BRIDGET WHELAN writer

for writers and readers….

Don't try to shock with your metaphors – Jorge Luis Borges QUOTES FOR WRITERS

When I was a young man I was always hunting for new metaphors. Then I found out that really good metaphors are always the same. I mean you compare time to a road, death to sleeping, life to dreaming, and those are the great metaphors in literature because they correspond to something essential. If you invent metaphors, they are apt to be surprising during the fraction of a second, but they strike no deep emotion whatever.

If you think of life as a dream, that is a thought, a thought that is real, or at least that most men are bound to have, no? “What oft was thought, but ne’er so well expressed.” I think that’s better than the idea of shocking people, than finding connections between things that have never been connected before, because there is no real connection, so the whole thing is a kind of juggling.
Jorge Luis Borges 1966 interview with The Paris Review

Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

2 comments on “Don't try to shock with your metaphors – Jorge Luis Borges QUOTES FOR WRITERS

  1. beth
    March 29, 2020

    I like that approach

    • bridget whelan
      March 29, 2020

      It’s quite subtle advice – don’t search for the most unlikely and imaginative figure of speech. Go for the right one even if it’s been used before, but make your writing exciting and imaginative…I’ll try to remember!

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This entry was posted on March 29, 2020 by in Quotes and tagged , , , .
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