It’s not a cool confession to make: I adore cliches. Can’t get enough of them. Eat ’em up with a spoon.
Truer confession: I think cliches hold the truth of a society, fixed in time. But the best cliches transcend both.
We begin by coveting what we see every day. Do not covet thy neighbor’s wife. One phrase got burned into a tablet for all time. The other was uttered by a monster on film and became a cultural touchstone. Both are cliches; does that make them wrong?
“The cobbler’s children have no shoes.” No matter how you update the language, the sentiment stands in shining, perfect truth. The cobbler was tired when he got home from work. He didn’t want to spend his couple of free hours making shoes for all those damn kids. Truth. No matter if you have no idea what a cobbler is.
In my own life, I can market anything to anyone. I even loved a former job promoting car insurance. But I am loathe to market my own work. Maybe it’s a matter of “can’t.” Maybe it’s more like “won’t.” I could give a thousand excuses but the result is the same: I hate self-promotion.
Word processing programs and writers groups are quick to shame cliches. But I’ll continue to try to sneak them in. Because I love them. And they tell the truth.