grist to (one's) mill

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grist to (one's) mill

Something that initially seems bad or negative but is ultimately used in a positive way by someone. A: "The tabloids found out that you've been in rehab. How do you plan on handling it?" B: "It's just grist to my mill—I'm a changed man now, and that's what I'll tell the media. At least they're writing about me again!"
See also: grist, mill

grist for/to somebody’s ˈmill

(of an experience, a piece of information, etc.) useful to somebody: As a novelist, I feel that any experience, good or bad, is grist to my mill.
Grist is corn that is is ready to be crushed in a mill in order to make flour.
See also: grist, mill
References in classic literature ?
Meantime the fools bring grist to my mill, so let them live out their day, and the longer it is, the better.
Not a week goes by without a new reel of red tape from Defra or a pointless directive from Brussels on the symmetry of vegetables,all of which will be grist to my mill.