…or phrases that have stayed in your mind for a long time – from songs, from poems, from conversation.
I was a bit uneasy when the paper that I pulled out of the jar was folded over more than twice. In the overflowing, experiment-filled jar that sits on my desk, threatening to administer numerous papercuts, I chose the paper knowing that I couldn’t just put it back in the jar and pick another. What does Mayer have for me today? I held my breath and unfolded.
Huh, not too bad.
Many phrases and lyrics dominate my everyday speech. I run with a crowd who quotes films accurately word-for-word and in perfect context. If someone stutters, inevitably you’ll hear a “T-t-t-t-today, Junior!” During a night out, if someone has hit the sauce too hard, you might recognize a Fear and Loathing reference. I’ve often wondered how it is that I can remember such random lines from films but yet long division still eludes me. Rene Descartes wrote “It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.” So if it is my mind’s ambition to remember and utilize seemingly useless quotes in moments of humor, I may as well accept it. Here is what I was able to organically compile in 24 hours:
We live this shit.
What’s good, what’s poppin,’ what’s crackin,’ what it is, how you livin,’ what’s happenin.’?
Right here, right now.
The dude abides.
Bum-bum-bumblebee, bumblebee tuna.
A beautiful girl can make you dizzy…
Nothing changes but the seasons.
Do it for the fat lady.
Curiouser and curiouser…
Stick that in your back pocket.
Hello? I’ll be right there.
Follow that car!
Do you want me to fight for you?
Maybe it’s a sign.
Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul…
Always begin right where you are and work out from there.
Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.
Here’s what’s happening in your neck of the woods.
Nothing gold can stay.
As I reviewed this compilation to publish on the blog, I was intrigued by the varied origins of the phrases. Rap songs, Salinger, news headlines, film quotes, commercial jingles, etc. Some of the phrases are very personal. Most are pop culture references, lines of poetry, and original prose that I hope to integrate in my own writing. For example, I came up with warm sarcophagus years ago and haven’t yet managed a way to weave it into fiction.
Chocolate baby arose from a story that I heard from a co-worker. Being a younger grandmother, she asked her toddler grand-daughter what she wanted for Christmas. The child simply answered “Chocolate baby.” Everyone in the family scratched their heads wondering what this could mean. A baby-shaped morsel of chocolate? A doll that’s not white, but of color? The family went with the latter and the child was pleased; the doll is affectionately known as “Chocolate baby.”
Do it for the fat lady is the particular quote from my favorite book Franny and Zooey that I could easily recall. The novel single-handedly changed how I viewed the world as a high school senior, as I instantly identified with Franny Glass. To this day, I wish that I could develop characters as Salinger did in his novels: highly complex, philosophical, and self-deprecating.
When I began to concentrate too hard on what phrases to write down, I stopped. I also kept them in the sequence in which they were recalled. I read Vatican breakdown scrolling across the bottom of the television screen during a news broadcast. I laughed and said “Perfect band name!” I wrote it down. This might be a useful list to refer back to during my writing. I have recently realized that I enjoy writing dialogue for my characters in the fiction that I write, so if I can use one of these phrases, this experiment may be a success.