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by Writing Workshops Staff

3 weeks ago


Meet the Teaching Artist: Metaphor Magic with Marin Sardy

by Writing Workshops Staff

3 weeks ago


Meet the Teaching Artist: Metaphor Magic with Marin Sardy

by Writing Workshops Staff

3 weeks ago


Discover the world of metaphors with Marin Sardy, a writer known for her memoir The Edge of Every Day. In this interview, Sardy shares insights about her seminar Metaphor Magic: Creating Strong Metaphors to Transform Your Writing.

Marin's work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Paris Review, Tin House, Guernica, the Missouri Review, and many other journals, as well as in two award-winning photography books. Her essays have twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and three times listed as “notable” in the Best American series. Marin's course promises a dynamic exploration into the art of metaphors and their transformative power in writing.

With a blend of insightful lectures, interactive discussions, and hands-on exercises, participants can expect to gain a deeper understanding of the role metaphors play in shaping narratives. From dissecting the anatomy of a metaphor to honing the craft of creating original and impactful imagery, Marin's course offers practical tools and techniques to elevate one's writing to new heights. Whether you're a seasoned writer looking to refine your skills or a newcomer eager to explore the magic of metaphors, this seminar promises to be an enlightening journey into the heart of creative expression.

Hi, Marin. Please introduce yourself to our audience.

I'm a personal essayist, memoirist, and teacher of creative nonfiction writing.

What made you want to teach this specific class? Is it something you are focusing on in your own writing practice? Have you noticed a need to focus on this element of craft?

Over the years I've often seen certain kinds of errors pop up again and again in student writing, and among these are some common mistakes involving the use of metaphors. I believe in the power of metaphors and love to use them in my own work, so I began thinking more deeply about how to wield metaphors effectively and how to articulate this to my students. I noticed too that students really appreciated receiving these comments, leading to "aha" moments. So this class is intended to give students an opportunity to take a deep dive into the topic and play around with the possibilities it presents.

Give us a breakdown of how the course is going to go. What can the students expect? What is your favorite part about this class you've dreamed up?

When I say "deep dive," I do mean it. In the lecture portion of the class, I consider not just what metaphors are as a literary device but what they are to us on a fundamental, cognitive level. This part is based on some seminal work done by linguistic philosophers, which fascinated me when I first discovered it. I keep it very accessible, of course, but I think this depth of consideration reveals some exciting truths about the role of metaphor in our lives. And this in turn establishes a firm ground from which to ask ourselves how we want to make use of metaphors in our own creative writing.

What was your first literary crush?

Joan Didion. No other writer has inspired, challenged, and influenced me so much.

What are you currently reading?

I just finished Jenn Shapland's essay collection, Thin Skin.

How do you choose what you're working on? When do you know it is the next thing you want to write all the way to THE END?

To rely on an extended metaphor: I go mining, and when I find a vein I follow it for as long as it yields something intriguing, tantalizing, or beautiful. In plainer terms, I could say that I pursue the questions that arise in my mind on their own accord, until I have found for myself some sort of tolerable response to them.

Where do you find inspiration?

I think I pursue a feeling more than any particular process or subject matter. I find inspiration at the seams where my life meets the lives of others—where there's friction, or tension, or disconnection, or uncertainty.

What is the best piece of writing wisdom you've received that you can pass along to our readers? How did it impact your work? Why has this advice stuck with you?

My favorite professor used to say, "Why are you telling me this?" Writing memoir and personal essay, that's an essential question to ask oneself, as it's what distinguishes a mere anecdote from a work that can offer us something that resonates beyond the text. I still keep it in my mind all the time when I revise my own work, always asking if it's clear to the reader that I'm not just gabbing at them but actually trying to bring them with me on a journey to somewhere new.

What is your favorite book to recommend on the craft of writing? Why this book?

For nonfiction, I like Tell It Slant. I think I like it because it shows you many of the possibilities available to you in the genre without being prescriptive about what you should do or how you should do it.

Bonus question: What’s your teaching vibe?

Enthusiastic and attentive? 

Work with Marin Sardy:

Learn more about Marin's upcoming seminar, Metaphor Magic: Creating Strong Metaphors to Transform Your Writing, and sign up now!

 

Instructor Marin Sardy is the author of the critically lauded memoir The Edge of Every Day (Pantheon, 2019). Sardy’s work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Paris Review, Tin House, Guernica, the Missouri Review, and many other journals, as well as in two award-winning photography books. Her essays have twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and three times listed as “notable” in the Best American series, and she has been granted residency fellowships at Hawthornden Castle, Catwalk Institute, and the Museum of Motherhood. She teaches memoir and personal essay writing.

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