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Interview with Novelist and Middlebury College Professor Robert Cohen

Prompt: This week's Write The Book Prompt is inspired by the interview you heard today with Robert Cohen. First, let me remind you of a sentence of prose from his latest book, Amateur Barbarians: "The room, the very world, seemed a vast expectant place, like a house in the aftermath of a party." During our conversation, Robert said, "Metaphor is a kind of muscle; the more you exercise it, the more it starts to flex on its own."  He also suggested that, in writing metaphor, it's important to find "the right cast of mind for a particular character." For example, in his novel, Amateur Barbarians, Teddy, the more conventional, middle-class character, is more likely to see the metaphor about the house than Oren, who has never settled down. As Robert explained it in our interview, Oren is "a renter, not an owner," so he'd be less likely to recognize or conceive of the metaphor about the house.

As you write this week, play with metaphor. And consider Robert Cohen's advice. Work to find metaphors that are apt not only for the material, but for the character whose perspective is being presented.

Good luck with this exercise and please listen next week for another...

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

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