Micropoetry Monday: The Writer’s Life

Writer's Life

The Shutterfly Edition

Her poetic license had no expiration date,
for she went around putting line breaks
where she thought they should be,
inserting the Oxford comma wherever she went,
omitting needless words,
adverbs,
& clichés,
for just as brevity was literary minimalism,
clarity was literary purity.

When she brainstormed,
her fingers were like lightning
across the keyboard,
her words like thunder
as she hammered away at a clump of words
to create a viable human-interest story.

It was reading, writing, & arithmetic
in grammar school,
academics, arts, & athletics
in college.
Sara Lee Storey excelled in the arts,
writing about the academics, 
& editing the words of those
who wrote about athletics.

You Should…You Should Not

You should make the bacon,
not burn it.

You should bring home the bread,
not eat too much of it.

You should never put ketchup on a hot dog,
or relish on a burger.

You should not put all your Easter eggs in one basket,
or eat a regifted fruitcake.

One should and should not do a lot of things;
having wisdom is knowing the difference.

Words/Phrases that should be banned

The use of clichés (unless your character uses them) is considered poor writing.  I avoid clichés like the plague (cliché intended).  There are many phrases that make me cringe when I hear them; I will share my Top 10:

  1. “That went well.”  People say this whenever the opposite is true.  I don’t know why this is funny.  It’s mean to be sarcasm, but it’s a cliché of sarcasm.
  2. “Bless this mess.”  Cleanliness is next to godliness, so I’m not sure how God is supposed to bless a mess.  That makes about as much sense as saying a blessing over a McDonald’s “cheeseburger”.
  3. “In harm’s way.”  I hear this whenever people talk about the troops.  I’m tired of hearing it.  “On the battlefield”, to me, sounds better.
  4. “Purple people.”  Whenever people talk about race, they tend to mention imaginary purple (or green, blue, etc.) people.  It is ridiculous.
  5. When people say “N as in Nancy” (to cite one example).  When people feel they must spell out a word because it is easy to confuse a B with a D, they could use a little more imagination.  How about “N as in Nightingale”?
  6. “Have a blessed/blest day.”  I live in the buckle of the Bible belt, and I’ve heard this many times.  I don’t like this saying; “Have a good day” is sufficient.
  7. “I don’t read fiction.”  When someone says this, it comes across as snotty.  I want to ask, “Do you watch movies based on fiction?”  Chances are, they do.  I think it’s a little more intellectual to read fiction than it is to watch it where you don’t have to use your imagination to fill in the blanks.  Furthermore, it is insulting to say this to someone who writes fiction.
  8. “Step up to the plate.”  I hear this on reality cooking shows.
  9. “In English, please.”  People often say this when a doctor isn’t speaking to them in layman’s terms.  Just ask for the doctor to use simpler language instead.  They are speaking English, whether you understand it or not.
  10. “Jesus freaks.”  Self-explanatory.
  11. “Bad boy.”  When talking about a really big sandwich, or something really, really great.
  12. “I resemble that remark.”  It’s just not funny anymore.
  13. “How the hell are you?”  This means someone is just trying to sound different, but basically say the same thing.
  14. “Happy dance.”  There is no such thing.  Stop.  Just.  Stop.
  15. “She’s good people.”  This has always made me cringe, and not just because I sport a swastika made of semicolons (i.e. grammar nazi).
  16. “All that good stuff.”  “And everything else,” will suffice.  Avoid using words like “stuff”, “crap”, etc.
  17. “Dollar makes me holler.”  Self-explanatory.
  18. “I’m ___ years young.”  We get it.  You feel like a million bucks.  Nobody says this unless they’re trying to get attention or show off.
  19. “Bling.”  I prefer the word sparkle, but neither is better.
  20. “Mommy blogger.”  This term is often used in the pejorative sense, though I don’t have a substitute for it.

What are certain words or phrases that are so cliché, they make you cringe when you read/hear them?