Posted in Facebook, journaling, social commentary

How About Them Apples or I Would Rather be Dancing

Apple of my eye

Idioms – they’re everywhere. Idioms are related to clichés because they are easy to use. Everyone does it. If you’re guilty as charged your editor will most likely slash the bad apple phrases right out of your content. Sometimes idioms get the point across, but they become annoying after a while. We all have a tendency to talk like others in our cultural groups and to copy what’s in style…like getting a tattoo, I imagine. Call me stuffy. Cool often eludes me.

Right now I despise writing prose. I’m completely stuck in the Facebook-y idioms of my own writing so I decided to make a post out of the problem.

“Best-selling” authors publish breezy, informal buzz phrase writing while my mind is deep in the catacombs and works of Carson McCullers and Florida Scott- Maxwell.

Journal prompt 1: Take a subject like apples and see how many idioms or proverbs you can think of.

  • Well how do you like them apples?
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
  • One rotten apple spoils the barrel
  • You are the apple of my eye
  • It’s like comparing apples to oranges.
  • Don’t upset the apple cart.
  • As American as apple pie
  • The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree
  • Life in The Big Apple

Journal prompt 2: Take a phrase such as “He was the apple of my eye” and write a paragraph using your own words.

Example: I met Mortimer at the dance in high school. It seemed as if he was looking at the popular buxom cheerleader dancing with her quarterback boyfriend. Everyone glanced around at each other. Lisa and I tried to appear disinterested in the scene. I was horrified when Mortimer turned his attention to me, working his way over to where we were standing and asked me to dance. Since that night he stayed nestled in my psyche and I was unable to let him go. He was my main love. No one else would do.

Notice how common phrases are used in mainstream media.

True story: I took a required government class in community college back in the ‘80’s. The course content was rigorous and boring. I sat next to a lady who had the same sense of humor as me. We started reading sexual innuendos into everything the teacher said. Once we started laughing quietly we couldn’t stop. Nobody else seemed to be aware of why we were becoming less than scholarly. It was painful and embarrassing. I’d never experienced that kind of fear. Have you ever tried to control your fits of laughter in a formal setting? Now as I sit at the desk trying to write, nasty innuendos keep jolting me out of my writing voice. Maybe my memoir is supposed to be funny. Since I’m in a word slump here are some overused phrases that make me cringe, and it’s my own damn fault that I use them myself.

  • Who knew?
  • Having said that, blah, blah, blah
  • That said, blah, blah, blah
  • At the end of the day
  • How cool is that?
  • The silence was palpable
  • The rest is history
  • My heart dropped
  • He caught my eye
  • Smooth as silk
  • Huddled together
  • Frozen stiff
  • He stole my heart
  • Cold eyes
  • Cold heart
  • Baby blue eyes
  • You could cut the tension with a knife
  • They were like two peas in a pod
  • His hopes were dashed
  • Our eyes locked
  • She was the cream of the crop
  • Bite the bullet
  • Ummm…
  • I digress
  • We’re not out of the woods yet
  • You get the picture

anal words

Hopefully this deluge of pet peeves won’t last long. The other pages of examples are hidden away for right now.

Happy journaling!

Art and collage by Susan E. Rowland


I made it this far and plan to keep going. I believe nature heals the soul. I love to journal, to write, do art, and music. I'm not afraid to tackle tough subjects. Solar-powered & drive hybrid. Trying to do my part. Earned my BA at 53. And, I believe, it's never too late to have a happy childhood.

4 thoughts on “How About Them Apples or I Would Rather be Dancing

  1. Hi Cheryl, thanks for stopping by. Actually I had to shorten the post as it was becoming too much of a rant. Chuckles…. and no shame!!!! Do you have a list of peeves? Feel free to share them here! I have your novel on my TBR list. What is going on in your neck of the woods? HELP, I can’t stop!!!! 🙂 Happy writing!

  2. Your journaling prompts are always so creative and thoughtful. This one “kills two birds with one stone.” 😉 Journaling and cliche-busting. Forcing us to work toward original thinking. Saying what *we* mean, rather than what others have meant over the ages when they used those cliches.

    I just read that one reason to eliminate cliches from our writing is that the brain skips over them anyway! It’s as if the brain is in effect saying, “This is garbage; this is nothing new. I don’t need to absorb it.

    I’ll send the link to the article if I can find it.

  3. Hi Lynette- funny woman. Thanks for the compliment. Maybe there is a creative method to pick through the language garbage bin and use the words in a new way. It’s an ever challenging battle. :-/ One trip to the library seems to be a healing balm for my cliché blues. “It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.” -Ernest Hemingway.

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