Monday, May 07, 2007

Cliches and Fools

There's a fool born every minute. There's no fool like an old fool. That's how I ended up with this blog. But I might as well have fun with it. Did I just write a cliche' or two or are those proverbs?

I have this sense that I have indeed been one of those "old fools" therefore one of those about whom others can say, "Well, there's a fool born every minute, and she's a good example of one." I think my foolishness has come about because of an emotional neediness resulting in my failure to appropriately censure some of my actions, inhibit some of my behaviors, exercise judgement incorporating caution in a new and unique situation when common sense was disregarded. What's done is done -- another cliche'. Nothing to do but chalk it up to the fact that one never gets too old to learn, change ones ways -- oh dear, more cliches'. Well you can check out cliches HERE.

This post is turning into a cliche' dilemma. I want to write all these comments as vaguely as possible, and what better way to do it than with a bunch of cliches'. Now, if I was a poet I could do it so well with metaphors, but I've never written poetry. But, I am overcome with sadness for all those lovely words that have had a tragic demise because of the frequency of their use. They were once considered a proud unique and special grouping of words with which many people became enamoured and, unfortunately, overused to the degree that the word police designated them a cliche'.

I've been taking a writing class since last Sept. when "my cup was running over" with all sorts of classes to coordinate with other activities in which I was engaged. The first of the year I realized I had my "finger in more pies" than I wanted, so I have been slowly extricating myself from many of them. One activity I considered "putting on hold" was writing for this blog -- "easier said than done." Despite everything, thoughts keep seeping into my brain that I seem unable to expunge until I sit down at the computer, and start writing the ideas. They are not particularly profound, but I do find myself expressing them, then, heaven forbid, posting them here.

Now that I'm alone in this house, any verbal expression I was heretofore prone to do, falls on deaf ears, or I should say, no ears at all except my own. I'm not above talking aloud to myself on occasion, but talking to someone, I find to be somewhat more desirable -- because I like feedback. However, we don't always get what we like, so must content ourselves with whatever is second best, or even lower on the rating scale. I'm lucky when I write here, as I can go back and see what I said, often chagrined that I'm not sure I hit the mark of what I was trying to convey as cleanly and precisely as I might have wanted.

About my writing class, I surely hope our instructor never reads this, 'cause I keep violating a writing class "no no" that is to never use cliches'. As you will have read above, I used more than a few. The problem with cliches' is that as soon as someone finds a way to express a thought really well, in just a phrase, with very succinct writing, too many people that like that thought immediately begin to use the phrase, as it says what they've been trying to say or have wanted to say, but they believe the precise words in the thought are expressed so much better than they've been able to do heretofore.

At some point, and I don't know when that happens, the phrase starts to be judged as being used entirely too much; therefore, somebody somewhere determines we now hereby designate that phrase is a cliche'. I suspect the judges are the editors receiving written material being considered for publication. The word gets out, "they didn't accept what I wrote because of the cliche'." Word spreads among the aspiring writers and this once highly revered unique special phrase now is scourged. Writers mentally scurry about searching for new and different words to express this thought now, because that cliche' will no longer be acceptable.

What I keep wondering is, what if someone comes up with another unique special combination of words to express a thought that many people instantly grasp, adopt and use? In that eventuality, then, I guess that poor phrase becomes a cliche' too. What circular madness this all is. But what fun we have playing with all these words, creating more and more word combinations that then become cliches with words in phrases we can no longer write.

Will we eventually run out of words? I think not. The reason being, contrary to what I believed as a child, there is not a finite group of words. New words are being created constantly, some accepted for usage, some not. Therefore, I have concluded the responsibility of the writer is to not only avoid using cliches, but to create new words. I'm going to work on that right away, right after I get over all this foolishness.


  1. You ran that up the flagpole, Joared, to see who would salute it - and I am saluting, proudly!

    Welcome aboard the chiche train! Mr. kenju lives for cliches...LOL.

  2. Life is a cliche!! Enjoy and glory in it! lol

  3. This was an interesting piece Joared. It's amazing how many cliches we use in life every day....and yes, we're inventing new ones as we go along. That's life! Ooops.

  4. You've hit the nail on the head. Cliches have got to go. But some how we owe a debt of gratitude to all of the hardworking writers who worked their fingers to the bone scribing those thread bare phrases.

    For after all, those cliche writers were once clean-cut youth just like you and I. Nevertheless those scribes, no doubt, are solid citizens, loyal Americans you might say. So why not say thanks to them to them because they, at times, return us to the thrilling days of yesteryear.

    I agree with you cliches should be avoided but where? Where do you draw the line?

  5. An impossible task..Because as you write anything after a while it all sounds like a cliche....And the fact that cliche's are what they are because they are "true"..well, what is one to do? (LOL)...Good Luck, my dear...

    About Miss Horne: I saw her one women show "live" in the theatre, in New York, twice, and once here in Los Angeles as well as seeing the show on PBS...AND, watching a tape of it, too! Brilliant, Brilliant Brilliant! Such a fabulously moving show, too, as well as a lot of fun, wasn't it? She is quite a magnificent performer and I feel sorry for those who have never seen her perform....It was always a fantastic experience, to say the least.

  6. Don't you love taking classes!!! I do. And blogging and working online is making us all better readers and our language is changing how we communicate as we do it by texting, email and blogging.

    Do you wonder that teenagers today are reading more (books) -- they grew up with online learning and have probably become better readers for it. At the same time their relationships have become more active (though probably less deep) as they depend on MySpace or Facebook to keep in touch.

    Yes, new words are being created constantly. We are writing now like Ben Franklin did when nothing was yet standard and "American English" hadn't yet been fully formed.

    Language is a living thing. It is!
    Look how face-to-face has so much more meaning now when we communicate in other ways.

  7. Thanks to all who commented, as I found what each of you had to say quite interesting.

    Intriguing to note the difference in blog writing with other types of writing which not all understand yet -- including me, as I find my way around and learn so much from other bloggers, such as each of you. Thanks!