a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable
If you’re a writer, of course you know what the word metaphor means. But you might not know that the word was first introduced in the year 1447 with the book The Ordinal of Alchemy by Thomas Norton. Alchemists, because of the forbidden tradition of writing down spells and secrets of their art, had to be obscure when transmitting their esoteric knowledge to prime pupils. Thus, the term metaphor was born.
It’s exciting to think of yourself as an alchemist who can turn lead into gold. You’re a wordsmith who takes language and gives it meaning. Aside from the very real gold your final creation can bring you, contributing your art to the world brings gold to your listeners in the form of improved quality of life.
My favorite technique for creating fresh metaphors is the “duh” technique (I learned this from Shane Adams). You start with your first object, cake. Think of the most obvious characteristic of the object, as in the cake is round. This is called the “duh” description. Now take the “duh” description and think of something else that has that quality or characteristic. The cake is round… duh… what else is round? The moon. Now think of a “duh” characteristic of the second object, the moon glows, the moon is distant. Now plug those new traits into the original, the cake glows like a distant moon.
Your songwriting is the language of your soul. Look within and transform the world.