wings and things

Platitudes and cliches

on June 25, 2012

Platitudes make me puke; cliches catch at the corners of my eyes like rogue eyelashes.

Too much crap stuff is repeated, disseminated and shared until it’s like the worn out elastic that actually stinks when you finally pull it out of some old piece of clothing.

For example:

She’ll be right, mate!

Tomorrow is a better day.

Patience is a virtue.

God doesn’t give you any more than you can endure.

The grass is greener.

The grass isn’t always greener.

Chin up!

You will be rewarded in Heaven.

Suffering is good for the soul.

It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.

Smell the roses.

On the wings of a snow white dove ….

I would much rather read something like this:

Patrick Overton reflects in his poem “Faith”:

When you come to the edge of all the light you have

And take the first step into the darkness of the unknown,

You must believe one of two things will happen:

There will be something solid for you to stand upon,

or you will be taught how to fly.

The only thing he forgot to mention was that there is actually a third possibility:

You will might fall.

61 responses to “Platitudes and cliches

  1. Rhonda says:

    you are correct Jules…the third option is a given. and so is…we’ll be there to help you up, when you are ready.

    • jmgoyder says:

      I was sort of more thinking of other people (some blogging friends plus some real friends who suffer illnesses) who get platituded all the time – and me too of course. Thank you for your generous offer to help and it certainly does help. I was a bit shocked this evening when I rang Ants and he, again, didn’t know where he was. So I guess it kind of ruined what had been a wonderful day until then. Loveya Rhonda!

      • Rhonda says:

        I should have known you had others in mind when you wrote your piece. But I’m glad you know it’s what we will all do for each other, it’s all we can do really.

        Yes, a lousy note to end a lovely day on. Not that I can see you have a whole lot of free time on your hands, but what do you do for yourself Julie? To keep yourself going the way only you can? Is it spending time with Ming, getting lost in your menagerie, or reading, or maybe music? I hope there is something you can turn to everyday…a spring to draw from; not of hope, that would be cruel and useless, but something to balance the pain of these low times. That’s my wish for you. That the fulcrum around which these highs and lows swing, can be found a place to keep your balance.

      • jmgoyder says:

        Blogging seems to have saved my sanity in the sense that I have committed to writing at least one post per day (yeah I know I sometimes overdo it!)
        Spending time with Ming is another thing and this is great.
        I can’t believe how utterly kind and generous you are to me with your thoughts and advice, Rhonda – you are a champion (whoops – I think that was a cliche!) Juliex

      • Rhonda says:

        LOL…you know what they say Jules…cliches are cliches for a reason! They aren’t bad…they are just tired (we’d be tired too is we were put to work that often)

        And…you don’t over do. I am glad this has been the release for you that it has and that you find some small comfort as well. It’s difficult to know, when all one has to offer is words, if they are of any help whatsoever, just hoping the thoughts behind them are clear.
        And you, dear lady, are the champion…not I. I’m just one of the gals in your corner.

      • jmgoyder says:

        I think we should get wordpress to pay for us to all meet – that would be great wouldn’t it – shall we nag them?
        Thank you Rhonda so much. Juliexx

      • Rhonda says:

        That’s funny…I had that very thought also. I was looking at all the wonderful places where all our friends live, trying to figure a good place to meet. Fantastical I know…but I think it would be such fun! We could present it in such a way as to suggest an ‘actual’ forum rather than a ‘virtual’ one. hmmmm

      • jmgoyder says:

        Wouldn’t it be wonderful!

      • Rhonda says:

        it sure would.

  2. victoriaaphotography says:

    Brilliant post, Julie.

    I for one detest that expression ‘She’ll be right mate’.
    She will not be right.
    She will be broken……and hurting badly.

    • jmgoyder says:

      You must get so sick of hearing that kind of thing, Victoria, that whole Aussie ‘get over it’ bravado thing because people don’t know what else to say. I am full of admiration for you! Juliexx

  3. Ms. Boice says:

    I was just telling a friend over dinner last night that my greatest challenge in writing are cliches–that I tend to use them and i hate that. (This is Lisa, btw, the one with the Accidental Birder site.) So, I totally agree with this post. But how did you advise your writing students regarding cliches? Any tips?

    • jmgoyder says:

      Hi Lisa! I just used to tell students to take the cliche apart and re-say it differently somehow. I hope this helps! Juliex
      On the other hand, cliches do have their uses because they are so familiar so they are a bit like salt – a bit is fine but too much is awful.

  4. Judith Post says:

    Love, love, love “cliches catch at the corner of my eyes like rogue eyelashes.” Stunning.
    And if you fall, if you stumble or sprawl, you get back up, because it gets really uncomfortable and boring lying prone, feeling sad or angry after a while. There’s nothing particularly graceful about pain that I can see–physical or emotional. But I’ve never found a way to avoid it.

