Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Irony of Cliches

I have a friend who has had a pretty rough life.  His parents didn't want him; his adoptive parents broke up; he is in major debt; and he is taking care of his younger brother.  For quite a while, all they had were each other.  While their childhood friends either burned out or were shot dead, they made it through and made it out from the shitty town they grew up in.

I so badly wish to tell this story, even in an anonymous or allegorical way.  It's just so powerful, so impressive and inspiring, I am compelled to share it.  But damn it, there are enough stories "inspired by true events" (which is the new way of saying "based on a true story") to go around.  It's such a cliche now.

But that's the irony of cliches: They're good stories; they've simply been told too much.  It is difficult to find a way to tell that story without the masses telling you how many other stories they've read that were similar.

I have always dealt with cliches by trying my hardest to avoid them.  Can I come up with a story that hasn't been done to death?  The alternate method is to simply embrace them.  Every month, a new movie comes out that is a collection of cliches, but they keep making enough money to be profitable.  Obviously cliches aren't that bad.  Accept that they're powerful to people who aren't diametrically opposed to them and that if you aren't heavy-handed, you can do just fine, even with a very cliche story.

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