Replacing Clichés

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is NOTHING.

When it comes to clichés, I feel there’s nothing that can successfully replace some of these one-bite-wisdom quotes, like “Least said, soonest mended.” Yet editors want us to get rid of them, which is what led to the following writing exercise.

At a writing conference, each person was to think of an old gem of wisdom and write it on a sheet of paper. These were handed around and others in the group were to suggest more modern replacements for the given clichés. Yesterday as I was working through my stash of papers, I found one of these sheets. The saying:

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

Bird.shutterbug75
Image: Shutterbug at Pixabay

In other words, you may get lucky and find that second bird in the bush. Or, while you’re chasing that one, this one you have may escape and you’ll have none.

Like the gambler who’s just won fifty dollars. If he puts it in his pocket, he has $50. If he bets it again, he may end up with $100, or he may lose it all.

This can get into even higher stakes, as when employees go on strike for higher wages. They may win the dollar per hour increase — or the boss may close down the shop, which will put them all out of work. Or they may get their pay increase after weeks on strike, but lose three or four thousand dollars in wages in the interim. When put to a vote, they may rather opt for “the bird in hand” and be content with their current wage.

But it’s a challenge to put this in a nutshell like the original saying did, and still get the meaning across. (Oh, dear! “Put it in a nutshell” is probably another cliché to avoid.)

Here are some responses people gave:
— What we actually have is better than what we wish we had.
— She went with a sure thing.
— She made the safe choice instead of stretching for more.

And this practical example:
She didn’t love Harry, but she figured he was better than nothing.
(Poor Harry!)

Here are my suggestions:
—Best grab the first bus. The next one might be full.
Better one eye seeing something than two eyes seeing nothing.

How would you replace this old cliché? Put your thinking cap on.

BOOKS: A Perfect Day

For those of you who are looking for some really good holiday reading, here’s my suggestion:

A Perfect Day by [Evans, Richard, Richard Paul Evans]

The story opens with Robert Harlan striving to move up in his position doing radio ad sales, and working slowly on the side to write a book. He wants to tell the story of love and family — his wife’s close relationship with her father, especially as the father’s health fails. One day he’s called into his supervisor’s office confident he’s got that promotion he’s been working for. Instead, he’s fired for lack of achievement. (And so his supervisor can give the position to a current flame.) He’s furious.

Feeling like a failure, Rob mopes around too long at home. His loving and supportive wife, Allyson, finally gives him the push he needs to get with it and finish that book. So he applies himself to the task and once it’s done he decides he needs an agent. He sends out twenty-five letters and gets repeated rejections.

He accepts his failure as a writer, among his other failures in life, and wonders where to from here, but then he gets a call from one of the last agents, Camille. She and her boss love his story and she agrees to represent him. She visits their home, interviews them really likes what she observes of their love for each other. Camille warns him that fame is hard on a family; he should hold on tight to the happy home he has. At this point he has no worries; fame hasn’t landed at his door yet.

If you’ve ever heard the story behind the song, “Silver Threads Among the Gold” you will guess where this is headed. Suddenly Robert gets a whacking big advance and becomes a success, a best-selling author doing book tours, signings, talk shows. And has no time for his wife and daughter. Tensions build up; Allyson resents his celebrity world that shuts out his family. Rob decides to move out. Later, under pressure from a big shot agent who’s offering so much more — a movie contract even — he fires Camille.

As Rob reaches for the pinnacle of success, and is waiting at a coffee shop to sign the new agent’s contract that will make him filthy rich, a younger man slips into the seat beside him. The younger man begins to talk; Rob is startled when this newcomer starts telling him things about himself that no one should know. This strange man, who calls himself Michael, tells Rob that he’s been tried and found wanting, that his days are numbered. He also tell him that the big shot agent isn’t going to show up. He’s been intercepted and sent elsewhere.

Initially Rob’s a skeptic, but as the days go on, there are signs…and strange e-mail messages…about his number being up. Rob’s alarmed. Where does this guy get his information? How has he infiltrated Rob’s e-mail? Could this really be a messenger from heaven?

I wondered where the author was going with this, but I’m glad I stuck with it. I thoroughly enjoyed the way the story played out. This is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year.

A Strange and Beautiful Flower

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is SLEEP

My replay will be this poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
As I read this, I thought what a wonderful short story this could give! 🙂

WHAT IF YOU SLEPT ?

What if you slept
And what if
In your sleep
You dreamed
And what if
In your dream
You went to heaven
And there plucked a strange
and beautiful flower

And what if
When you awoke
You had that flower in you hand
Ah, what then?

Sunday Scene

Good morning everyone! It’s 7am in my part of the world. Early, but very dark. And very white with all our snow.

