The Both/And of Metaphor


A line from a lovely poem by Paul Willis—in which he calls an oscillating fan on a summer night a lighthouse beacon made of wind—got me thinking about metaphor for a few days.

Which is why this morning I remembered something Donna Dinsmore once said at Regent College. “God is a rock,” she said, nodding while she stared at us for an uncomfortable length of time. “God is a rock. Mmm. Mmm?”

By then we were ready to agree with her. We all nodded and hummed. It seemed so obvious. And then she said, “But God is not a rock!”

And that seemed obvious too.

Metaphors for writing


Creative writing

is headlights on a dark road

is a way into the forest

is a way out

is a mountain we can only ever see part of

is a mirror

is a hammer to shape reality

is how we see what we think

is both/and

What do you think creative writing is?

(Most of these are floating around in our global writerly consciousness already;
I’m not claiming to have invented them.)