throwing away:
Despite her best efforts, she was doing little to hold back that day when there would be no more land left to fill.
This week at Recommended Reading, PEN America offers an excerpt from Brazilian author Noemi Jaffe’s novel Írisz: as orquídeas, which is remarkable for many reasons, one of them being that this is so far the only opportunity to read part of the Portuguese-language novel in English translation....more
The grief story: it’s sympathetic, moving, and even cathartic when done well. It’s also a trap for clichés, overwrought metaphors, sticky sentimentality, and hyperbole. Add that to the ubiquity of the grief story, and you get a subject that can be damn tricky to write well....more
There are countless metaphors for love: a rose, a flame, a garden, a loaded gun, a battlefield. We’ve heard them all—or so we thought. This week at Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, Joyland editor Lisa Locascio recommended Amelia Gray’s story, “The Swan as Metaphor for Love.” The title sounds lovely, evoking peaceful lakes and graceful swan necks bent toward each other, beaks kissing, to form the shape of a heart....more
Why do we refer to our minds in terms of seas and cartography, anyway? Find out by consulting your sextant and the first online metaphor map. The chart boasts over 14,000 metaphorical connections, sourced from 4,000,000 lexical data points by a few Scottish researchers who now (presumably) have some excellent new phrases for spinning yarns and embroidering thoughts at dinner parties....more
One thing you learn very quickly as a metaphor designer is that your language and your culture’s resources aren’t infinite. Nor are they as versatile as you might hope. The richness of the semantic resources that a designer can muster always encounter friction from the human brain’s built-in biases and preferences, as well as cultural defaults that block certain kinds of understandings.
A new website called Poetry for Robots seeks to find out whether robots can learn human poetic language. It was inspired by Jorge Luis Borges’s theory that despite humanity’s near-infinite capacity for creating distinct metaphors, we still use the same ones over and over again in literature, like comparing eyes to the stars....more
We often look to metaphor for guidance in our constant search for the how and why of writing. In an essay at The Millions comparing writing to running, Nick Ripatrazone explains that training is not just an analogy for his creative process but an essential part of it:
Training sharpens ideas by cutting away the chaff that tends to accumulate during that long time on the trail, where the mind can wander; training blurs those ideas to the surreal places where art is made.
You could spend hours being creative and find out that half of your ideas are on the Internet already. So why bother pursuing new ideas when I can sell you some that are “lightly used”?
In our daily efforts to stay healthy, to invent solutions for staving off death, have we already put ourselves in treatment for diseases yet to come? Conner Habib writes about his cancer diagnosis over at The Stranger, challenging Susan Sontag’s argument against seeing illness as a metaphor by revealing the ways in which we can’t help but give it meaning:
We reach out to the hand that promises to pull us to shore.
For me, the perfect metaphor for rethinking our relationship to other species comes in the form of a dog named “Human,”owned and “curated” by French artist Pierre Huyghe, in his retrospective currently on view at LACMA. Ironically enough, such a simple act of naming invites deep rethinking of our own human position in the world.
Anne Boyer writes about the history of breast cancer for The New Inquiry.
There is no disease more calamitous to women’s intellectual history than breast cancer: this is because there is no disease more distinctly calamitous to women. There is also no disease more voluminous in its agonies, agonies not only about the disease itself, but also about what is not written about it, or whether to write about it, or how.
In an excerpt from his upcoming book, linguist Dan Jurafsky analyzes the metaphors we use to describe different kinds of food. Turns out humans are pretty optimistic:
The Pollyanna effect has been confirmed in dozens of languages and cultures, and comes up in all sorts of nonlinguistic ways as well.
Neuroscientists are examining metaphors and finding that they’re essential to language. Modern brain scanning has allowed scientists to look at brain activity as the brain employs metaphors from language. What has been found is that the brain interprets metaphors literally. For instance, metaphors based on actions involving the body activate areas of the brain that normally activate when the body is in motion....more