  5. terry1954 says:

    great, wonderful, i got every word, this is our life, so am going to reblog it

    • jmgoyder says:

      I think I’ve only been reblogged once before so this is exciting – thanks Terry and you are so right – this is our life! Juliex

      • terry1954 says:

        i don’t know the reasons for sure, but i thrive on your blogs, maybe because i need to know someone understands my side

      • jmgoyder says:

        I thrive on your blogs too – we are in similar but also dissimilar situations but your Al and my Ants seem to both be in about the same stage of Parkinson’s – the end stage.

  6. terry1954 says:

    Reblogged this on terry1954 and commented:
    this seems to be our lives every day

  7. dcwisdom says:

    Good post, friend. Agreed. Platitudes are the worst.

  8. I really like Overton’s lines!

  9. sometimes I am given more than I can handle, and when I am platituded I want to strike the platituder – guess I am cynical today

  10. Margarita says:

    While the most likely outcome would be that I’d fall and have to pick myself up, I like to entertain the idea of learning to fly! Thanks!

  11. janechese says:

    That last line-that’s true.And that is not always the “end” Do you get back up?

  12. Nice poem about a leap of faith, always an interesting concept.

    • jmgoyder says:

      Yes – I hadn’t seen it before (my mum sent it to me the other day). I love the way the poet sort of cancels out the idea of totally blind faith – and almost makes faith an act of intelligence.

  13. ceciliag says:

    I have read all your comments and all your lovely friends have said it for me so i will say.. have a lovely sleep.. ni ni//.. c
    ps, you will notice that i did not say ‘things will look better in the morning’ or ‘it will come out in the wash’ or ‘there is always someone worse off’ or my personal favourite after I nursed my own mother until she died .. ‘she has gone to a better place’. I told that woman that she was full of shit.. mum was 49.
    i am ;laughing in tears now because and this was terrible, but my best friend died not long ago, i always cry when i write that.. anyway she died very suddenly of an aneurism at 46 with two tiny children. I was speaking to a friend of hers who was with her when she suddenly died and this girl said, (and i kid you not).. ‘it was a beautiful death’ then.’she went peacefully’ merciful heaven i have never been so close to strangling anyone in my whole life, she was very lucky that i was on a phone and in a different country. I told her to fuck off (you can change that word in your editing if you like but that is what i said..) terrible.
    Now where did all that come from!
    I had better go back outside and do something useful! sitting around in here is ‘not going to buy the baby a dress!!’


    • jmgoyder says:

      Even though your experience with your mother dying so young, and your friend, is so terrible – the way you described your reaction to the cliches is hilariously refreshing!

  14. Fergiemoto says:

    Your last line is great! It’s an important point.

  15. I love that passage! That is so much better than empty cliches!

  16. Lee says:

    A pianist in the paddock topic:
    Yes your comments are turned off.

  17. ElysiaK says:

    Falling alright I guess. The only thing you’ve got to have is the will power to get up and have a go at it again. 😛

  18. Robyn Lee says:

    Hear this loud and clear Julie… I get these all the time. Another big one — ‘ it could be worse…”

    Do like you add on to Overton’s piece to.

    I tried to use some of the cliches over the years to soothe myself, but as someone said, the get tired and loose their power – and then irritate!!

    Great post…
    and btw, you inspired me to write a poem today about my darkness… but of course I made it more fantasy and escape — but confronted the pain nevertheless… maybe will put up tonight with an exotic shadow image I have… Thank you for your friendship Julie xxxooo wish we could visit too = and if i ever am able, hubby says we are there!!! 😉

    • jmgoyder says:

      Can’t wait to see your poem and photo!
      I edited last line of this post from ‘you will fall’ to ‘you might fall’.
      I actually think the kind of affirmative cliches can be really useful when you say them to yourself.
      I’ll pick you up from Perth airport!

      • Robyn Lee says:

        🙂 I like that “you might fall” — but “let’s not” — how’s that?!! 🙂 Yes – affirmations are good if they feel right to you… I say “I am where I am” ” My best is good enough” and “I am more than my physical body”… etc etc. Ok — will tell hubby to look that up… and maybe one day — you never know!! Would be a treasure to meet you!!! xo

      • jmgoyder says:

        Yes to all of this!

  19. every cloud has a silver lining….Just Kidding! It’s weird, I’ve been writing my wednesday post to be published on wednesday of course and it’s about the 7 things that make me lose it and one of the things is pat answers……

  20. bluebee says:

    I hate platitudes, too, Julie, and wrote a poem about it. The problem is we often don’t know what to say in a bad situation, and resort to platitudes as a way of alleviating our discomfort, when often the only appropriate response is, “That is really crap and I feel really bad for you”!

  21. Beautiful quote. And you are right. That unmentioned possibility is what holds us back…

  22. Well, I wanted to comment on the piano in the middle of the field. That was pretty neat!

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