I woke up just after 5 am and decided to get up and check to see if the writing prompt I’d scheduled over at Ragtag Daily Prompt had come through at the correct hour — and it had.

Then I fed my cats and let them out, but it’s quite frigid. Saskatoon registered -9 C a few minutes ago, with a wind at 20 klicks (km/hour) making it seriously chilly outdoors for indoor cats. Having my coffee now while visiting a few blogs, and decided to do a quick hello to you all.

Joe over at The Write Practice is offering a special deal for writers who want to join their group. More details here, if you’re interested. It really is a good deal, a writers-help-each-other plan; you can post one short story or chapter every week and get feedback from other writers. You must, in turn, critique at least three other writers’ pieces. I’ve been turning over in my mind whether I want to—or should—spend the bucks to join this group. (One-year member-ship paid up front.)

Trouble is, I’m so wishy-washy, inclined to get all enthused but not stay on the train. And I still have my ATCUSS sewing projects to finish. On the other hand, making this commitment to submit a chapter or story every week might actually get my book(s) edited. Quite a juicy carrot. (Or is that an archaic cliche already?)

The Critique Circle that I joined last year is the same sort of deal, only free — which means that the membership is constantly growing, almost 3000 active members now, lots of stories from new writers wanting a critique. If I recall rightly, you can only submit once every two weeks, each submission costs X number of points, which you earn by doing critiques.

Life is full of opportunities, decisions, dithers. 😉

And now it’s time to get ready for church. I will have a LONG nap this afternoon. 🙂

Of Cliches and Writing Prompts

I recently scanned a list of 681 clichés a writer should never use use. Absolutely passé, we’re told. No longer can you upset the apple cart, keep all your eggs in one basket, or bark up the wrong tree.

Woe is me! I LIKE some of those old expressions; they said so much in so few words. Replacing them is going to be a challenge.

As we toss out the old folk wisdom, I suppose our next expressions — and we will want them — will come mainly from screenwriters and witty sit-coms. And phrases will get old faster; some of the lines we heard back in the 70s are already considered clichés.

Anyway, “too many irons in the fire” isn’t on the list yet, so I can say that I’ve added another iron to my fire, another pot to bubble merrily on my hearth.

Pots.Pexels
Pexels – Pixabay

Or how about, “I’m growing another succulent in my bowl”?

Succulents.katerina zhang
KaterinaZhang- Pixabay

Starting tomorrow, December 1st, I’ll be supplying the prompt word over at Ragtag Daily Prompt every Sunday morning. I hope you will all to pop over and check out what prompt I’ve come up with. 🙂

You’re all welcome to join in: write a response to the prompt, post it, and add your link to the comments.

Fresh White World

“White, White, My World is White…”

Fandango’s one-word challenge: BECAUSE

Our world looks so different this morning because we’ve had a night of pure, fluffy snow.

Ragtag Daily Prompt : WINTER

After a week of spring-like weather, with temperatures descending for the last couple of days, Winter has returned to our land in all its glory. If it were sunny today, we could almost go snow-blind; instead, the sky is almost as white as the blanket of snow.

Your Daily Word prompt: OPTIMUM

Snowfalls like this afford our son-in-law some optimum earning opportunities. He has some contracts for clearing snow, so I imagine he’ll have risen early this morning and gotten his snow-removal equipment on the road.

Word of the Day prompt: RADICAL

When I got up this morning, instead of having my first cup of coffee and keeping warm inside, I responded radically: I threw on my housecoat and went out to sweep off the decks and stairs. You see, we have two cats that are eager to go outside and look around first thing every morning and they need a snow-free place to sit. Guess you could call me a super-indulgent pet owner.

Speaking of radical, have you noticed the drastic change in my blog header and background? The world was white before I signed off last night, plus US Thanksgiving is officially over, so I changed — seasonalized, if that’s a word — the appearance of my blog. What do you think of my new look?

And when I saw the various prompt words this morning, I decided that they’d all fit in a prompt about our weather, except…

Your Daily Word Prompt: WREN

There are NO wrens anywhere in this land. Every wren with a brain in his tiny little skull will be passing the next five months in some sunny clime, along with almost every other small nesting bird that spends summer here. We’re stuck with the dull English sparrows and the magpies, whose bold black & white doesn’t do much to cheer up our landscape. Maybe several blue jays will come back again this winter?

Blue Jay.cropped.jpg
Pixabay

Now I shall take optimum advantage of this winter morning by addressing some Christmas cards because that season is almost upon us. This will be a radical departure from my usual Dec 20th mailing. 🙂

I hope you’re all enjoying your day, whatever your weather.