Archive for October 1st, 2012


First, a quickie factoid you might like…

Zombie bees are here. And they’re real.

I am not making this up. When I first read the headline “Zombie Bees Discovered in Washington State,” I figured this was a story in The Onion.  But nope.  Turns out the zombies are honey bees that have been infected with the eggs of a parasite, which makes them “fly at night and lurch erratically” and eventually kills them.  Shades of The Walking Dead!

You know, the more I read about real-world discoveries like this, the more impressed I am with the novels and movies and TV shows with storylines that have predicted just such phenomena.

As writers you might also be interested in something my sister the hypnotherapist told me.

She’s taking a course in a new technique that emphasizes metaphors. The instructor is the same man who created it, and what he saw, after twenty years of being a nurse specializing in neurology, is that metaphors have a HUGE impact on how we think.  He’s found that at the heart of just about anyone’s problem or anyone’s image of him/herself is a metaphor.

More than we realize, our brains and especially our subconscious think in pictures. So when a patient comes to him and says he/she is depressed, this therapist doesn’t ask useless questions like, “How do you feel?” because usually the person answers with some useless adjectives.  Instead he pushes the patient to explain what he/she really means.  Finally the patient will say something like, “I feel like I’ve hit a brick wall.”  “I’m locked in a dark room.”  “I’m on a sinking ship.” Breakthrough!  With the metaphor uncovered, treatment moves forward at lightning pace.

What my sister told me reminded me of yet another reason why Shakespeare’s language is so powerful: it’s chock-a-block with metaphors.  Great example: when Romeo sees Juliet for the first time, he speaks in one metaphor after another and another.  When he and Juliet speak to each other for the first time, it’s in a sonnet that’s all metaphors.

One of my favorite book titles is Ray Bradbury’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” which of course is a metaphor from Macbeth.

Then there’s the ugly side of metaphors.  I don’t want to get into gross details, but years ago I was going through a very bad, very emotional time, and the metaphor I kept using in my head literally started taking place in my body, and I ended up in the hospital.  I later read a stack of books and articles on the mind/body connection, and what psychoneuroimmunologists say (and yes, there’s a name for the specialty) is that the body can take literally what the mind is thinking metaphorically.

So tonight as I head off to bed I’m gonna tell myself that I’m floating on air, everything’s coming up roses, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.

I’d love to hear if you have a few metaphors at the center of your life or in your writing.