Not Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth
Quite a few years ago, I worked for someone who could not form an idiom correctly to save her life. My boss, whom I’ll call Rosalba because, well - her name was Rosalba - was born in Italy, but came to the United States many years ago, when she was close to ten years old. Her English was flawless, except that she threw idioms around like tennis balls and like those bright yellow orbs, they always bounced back on her. Idioms just did not make sense, she told me. But they flew from her mouth all the time.
A few of my favorites include:
“You look like the cat who ate the hat” – said while making a finger-rolling motion in front of her face to indicate…hat-eating?
“We’ll be up the river without a kazoo” – yes, she actually said this.
“You’re going to Hell in a hen basket”
Her staff loved when these little gems made an appearance, and I told her countless times that I was keeping track of these and would put them in a book one day.
“One day” has come.
When I began writing my newest novel, After the Glitter Fades, I knew that I wanted to incorporate some of Ro’s idioms into the story to add some comedic relief from the drama of the story. What started out as a kernel of an idea blossomed into Rosella Armetta, the Italian-American mother of lead character, actress Siena Armetta. Rosella and idioms have a complicated relationship, and her family delights in hearing her say things like, “You’re the apple of my heart,” and “up the river without a kazoo,” among others.
Rosella has taken on a life of her own, and I’m so pleased that I was finally able to incorporate this terrific aspect of someone’s personality into one of my characters.
I hope that, with Rosella, I’ve hit the nail on the head.
After the Glitter Fades is available as Kindle version and paperback. Coming soon to Audible.