Wednesday, January 15, 2020

OTM 2009 Blog Tour - Metaphorical Reality

CRR Blog Tour – November 2009
Host: Sandra Sookoo Nov.15

[This blog was originally posted at the above link. It is no longer available there.]

Permalink to Tour Posts

Hi Sandra! Thanks for having me on your blog today. In honor of your “seeing is believing” theme, I thought I’d talk about metaphor and reality.

“The moon had no light of its own, and no warmth. Like the window, it could only throw back an imitation of what it saw. It made people believe there was a man within, that it had illuminating powers, when there were nothing but craters. Scars from being knocked around. Disguised by false light.”
-- from Off The Moon

I love metaphor. It reminds me of impressionist paintings and Seurat’s pointillism. It’s making one thing become something else, or it’s a hint of something. It’s poetic and active. Nearly breathing. Sometimes it’s so transparent you can’t help but see it; other times it’s subtle and missed unless you pay close attention. Either way, it’s one of the basic tools of writing and highly effective when done well.

Our characters are often metaphors themselves. They stand for something we want to say. Consider Edmund in The Count of Monte Cristo. Edmund is a very real character, full and complete. He is also a metaphor for rightful vengeance. Or Anna in Anna Karenina; a metaphor for social entrapment.

In the short excerpt above, and often throughout Off The Moon, the moon is a metaphor. I won’t say much about it at this point, for fear of giving the story away,  but Ryan tends to think in metaphor. It could be from his songwriting experience, or maybe he was a born poet. But just as things begin to appear differently within his own life, the moon and what it means to be “off” changes, as well. It is both a real object that draws conversation between Ryan and Kaitlyn and an enigma, sometimes like Kaitlyn herself. Other times like Ryan. It becomes a character instead of only a symbol.

Any of you who read or write poetry knows the beauty of metaphor. We can say something that sounds very simple and easy to understand and yet actually mean something much deeper. For instance, these are two lines of a poem I wrote recently (I’m not a poet. I play in it at times.)

Nature’s palette adds its own paint
shifting greens to golds

Simple. The poem is called September Whispers so it’s easy to see it refers to leaves changing in the fall. However, the leaves are only a cover, so to speak. Underneath, it refers to the aging process, with hair turning silver and newness becoming experience. Green often refers to inexperience. Gold to quality and richness.

There is much metaphor through Off The Moon, as well. Don’t worry, though, it’s much easier to understand than my poetry.

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