Seeing the World in Metaphor: Teaching Creative Writing to Students of Design
The Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts branch campus in Doha, Qatar, offers undergraduate degrees in graphic, interior, and fashion design. We are proposing to add a writing minor, and one option may be creative writing. To students who are primarily EAL, and who may not aspire to become professional writers, how do we teach creative writing so that they learn it as a discipline and at the same time learn something that carries over into their chosen fields? We can teach them, to whatever extent we can, to see the world in metaphor. For example, students might begin a piece by writing, not about topics or subjects if they are writing essays, or not about "what happened" if they are writing stories, but rather about tiny slices in time from their own experience that engendered in them strong, if sometimes confusing, emotional responses. And they might begin an essay or a story only when they have accumulated several of those unrelated "moments." And they then must write about them all, not just one, and in doing so begin to find the connections among them. The students can discover metaphor for themselves, then, for surely the objects, the people, the movements, and the relationships that make up those "moments" signify something more than the elements that comprise these moments.
Keywords: Creative Writing, Metaphor, Pedagogy, Teaching
Assistant Professor, VCUQ School of the Arts in Qatar