I think this is the first time in my life I’ve gotten less than an A on an essay.
Yes, it was a bit shocking when I first saw the 2 numbers 88 in a little grey square above my submission. But when I read the commentary, I couldn’t agree any more.
I mean, my essay was mediocre. It wasn’t mediocre in the sense that I executed it in a median way, but I used mediocre language.
For goodness sake, about 45% of my essay was cliches upon cliches upon cliches. I’m quite embarrassed actually, i thought I was going to be a tad bit more original.
noun, a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought
Think, “tears trickling,” “plastered smile,” “dark horse.”
(Is ‘tad bit’ from my earlier statement, a cliche as well?)
Seriously, I am shocked at the amount of cliches I used.
Of course, as a writer, you don’t know that you’re writing a cliche until someone blatantly points it out to you. Or, unless you’re closely examining the essay with a wood carver’s eye. Cliches, in my opinion, are meant to be forgotten. One glance and a revision, and poof they’re missed by my speeding eyes, rapidly trying to piece together a conundrum of thoughts.
As writers, we want to avoid cliches. Cliches were once creative. But over time, they’ve been overused. It’s really just an unoriginal thought.
Cliches are the first thing you think of when you’re writing an essay.
How do you avoid using cliches?
I’m still in the process of trying to figure out how to cut out the generic Pillsbury white cake mix from my essay. How do I piece my essay from scratch? I have most of the basic ingredients, my thoughts…
But how do I add that extra pizzazz, that vanilla or almond extract, to make it my own?
We’ve been talking about cliches quite often in English.
In “The Painting Before Painting,” by Francis Bacon, Giles Deleuze says
“Cliches! Cliches! Not only has there been a multiplication of images of every kind, around us and in our head, but even the reactions against cliches are creating cliches.”
And I totally agree. You see, as time moves forth, cliches are harder and harder to avoid because there is a limit on how many ways you can describe something, or write about something.
How many ways are there to describe a broken heart?
You may say infinite, but I beg to differ. It’s not infinite because people will start using the same sayings over and over again.
It’s so hard to get rid of cliches.
They are what is seen, until finally no one sees nothing else.
They’re those words you have before you write an essay. And the reason why you have those thoughts is because you’ve seen it overused a million times in other readings.
It’s basically, the writing before the writing.
I completely agree with Deleuze, and he even goes further to argue Francis Bacon’s problems with photography.
(That’s another post for another day)
But I think that I am in an internal battle to get rid of the cliche. I’m currently losing, but I will come out a winner.
Mark my words.
(That was a cliche statement)