My oldest son came into the kitchen yesterday morning and shared a great morning story with me. He preempted with “You know I ‘always‘ take my contacts out at night before I go to bed, right?” Yes, I know this because he is a stickler for the rules and rituals in life. Then he said, “When I woke up this morning, I looked around and thought ‘Wow, I can see! It’s a miracle, I can see!’ Then I walked over and looked into my contact case and realized, ‘Oh man, I forgot to take my contacts out!'” Haven’t we all had disappointing (yet funny) moments of revelation such as that? I know it wasn’t too long ago that I was searching frantically for my sunglasses when my daughter laughed at me and said “Oh Mama, you’re so funny! They’re on your head!” And then there was the moment in a grocery store that my stomach took a roller coaster ride when I thought “Oh no! I’ve lost my keys!” and a few seconds later realized “Oops, the keys are in my hand! (under my shopping list) Duh!”
Everyone sees things through their own eyes thus perceiving life differently. When confronted with a barren landscape one person might look at it as ugly and boring while another might choose to focus on the sky, noticing the vibrant blue behind the puffy cloud formations and label it as beautiful. You know, the whole ‘glass is half full or half empty’ thing and the ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder‘ adage. I’ve read many books about writing and they all, at one point or another, say to avoid using terms of cliche. But a cliche can also be a universal truth and sometimes the best way to get a point across is by using it. I find it ironic that these same writers will use cliches in their own writings. I guess it goes back to that old proverb, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Lol. That collective group, ‘They‘ say not to use cliches in writing because they are trite, unoriginal, etc. but the expressions have become popular because they are true and sometimes that is the entire point. It is my personal opinion that some literary types try too hard to avoid ‘cliche’ and end up simply being pretentious. The trick is to find that happy medium (pun intended). I think that might be one of the tricks to a happy life as well.
The famous country musician Willie Nelson likes to say that “Too much of anything isn’t good for you.” This is a simple truth. The opposite can also be true – that not enough of something can be bad for you. I think that ‘not enough‘ simple truth in life and writing can be harmful. Sometimes there is no need to over analyze facts, stories, expressions, etc. There are times when the simple truth is the only importance. The simple truth can sometimes be the best way to express oneself.
Opinions may vary, but most describe the best writing as ‘revealing’ or stay up late reading a book just to get to that point in the story with the big moment of revelation. Memoirs and reality TV have become extremely popular in large part due to the curiosity of human nature in seeking others’ revelations (heightened by the fact that they are supposed to be true.) Blogs, also freshly popular, are by their own very nature, revealing. My blog, Dragonfly Chat, may include the occasional use of the cliche – but it will also present to you revelations. (Along with funny things my kids do and say, because ‘what is life without humor?’ lol
What are your favorite cliche’s? And what would you say if you couldn’t use them?