CHAPEL HILL, NC—Novelist, playwright, and poet H. Gregor Lafferty, 41, announced Monday his plan to use water as a metaphor in an upcoming and as-yet-untitled work.

"Water," said Lafferty, pausing for effect and gazing off into the middle distance. "It could have any number of profoundly resonant meanings: the flow of time, a lover's secret, death, birth, an archetypal coming-of-age experience, or even a spiritual cleansing. Really, the possibilities are endless…as endless as the eternal yet ever-changing sea."

Several of Lafferty's previous literary efforts, which employed such devices as a wedding dress symbolizing fate and a gas station that represents renewal, have been published in the North Carolina–based quarterly Catawba.