Behind the Cliche

Clichés in their origins were clever or universal truths, sometimes both. “The apple does not fall far from the tree.” “It ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings.” Often, they reflect the region of the country where they originate. “Don’t buy a pig in a poke.” You may add your own favorites.

Some clichés are pertinent to the profession they represent. One of the most common ones for writers is “Write what you know.” Disputes arise with this, especially in the areas of fantasy and science fiction since even the context of these are often made up. Proponents argue that one can come to know by research or by careful preplanning as J. K. Rowling did with the Harry Potter series as she meticulously laid out her fictional community before she got involved in the story.

Within the last couple of months, I’ve published what I know and what I wish I knew. Thema Literary Magazine published, in their “Missing Letters” volume, an essay describing my search to know the rest of the story. Mama saved nearly all the letters I wrote home over the years but stopped in 1982 when Daddy died. Where are the others? Why did she stop? I wish I knew.

On the other hand, in its December edition, The Writer Magazine published my article on a subject with which I am well-acquainted. “Ranking Rejection” as the magazine suggests on the cover blurb tells why, even in rejection, some “no’s” are better than others. I know each category well and can illustrate each of them from my rejection folder, beginning with zero for no answer at all to ten for an acceptance!   

While I like seeing the article in print with my byline, I do wish I didn’t know this topic quite so well!