A writing exercise in which Glenn Dromgoole proves he needs a vacation

"The bottom line in writing is, don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and we have to turn over a new leaf and play our cards right if we expect to hit the nail on the head through thick and thin."         

 

In the best of all possible worlds, writers should avoid clichés like the plague. But beggars can’t be choosers.

 

With all due respect, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Between you and me and the gatepost, a writer had better be safe than sorry. Our actions speak louder than words.

 

On the other hand, it goes without saying that, for better or worse, sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees, and the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Then we have to let the chips fall where they may since we can’t have our cake and eat it, too.

 

In other words, we have to fish or cut bait. One has to have both feet firmly planted on the ground to see the handwriting on the wall and proclaim, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

 

That’s the way the cookie crumbles, I suppose. We have to take the bitter with the sweet and overcome a lot of adversity. It’s an uphill battle because the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

 

Not to beat a dead horse, but sometimes we bite off more than we can chew. We find that we can’t be all things to all people, and we have to go back to the drawing board and try to make heads or tails out of it.

 

If worse comes to worst, we can always take it like a man and hope we come up smelling like a rose.

 

But that’s putting the cart before the horse. In the long run, if we burn the candle at both ends, seize the bull by the horns, call a spade a spade, and dot the i’s and cross the t’s, there is not a ghost of a chance that our stories will be as dull as dishwater.

 

Remember, the early bird catches the worm.

 

However, if we get up on the wrong side of the bed and become satisfied that half a loaf is better than none, we are in danger of jumping out of the frying pan into the fire and turning out copy that isn’t worth a hill of beans.

 

Instead, we need to go whole hog and fall head over heels in love with the Mother Tongue. My English teacher would turn over in her grave, if she had bitten the dust, at the way good writing is dead as a doornail these days.

 

It’s enough to drive a teacher up the wall. It certainly isn’t a case of the blind leading the blind. They sweat blood, but when all is said and done, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, and you can’t judge a book by its cover.

 

By the same token, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and that comes straight from the horse’s mouth. It’s six of one, half-dozen of another.

 

What really rubs me the wrong way—and let’s not beat around the bush about it—is the way some writers become too big for their britches and add insult to injury at the drop of a hat by an easy-come, easy-go attitude.

 

Well, I wasn’t born yesterday. The bigger they come, the harder they fall. That’s the way the ball bounces.

 

How do you like them apples?

 

There’s an unwritten rule for most writers that it’s either feast or famine. We’re all in the same boat. Either an article is an albatross around the neck, or we can write until the cows come home. Sometimes we can’t squeeze blood from a turnip, and other times when it rains, it pours.

 

At times like that we don’t look a gift horse in the mouth or cut off our nose to spite our face because some day we know the chickens will come home to roost and we’ll be barking up the wrong tree.

 

We’ll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it, if we don’t burn our bridges behind us.

 

That’s a horse of a different color, and I wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole.

 

The bottom line in writing is, don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and we have to turn over a new leaf and play our cards right if we expect to hit the nail on the head through thick and thin.        

 

It’s a whole new ball game these days, and we need a shot in the arm if we expect to come full circle and pull ourselves up by our bootstraps between the devil and the deep blue sea.

 

Speaking of the devil, you took the words right out of my mouth.

 

Glenn Dromgoole – g.dromgoole@suddenlink.net -- figured there was no way under the sun he could, in good conscience, include more than a hundred common clichés in a single article in a highly respected publication. Read ’em as you weep. Glenn will be taking a well-deserved rest from his labors and plans to be back in the full swing of things by the middle of January. Of course, nothing is certain except death and taxes.