Almost all our finalists for our contest “Like a Ton of Bricks” have (here it comes! my favorite word!) SUBMITTED to me!
They will remain anonymous because most of their names are too hard to spell. But I thought I would start to give you an idea as to why I chose the prompt as I did.
Soon to be published is a short novel I originally wrote when I was about 20: Almost Avalon. I am completely confident in my own writing abilities, and to diffuse the statement of its arrogance, let me explain; when I write, when I am in the groove (cliche alert!), I mean that what I have put to paper perfectly reflects in my own mind what I wanted to convey. The unknown, but of much less significance, is how what I have written will be understood and perceived by others. Of course, I want people to “get it” but I find that not everyone does. Tha’s ok (sort of).
I made the mistake of reading a part of Almost Avalon to a writers’ meetup group The Word hosts every Wednesday. One professional writer said that I must have gotten all my stuff from the shelves of Cliche’ Mart, and that if she had read a half a page she would read no further. But she viewed the work from the eyes of a mid forties woman. My character in the book is 24 years old, and what we now might perceive as cliche’ and over-wrought as chronologically progressed adults is fresh, pure, worthy and good when you first hear it. Love having the frailty of a candle? Had you never heard such a thing, wouldn’t that adequately–and beautifully–describe how you might feel about first love? Or discovering the light within another human being? Nothing more profound than an Andy of Mayberry rerun. EXCEPT for the first time you ever had that thought. Namaste: The light within me salutes the light within you.
So I wanted a contest that drew attention to the fact that there is original thought and purpose to the cliches with which we speak so much of our lives, and at their inception, there was power and glory. They only fail us when they become Clift Notes in our true endeavors to communicate with our fellow creatures. The flip side of this? I can never write the word “awesome” because it has become devoid of meaning. A hamburger at Denny’s can be awesome. totally. How can I tell you that Kieth Jarret’s Koln Concert is awesome without reducing it to the experience of a Denny’s hamburger? How can I tell the woman I love that the way she graces a room or my thoughts is awesome?
Jerry Rubin said it best: “How can I tell you I love you when cars love Shell?”
When I run for literary office, the sign in the war room will read: “It’s the language, stupid.”
This is a literary site. The jester playing with his baubles from time to time wants to deviate from our mission statement: Putting Gravitas on a Lo Carb Diet. Hope I remain your favorite deviant. That would be awesome.
And also, idioms and cliches are almost the same thing, as this contest demonstrated.
So here is an entry from one of our finalists. Anonymous until I see who is willing to bride me and Stang for thew honor of winning.
Halting red light. The boundaries are set. The red light of life’s miseries lingers too long…thinking!
Yellow light has a little leniency. I need to dodge in-between traffic to cross. Pumped up on yellow adrenalin of danger. A caution of unknown could be coming… I trust my instincts.
Infamous green light…more shadows of questions– give birth– where the hands of God’s placement are much more delineated.
How far should I go? How much do I really want to see? I plunge forward. All I really want for Christmas is my detachment from outcome. Tis the season to let go…let goD.