Why metaphors are lint catchers for the brain

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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss an blog post written by Ann Betz…

You may know me as someone who’s particularly keen on metaphor. In fact, it’s a regular topic for my blog. Every Thursday I provide a compelling piece of figurative language that I’ve uncovered in my own reading. Last week, for example, I cited several metaphors from Hector Tobar’s novel The Barbarian Nurseries. One of them read, in part,  “…her closed eyes peaceful hemispheres, with her rusty eyelashes as delicate equators.” Isn’t that lovely?

Perhaps my interest in this topic was what lead me to the blog of Ann Betz (pictured above). She’s a coach on the faculty of the Coaches Training Institute (CTI), not a professional writer per se, but she certainly was able to write an attention-getting headline: Metaphors are lint catchers for the brain. Now that was enough to attract my interest.

Here is part of what she had to say:

A good metaphor is a door into consciousness, and when my clients tell me “Oh, I am no good at metaphors,” or “I just don’t think that way,” I don’t accept it. I tell them we’re going to build the muscle, because it is key to understanding themselves. Everyone has the ability, we just need to activate it.

I agree with her “growth mindset.” This is the belief — originally proposed by researcher Carol Dweck — that we’re all capable of improving our motivation, relationships, writing — anything, really — if we’re willing to work hard enough at it.

Like Ann, I suggest you put “learning how to build better metaphors” at the top of your To Do list.

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