Familiarity is a silent killer.

I’ve been thinking a lot about words. How do you know if a word is truly appropriate or if it’s simply the easiest way to relate what you mean. Sometimes when you say something often enough a bit of the meaning can be lost to familiarity.

In writing my thesis I am challenged to figure out which words communicate my content most effectively. When it gets down to it, this is not that different from creating a work of art – the challenge is the same and yet, it’s entirely different. I’m trying to break this apart so that the task is more manageable.

Reading provides a plethora of new words I can use to better articulate myself. (See how well that works!) However, I find that I need to be careful when deciding which words are more effective and which ones are simply exciting because they’re new and shiny (or nacreous).

And yet, at times the best way to say something is to just say it. There is a lot to be said for simple and straightforward.

I have come to the realization that I talk around myself in order to do one of two things (and the prevalence is generally in this order): 1.) figure something out 2.) avoid saying something. The problem is, I don’t always know I’m doing this, and when I acknowledge that I am, I am not always sure why.

I suppose this is where a great editor comes in handy – thankfully I have several (and they have their work cut out for them).

At the moment I’m struggling with how to put a concept which is rather large and encompassing into tiny simple words when most of the tiny simple words I know are inadequate for saying things that are rather large and encompassing. I say “most” not “all” because the words that DO seem to work feel cliché.

Sometimes cliché’s are cliché for a reason – we become familiar with these words or turns of phrases and so their meaning (which might have been quite appropriate at one time) is sucked from them and they become empty. Familiarity is a silent killer.

Can words be resurrected like bad color schemes and fabric choices from the 80’s or does being labeled as cliché the kiss of death?

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