Spit Polishing an Old Penny

by Melissa Borg
April 23, 2012

To write well I must be able to take a common phrase and spice it up so readers don’t yawn. So it’s time to reinvent an old and worn phrase.  There are so many to choose from: “The early bird gets the worm,” “Come hell or high water,” “He/She’s easy on the eyes,” and numerous others.

I’ll try “Hanging by a thread,” and see what I can come up with. First, what does the phrase mean? To me “hanging by a thread” means a person is in a tight situation and if it wasn’t for a lifeline they would be devastated.

  • Hope is a thin but tough thread to dangle on.
  • The lifesaver keeps me tethered to the boat.
  • A spider’s web string from the ground.
  • A feather weight more and I’d be lost.
  • A breath away from disaster.
  • Lifeboat between me and the tidal wave.
  • Tossed into the waves, just me and my arm floaties.
  • Me and my arm floaties against the ocean waves.

Now not each of these would work in every situation but I have to say my two favorites are the first and the last. The first because I like that it focuses on the hope of dangling by a thread and the last because it is a great visual image.

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