Writing, creativity, and cliché

Writers and readers: how often have you read or even written something like this: ‘Where a divan bed (substitute tea pot, table, pile of books …etc) served as sofa (dormouse’s house, desk, support for a pot plant …etc)’? Or given your protagonist, male of female, a ‘stiff white shirt’?

Cliché abounds in the world of writing …

How about the inevitable ‘procrastinating …’ which all writers must admit to?  How about ‘and should I have heard of you?’ as the (dreary, hopefully positive) response to admitting you actually write to earn your daily crust? (Or not, as the case may be – because you procrastinate?) (And the turning away …) Do you spend your life in pyjamas, no time to dress properly , the Muse awaits … You surely don’t wear that stiff white shirt – how does one move the arms when wearing one of those? Won’t it crackle when the hero embraces the heroine (in her stiff white shirt)?

To be serious,

this is meant to be about that first cliché – the divan/teapot/table/pile of books which serve … Never mind it’s cliché (a thing can’t serve – can’t it?)  The thing was being used as whether it chose or not. Let’s get creative: what other ways to say that someone hadn’t a sofa/dormouse’s house/desk/pot plant stand, and grabbed the only substitute to hand …

Meanwhile – I guess when someone is needed to do something, ‘will you serve as …’ is more reasonable. We serve on committees, we serve (if in the military) our country, we serve (if a shop worker) our customers. We can serve a meal …

Now, here’s the thing:

writing in the SH
Writing and gardening: creative stuff!

serving relies on, well, reliability. As a ‘creative’, as a person who writes, I know that I am not reliable. In a fallow phase, I may serve (in a toddler group, for example, or making cakes to sell at a fete) but, in full flight with a deadline, writing a novel, I can’t promise to serve reliably. Or should I? Which takes precedence: the writing or the service to others?

Good question. Some people would say, ‘You must be faithful to yourself, and achieve your goals’.

Personally, I’m not sure about that one. It feels isolationist … and a bit self-important. Solipsistic, in fact.

However, as ‘a creative’, I know I am not reliable. I know my novel, and my paintings,

Daze 11 /04
Even a creative kid has the problem! 

are important, they are who I am … They will die without my help to bring them to birth …When there’s a call to serve – on the charity stall, the committee, putting out chairs for the concert, counting the traffic so we residents can complain to the council … Or, in more serious, long-term ways, Is that a good excuse? Can creatives make good volunteers?

Over to you …

5 thoughts on “Writing, creativity, and cliché

  1. suesconsideredtrifles September 8, 2017 / 8:08 pm

    Colloquially at least, objects can serve. “I don’t have the right implement, but this will serve.” (I may be making excuses as I have a post ready which uses serve in this way!)
    It is always difficult to work out priorities. At present I have stopped doing one of my voluntary jobs (which I enjoy but find tiring) as I am under the impression there are lots of other people willing to help. Some of the other things I do need more training/experience. A good indicator is perhaps how enjoyable and how tiring an activity is. Sue

    Liked by 1 person

    • MariHoward September 9, 2017 / 8:59 pm

      Sue, you have a point with both your comments – though I personally dislike the writerly convention of using ‘served as ‘ along with some other similar word uses! The volunteering really struck home last Sunday, when the vicar called for several posts to be filled ‘we need another flower helper since J is leaving, and more coffee makers, and people to make cakes for the charity stall on Saturdays, and more distributors for the magazine …’ etc … and I know I could do it but it would take up time!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. vikramhereblog September 11, 2017 / 1:18 am

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  3. dunelight October 1, 2017 / 4:28 am

    Goodness…I read it and took it a bit further: which takes precedence, the writing/art form, or the service to others/spouse/companion. My career limped along but was often thwarted by choices I made due to the compromises one makes for ones companion. The things I have turned down because of my spouse..had I only known…uh..never mind.

    Back to the thread, ” ‘and should I have heard of you?’ . Ouch. It is the same in performance arts. You can work steadily, yet not be famous. In the eyes of the unwashed they reason “Well, you’re not so famous, why do you think you’re above making potato salad for twenty and coming to the event?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • MariHoward October 5, 2017 / 8:52 pm

      So agree! Yep, all the time one has to compromise … or, be one of those toughies who plough on with the career, regardless … And we have kids and although they are now grown I am still making compromises – our daughter and grandson (13 months) are about to begin coming for extended stays due to circumstances … (I cd say No, but I can’t, too much Mommy compassion for them, it’s a habit!) In the long haul, I tend to feel that people are important though … I do wish I could just hide away and work but … (many writers claim they are introverts – maybe that’s it, I’m not, wrong personality type!!)

      Liked by 1 person

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