Similes, Metaphors and Phrases by Lani Longshore

Jordan Rosenfeld, who presented a workshop for Tri-Valley Writers on character and point of view, gave a brief writing exercise on creating new metaphors and similes. She presented a list of phrases that had become cliches and challenged us to create something fresh. I thought a different way of saying right as rain could be perfect as a pear. My personal quest has become finding a replacement for dead as a doornail, but that’s another story. Jordan encouraged us to read more poetry to give ourselves the tools to invent new expressions.

I like that idea, but it occurred to me we could also resurrect old phrases. My grandfather said, “Well, bite my neck and call me Susie,” whenever he was surprised. I have no idea where that came from, and I’m not sure I want to know.

My father used a few words that probably came from his father. Slaunchygoggle for crooked or angled worked its way into my vocabulary, as did the phrase a couple three to indicate a quantity between two and five.

I imagine most of us have people in our families whose speech patterns and word choices would open our minds to inventive descriptions. Some of them might even be suitable for family-oriented publications. My challenge to you is to find those phrases and make them fit.

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