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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Real Life Into Fiction-

Experiencing a challenge lately?

A rough time? Romantic troubles? Family issues?  Faith crisis? Hope not, but at some point, we all go through struggles, whatever they may be. A good way to vent is through our writing. We can incorporate some of our 'real' issues into our novels.  How many times have we said: "I could write a book about this?" A common expression regarding an overwhelming happening in our lives.
      Recently a friend of mine had a couple unexpected not-too-pleasant things happen one morning. Her dog apparently couldn't wait to go out, so piddled on her dining room wooden floor.  My friend wasn't aware of that and when she rushed through the room, slipped and fell on the wet floor, landing right on her bad knee. She had to ice it and was in no mood for the number of errands, chores and entertaining awaiting her. She told me, "you can't make this stuff up."  Ah, but  we adding some of her situation into our story.
      It seems to me that even the most outlandish fictitious story originates from a human experience or set of strong emotions woven into a powerful imagination.
      Some authors use their journals as a precursor to their novel. There are those of us who might say, "Oh, but I have such a boring life. Who'd want to read about what I do or feel?"  You'd be surprised.  If we are human beings with human feelings, we are not boring. We are unique. There is only one of me and of you. Our hearts have a storehouse of emotions we can spill out onto our paper (computer.) We never know whose feelings our own will resonate with. And even if we never use what we write about ourselves and our experiences, writing it out is a good exercise in itself. We're developing a style of our own.
So, you're practicing how to pull into a driveway as part of your driving lesson, and rip off your father-in-law's gutter pipe. That could be a humorous insert in one of your stories.  (I actually did that back-in-the-day. My dear father-in-law took it in stride.)  Or, your brother, dad, or husband, left a wrench on the hood of the car and no one noticed it as you all take off for a trip to the country. Then everyone hears a banging sound under the car. Shortly afterward, gasoline is making a trail behind the car. The speed of the car blew the wrench underneath the vehicle and it punctured the gasoline tank. (Also a true story.) I can laugh about it now, but at the time I was fuming (no pun intended.) More writing material. We all have various experiences to write about, however big, small, outrageous or ordinary.
      Of course, there are the sad experiences also, which have fine tuned our empathy and compassion toward others. And which has also allowed us to write of deep heart-wrenching emotions that so many of us have felt at one time or another. Reminds me of, Romans 8:28...And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  We have been called to write.  Our words can move, lift up, and even change the heart, mind, and soul of a reader. We can turn some of our difficult experiences into transforming ones for others. And that's an awesome responsibility, work, and blessing..

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Where Did Those Popular Sayings Originate?

     Do you ever wonder where some of those sayings and expressions we often use come from? I have a friend who took a course in college about the origins of sayings and expressions. How interesting and enlightening that course must have been.

     Following are some of the more popular ones...

Don't bite off more than you can chew: The saying originated in the United States and has been traced back some 110 years or earlier. When an American would say: "Don't bite off more than you can chew," an Italian would say, "Don't take a step longer than your leg."
Never cry wolf:  Traced back to a translation of Aesop's Fables (1629.) Original version dates to about the sixth century b.c. It tells of a rural shepherd boy who twice cried, "Wolf!" to summon the villages when in fact the flock was in no danger at all. The disgruntled villagers then ignores his cries fro help when a real wolf attacked, killing the boy as well as the sheep.
Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing: This adage originated in the United States in 1953 and is often attributed to Vanderbilt University coach, Red Sanders.
On a Wing and a Prayer: The metaphor comes from the image of a damaged airplane trying to land. The phrase first appeared as the title of a song, Comin' in on a wing and a pray'r," written by Harold Adamson (106-80) with music by Jimmy McHugh.  The 1944 movie, Wing and a Prayer, directed by Henry Hathaway, about brave pilots aboard an aircraft during WWII, made it a household saying.
Mind your p's and q's: The original saying is unknown. It's been suggested that 'p' stands for 'please' and 'q' for 'thank you' and that children were once admonished for not using these words.  Another theory is that 'p' stands for a 'pint' of alcohol and 'q' a 'quart. E.D. Hirsch, Jr. argues that it derives from a teacher's request that students keep their handwriting legible and not confuse the letters 'p' with 'q'.
Everything;s hunky-dory: Hunkidori was the name of a breath freshener introduced in 1868. First used in the UK in the 1920s.
A clean bill of health: The phrase goes back to the nineteenth century when bills of health were issued to ships' masters to the effect that no infectious diseases have been reported in the port of embarkation.
I need that like a hole in the head: Of Yiddish origin. Originated in the United State in the late 1940s.
Let's get the show on the road: Originally used by American theater owners to urge actors to prepare for a tour. This show business phrase dates back to 1910 and has been in common use since 1930.
The shoe is on the other foot: Traced back to the nineteenth century. Until then, shoes had been
made different in size, but not in form and people could put the same show on either foot.
Business as usual: Despite the difficulty and danger, life goes on. It was a catch phrase of WW I. In a speech in 1914 Winston Churchill said: "The maxim of the British people is "Business as usual." The phrase has been used ever since.
The buck stops here:  President Harry Truman had a sign saying this on his desk at the White House.  The lotto was and is used by many politicians. Originally a poker saying (the buck was a marker used to indicate the player who was dealing.)
To bite the bullet:  Dates back to the time when soldiers were treated without anesthesia , and they literally bit on a bullet to ease the pain.
The early bird catches the worm: The proverb traces back to Remains Concerning Britain (1636) by W. Camden. First attested in the United States in Sam Slick's Wise Saws (1853) by Thomas C. Haliburton. The idiomatic early bird means an early riser, the first customer, train., bus, etc.

Info taken from: Random House Dictionary of America's Popular Proverbs and Sayings by Gregory Titelman.