At one point my life, I self-applied the moniker “Queen of the Metaphors.” Perhaps my crown tarnished a tad due to adjusting verbiage to suit more concrete/sequential folks, including differentiating for students who may not understand the nuances of abstract thought. In other words, I was tired of people saying they needed a translator.
Metaphorical thinking and creating are pinnacles of new thought and ideas. Our ability to communicate precisely and clearly hinges on figurative language: it is a paradox. The more abstract one wordsmiths, the more concrete and accessible an idea may be. However, many don’t feel this way. They don’t see the necessity for poetry or art. Perhaps some feel as if they “should” like it, like a kale or IPAs. Has hating on metaphors become a trend, it’s cool to hate the “A” in STEAM?
In a 2013 Scientific American article titled, “In Defense of Metaphors in Scientific Writing” by Caleb A. Scharf,
“The problem is that while a specific metaphor might work for some people, it won’t for others. This is especially true for scientists themselves, who sometimes lack a sense of humor, or even just common sense. I once wrote about a dying star as being ‘bloated and gouty’, as its outer atmosphere inflates and blows off to interstellar space. I rather liked this. ‘Gouty’ has always made me think of Willam Hogarth, or James Gillray, and their satirical drawings in the 18th century, filled with wonderfully appalling characters. It seemed like a good way to evoke the sense of an aged and, ah-hem, rather flatulent stellar object. But no, for at least one scientist this was all wrong. Stars, they pointed out, can’t possibly be gouty because they don’t produce uric acid…”
Come on, nerds. Get it together. Be cool.
If you want to be heard, speak in the language of poetry. Tell the story. Share the parable. Observe. Look. Speak.
“If you want to communicate facts or information, then stories are a powerful vessel to do so.”
The Power of Storytelling, with Sir Ian McKellen from Catsnake on Vimeo.
What to do with this thought? What lesson plan to package, what standard to dissect? Not sure. Since this idea of telling stories to share information is as old as the human voice, as old as instinctual, creatureliness* for survival, perhaps my gift is to allow the evocation of ideas.
I estimate there are about 1,000 ideas in this brief director’s showreel.
Edward L Dark Director Showreel from Catsnake on Vimeo.
Allow our young writers to follow an illuminated pathway to their own stories–add points of brilliant light, and also, don’t be afraid of the shadowy parts, giving them a chance to find ways to illuminate their journeys. Whether it’s math, science, history, physical education, band, language arts…whatever the course and content…stories connect us all.
Teach poetry in another content area
Have students share three things: a song, a poem, and a piece of artwork that’s connected. When framed this way, boys and girls alike had no issue in sharing. It took off the gender factor.
Challenge their thinking. Thank goodness one of my students spoke up and questioned the title of this piece, and then we had a great teachable moment in analyzing his real message:
Her initial reaction was that she would not listen to him because of the title of the video. The rest of the class shouted out, too, once they saw it, so I asked them to wait. Based on the other video we just watched, we shouldn’t assume anything but listen.
They were glad they did.
I think I’ll share this one, next: