Tonight, I read Jeanne Darst’s Fiction Ruined My Family. Every once in a while, a book presents me with a passage I wish I had the focus to memorize. Were I the type of person to post quotes on the walls near my desk, this would make the cut:
As a kid I was absolutely terrified of cliches. My father forbade them in our home. It was like the way other people regarded cursing in their house. If you said, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink,” my father would go ballistic. Mom couldn’t control herself, apparently, because she violated this rule about every five seconds.
I was under the impression cliches could ruin your, ruin your life, your hopes and dreams, bring down your whole operation if you didn’t watch it. They were gateway language, leading straight to a business major, a golfy marriage, needlepoint pillows that said things about your golf game and a self-inflicted gunshot to the head that your family called a heart attack. Language was important, sexy, fun, alive, extremely personal, it was like food, you wouldn’t pop just anything into your mouth, why would you let anything pop out that hadn’t been considered and prepared for someone to enjoy? To ignore language was akin to ignoring the very person you were speaking to, rude, uncaring, unfeeling, cold. It was a way to connect and also to woo, to charm, to manipulate, it was a tool for love, for survival. Your words were you.