In one of the creative writing courses I took in college, I was writing a piece about the time in the Navy when I visited the flag-raising monument on Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima, where some of the fiercest and bloodiest fighting took place in WWII. On the way up the mountain, actually just a hill, I and my fellow sailors, all of us in uniform, passed a group of Japanese tourists coming down. We eyeballed each other and probably had the same thoughts.
But what I wanted to refer to in this blog post was that, in my writing that day, I wrote that when I looked over at the beach from the trail we were walking, “I could almost visualize the sandy blood.” My professor made a big point of stating to the class that this sentence would have had far less impact if I had written “bloody sand” instead of “sandy blood.” He said that while one was a rather trite phrase, the other said a lot more about the carnage that had occurred there. I’ve always taken that to heart and tried, in my writing, to use little twists like that for effect. I suppose sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. But maybe my point is to occasionally “think outside the box.” (oh, how trite is that?)