Cliche Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 177 quotes )
They think in terms of a sentimental ballad. And that's what terrifies you about them. It isn't their cruelty, it isn't even their shrewdness - it's their extraordinary naivete. Everything in their whole bloody world is a cliche. Everything is born out of a cliche, rests on a cliche, survives by a cliche. And they believe in the cliches - there's no hope
I seem to know all the cliches, but not how to put them together in a believable way. Or else these stories are terrible and grandiose precisely because all the cliches intertwine in an unrealistic way and you can't disentangle them. But when you actually live a cliche, it feels brand new, and you are unashamed.
Because we don't know, do we? Everyone know? How what happens the way it does? What underlies the anarchy of the train of events, the uncertainties, the mishaps, the disunity, the shocking irregularities that define human affairs? Nobody knows. 'Everyone knows' is the invocation of the clich and the beginning of the banalization of experience, and it's the solemnity and the sense of authority that people have in voicing the clich that's so insufferable. What we know is that, in an unclichd way, nobody knows anything. You can't know anything. The things you know you don't know. Intention? Motive? Consequence? Meaning? All the we don't know is astonishing. Even more astonishing is what passes for knowing.
Our lack of originality is something we usefully forget as we hunch over our—to us—ever-fascinating lives. My friend M., leaving his wife for a younger woman, used to complain, “People tell me it’s a clich. But it doesn’t feel like a clich to me.” Yet it was, and is. As all our lives would prove, if we could see them from a greater distance—from the viewpoint, say, of that higher creature imagined by Einstein.
Most people's intuitions are drowned out by folk sayings. We have a moment of real feeling or insight, and then we come up with a folk saying that captures the insight in a kind of wash. The intuition may be real and ripe, fresh with possibilities, but the folk saying is guaranteed to be a cliche, stale and self-contained.
We hear them continually on TV: hence they occur first when it is our turn to talk. In this regard, talk may be said to be the enemy of writing. If you observe yourself when on the point of writing that the word rising spontaneously to your mind is not the hard, clear words of a lover of plain speech, but this mush of counterfeits and cliches.
When a good idea is run through the filters and compressors of ordinary tunnel vision, it not only comes out reduced in scale and value but in it's new dogmatic configuration produces effects the opposite of those for which it originally intended. That is how the loving ideas of Jesus Christ became the sinister cliches of Christianity. That is why virtually every revolution in history has failed; the oppressed, as soon as they seize power, turn into the oppressors, resorting to totalitarian tactics to "protect the revolution." That is why minorities seeking the abolition of prejudice become intolerant , minorities seeking peace become militant, minorities seeking equality become self-righteous, and minorities seeking liberation become hostile (a tight asshole being the first symptom of self-repression).
The cliche had it that kids were the future, but that wasn't it: they were the unreflective, active present. They were not themselves nostalgic, because they couldn't be, and they retarded nostalgia in their parents. Even as they were getting sick and being bullied and becoming addicted to heroin and getting pregnant, they were in the moment, and she wanted to be in it with them. She wanted to worry herself sick about schools and bullying and drugs.
where there was nature and earth, life and water, I saw a desert landscape that was unending, resembling some sort of crater, so devoid of reason and light and spirit that the mind could not grasp it on any sort of conscious level and if you came close the mind would reel backward, unable to take it in. It was a vision so clear and real and vital to me that in its purity it was almost abstract. This was what I could understand, this was how I lived my life, what I contructed my movement around, how I dealt with the tangible. This was the geography around which my reality resolved: it did not occur to me, ever, that people were good or that a man was capable of change or that the world could be a better place through one’s taking pleasure in a feel or a look or a gesture, of receiving another person’s love or kindness. Nothing was affirmative, the term “generosity of spirit” applied to nothing, was a cliche, was some kind of bad joke.
Most of us have learned to be dispassionate about evil, to look it in the face and find, as often as not, our own grinning reflections with which we do not argue, but good is another matter. Few have stared at that long enough to accept that its face too is grotesque, that in us the good is something under construction. The modes of evil usually receive worthy expression. The modes of good have to be satisfied with a cliche or a smoothing down that will soften their real look.
As a rule of thumb, I'd say one clich per [Romance]--and then be damn sure you can make it work. But if you're going to try to write the virginal amnesiac twin disguised as a boy mistaken for the mother (or father depending how well the disguise works) of a secret baby, honey, you better have some serious skills. Or seek therapy.