As a journalist and writer, metaphors are old friends of mine. I am used to explaining the difference of metaphors and similes and avoiding the cliche ones. But, in my Creativity class we were pushed into exploring the cliches and depth of metaphors with school as a factory, business and garden. It was pretty easy brainstorming with my group what works were the vehicle to connect school and the different words, but then we were prompted to put it into action. Much like an earlier class exercise, we had to create “machines” with our bodies and sounds to exemplify what these different metaphors represented. The business/school machine was hectic and anxiety-ridden. The factory/school machine was monotonous and eerily quiet. The garden/school machine was joyful and childish. All of these machines were accurate to different parts of my schooling life, though. Throughout my education I have felt nurtured, pushed to perfection or just a small cog in a bigger thing.
Creativity works in a lot of metaphors because of how intangible it can be at times. Creating human “machine” is one way to make it tangible and to show how creative thoughts can be put into action. Besides the many theatric activities we do in class to explore our creativity, we were asked last week to sit and draw our creativity/creative process. As a lover of crayons (which I pronounce crahn in my so-called “Chicago accent”), I was very excited by this opportunity. I was surprised how quickly I started drawing and how I didn’t even really think or plan it out, which is very unlike how I do anything. My creativity drawing included all my inspiration, such as magazines, my family, my logical to-do lists, music and dancing. We got to do an art gallery walk of all of our creative drawings and I was floored by how one of my classmates drew a thought map that almost exactly replicated how I visualize my creativity. I thought I would be embarrassed to have other people see my drawing, but when I set it up I didn’t feel nervous or anything. It felt very freeing to be able to let my mind wander on the paper through the waxy crayons.
Metaphors don’t have to be creative crutch holding you to overused ideas. They allow you to connect yourself and your experiences to other people and things. Sometimes they can create the best masterpieces.