Saturday, May 9, 2009

Let's Make A Pact

I don’t know if it will happen to me. I’m guessing it may happen to some of you. Here’s the deal--I want you to think about, I mean really think about what you’ll say if you get your fifteen minutes of fame. I want you to think about it, not so you’ll sound canned or rehearsed, but so you won’t say the following, “Everything just feels so surreal.”

Surreal: Having an oddly dreamlike quality. (Definition from

I can’t tell you how many times I hear that word and cringe. It’s catch-all. It’s overused and its meaning has been rubbed out of it and worn down as much as a river rock.

I’ve heard it from American Idol finalists, Miss America winners (I don’t make a habit of watching these contests now, but used to in my “younger” years), Oscar winners, and the recent Kentucky Derby jockey who won. Several weeks ago I even heard it from a witness who watched the Cowboys Training Facility unexpectedly fall to the ground.

This is what I’m asking of you, (knowing full well that some of you are aspiring novelists who will shine in the limelight at one point or another) I’m asking you to do your creative field justice and come up with something new. Don’t, oh, please don’t look straight into the camera or the eyes of the interviewer and say, “It’s all just so surreal.”

It may be. I know it may feel that way. But I trust you to come up with a new statement to describe your feelings. Let’s make a pact on this, eh?

What are your thoughts? Has this word ever seemed overused to you?


  1. Yes, I agree. Seems that when we have a hard time putting our finger on a feeling, we grasp for the cliche.

    I find myself doing this, too, by quickly describing something as "incredible," "awesome," or "amazing." I try to strike these adjectives from my writing, but honestly, I overruse them in my regular speech.

  2. I love your picture. :D

    *holds up right hand*

    I vow never to use the "s" word when describing my 15 minutes of fame.

    I haven't noticed this one so much as lyrical (when the words really aren't all that lyrical to my ear), amazing, and all the other superlatives masquerading around on book covers. When any word is over-used, it tends to lose its impact for me. :D

  3. omg, I thought the very same thing when I heard, who was it, Chris I think, on Idol say surreal! There has to be a better word to more aptly describe the experience. Exciting, frightening, challenging, but surreal? It is most definitely a catchall now, that really doesn't communicate too much. I raise my hand and take the same vow as Windsong. You may have started something here!

  4. Ahh, yes, I've heard this one too many times, too. Sadly, I'd probably reach for that cliche if I had my 15 minutes. Now I need to figure out what I really would say. I think it'd depend on the situation. Thanks for making me think!

  5. I haven't given much thought to surreal - but I know I overuse the word awesome. It's really quite ridiculous how often I fall back on this word!

  6. Hmmm...I typed "surreal" into the thesaurus feature on and it gave me "dreamlike" with the synonyms: surreal, hypnagogic and then underneath, gave the word "illusive" with the synonyms: chimeric, chimerical, delusive, delusory, hallucinatory, illusory, phantasmagoric, phantasmal, phantasmic, visionary.

    I think if I ever get interviewed, I will say..."This experience has been completely phantasmagoric!" LOL!!

  7. Yes...overused!


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