How to write with wonder and tune into metaphor.
We are all interconnected.
Made of the same universal fibres. Woven into the same fabric.
Life mirrors itself in infinite directions. Energies. Colours. “Coincidences.” At all scales.
This numinous web is the ultimate source of metaphor.
When we tune into this source, we can more easily spot patterns, echoes, hidden meanings — the seemingly random stuff of art.
You can strengthen your connection to the realm of metaphor with a practice I call Deep Noticing.
Here’s a mini-lesson for you:
Deep Noticing IS: Seeing what is without a story attached. Quiet your explainer-mind so you can observe through your body. Experience your connection to all things with a sense of curiosity and wonder.
Deep Noticing Feels Like: For me, it’s a very sensory experience. Visual. Textural. Aural. It’s accessing what can’t be put into words. It can be ineffable as the transparent yellow of morning light, or the scent of gasoline mixed with cocoa butter, or the whispered voices of a character from another dimension.
Deep Noticing in Your Life: Be the weirdo at the table who closes your eyes to pay close attention to the taste of your peppermint tea. Regularly stop what you’re doing and thinking to slip into your body. Feel the ground under your feet, the chair under your hips. You don’t have to worry about capturing anything. When you arrive at your writing desk, you may be surprised by all the details that you noticed: they’re right there, waiting for you.
Deep Noticing in Your Writing: Put yourself in the scene, and listen to how your body feels. How does the air taste? What is your character seeing? What do they feel in their body? The details and images that come to mind may seem unusual or random — trust them. Soon enough, you’ll be stumbling upon meaning and metaphors that shimmer with freshness.
Deep noticing opens us to seeing how separate things are deeply connected.
It makes us available to be astonished, so we meet our writing with curiosity, not fear. Wonder, not pressure.
Dropping into our bodies is a way to drop through the portal, and find our flow. This is what I mean when I talk about embodied writing.
Connecting with this mysterious source is what we love most about writing.
No matter our exact beliefs, we’ve all experienced synchronicities. That uncanny affirmation — like looking up a flower you’ve been admiring, and discovering that larkspur is also known as delphinium, and having your jaw fall open because you’ve been writing about a character named Delphinia for months.
Magic as this is, it’s also helpful to give our brain something logical to do.
Conveniently, a close second to our love of mystery is our love for craft. How we love to be competent, feel in control, and make sense of things!
Honing our craft gives our brain a welcome responsibility.
And showing up with craft lets us off the hook.
The results aren’t up to us to decide.
We’re just here to notice the magic, and craft it into form.
Photo credit (top): Evie Shaffer