Our metaphors matter
I believe our metaphors matter. They are the ways we can explore our work from different angles, they provide outlets and inlets that we might not find if we only looked at writing as a work of pen and paper, screens and word counts.
The metaphors I avoid are ones that narrow my focus - I tend to raise a sceptical eyebrow at the language of targets, goals and finely-tuned machines. Those metaphors feel constricting, too slick, too focused, not open for accident and wayward inspiration.
When I look for a metaphor, I search for one with the potential go wildly astray. In the past, we've had good luck with journeys, maps, forests and landscapes. This January, we started Continuing the Craft with the metaphor of gardening.
How does your garden grow?
I'm not much of a gardener. In fact, I find it completely mysterious that things grow from the ground. That from small seeds in dark deep earth, green hope arises. It seems to me that mystery is a good starting point for metaphor. At our first meeting, I asked the writers in the group about their writing gardens, and what they needed for their writing gardens to grow. What would be the soil, the sun, the seeds, the water? What about tools, weeds, fruit and flowers?
A peek at some of the Gardens
You can have a little look at what they did. You'll see that some took the metaphor to heart and others wanted to draw pictures of cake. That's fine. Mavericks keep me on my toes. A rogue rose is always welcome to bloom in my garden. If you click on an image, you can see an enlarged version.
Now we are 5 weeks in. We are tending our settings and characters. We have thought about crucial moments like big storms. Each week, the plot that holds our stories changes just a little bit, grows a bit more. Here's what word gardening looks like:
Today, one of the writers brought us all a little something to keep us going: small spider plants and house leeks, ready for potting up. Perfectly timed! I tried to take a photo of the plants at the Writing Circle - if you look carefully in the photos up there, you might catch a blur of green. It's tricky to get a good action shot of a growing plant.
When I got home, I put mine in pots and hope to give them the light, water, and space they need to thrive. Perhaps I'll even read my stories aloud to them.