April 24, 2014

That Certain Phrase

By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine

“I was so close to happy” was the phrase that caught my attention. In our writers group we were sharing in an exercise and one of the young writers, wise beyond her years, came up with this phrase. I am not sure if it was an original or something she had heard but it stuck with me.

Having had a long career in sales I know the importance of presentations using specific words and phrases. It can mean the difference in making a sale or not making one. You must use facts, open ended questions and with emotion tug the heartstrings. Make them think, question and feel. The same is true for writers and this “close to happy” phrase was something I could hold on to.

After hearing the phrase my thoughts were many. So close but yet not there. How sad. So close but I could see or feel what happy would be like. So close so I will continue to pursue. I could only hope that the phrase would not discourage the pursuit of happiness but it definitely could. This is a phrase, like so many, that can be taken in many directions. This is a phrase that writers can look to for inspiration.

Where do you get these phrases or quotes? I find them everywhere, daily conversation, books, movies, sports and the like. When I hear one that catches my attention I write it down. Many of them end up here as titles or catch phrases. Some just stay with me and I use them as I go through life. Some memorable ones are Don Henley’s. “Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge.” Also I like Henley’s quotes on the Eagles breakup, “It was a horrible relief.” Then there is the former President George Bush 41 when asked about a windmill on his property said, “I am greener than Al Gore.” Bush’s maybe not as inspiring as Henley’s but thoughtful. 

When you hear a phrase that strikes your fancy you should save it. Write it down or do as I do and keep it in notes on your phone. You never know when you might use it as a title or catch phrase in future material. Reaching back and finding these treasures may just get you close to happy.

If you have a phrase you would like to share put it below in comments. It may open the door for others to share as well.

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