Text Tiles

Text Tiles

1. The Tile Defined

“Tile” is a word for a literary form that until now has had no name. Yet it is almost as old as writing itself. Once alerted to its existence, you’ll see it everywhere. The set of all paragraphs includes an abundance of tiles among its members. A tile is a single short piece of prose, not more than a page in length, which must be able to stand alone as a work of literature, as some sonnets can, although (like a sonnet again) it might also be part of a longer work or sequence. You can use a tile for any purpose, activist or pacifist, literary, scientific, provided your intentions are good. It can be fact or fiction, on any subject, serious or comic or trivial, as long as it is either honest or honestly dishonest (as a joke, for example, or as a piece of irony). It can be prose or prose-poetry, formal or informal, sense or nonsense. A tile is nobody’s intellectual property, and offers itself free of charge to everyone, to posterity (if there turns out to be one), and not just to the privileged or the lucky. I give you the tile: take it away and make it your own.


2. The Cliché

What is a cliché? A phrase, a sentence, much used, over-used perhaps. Usually there’s an implied judgement or an obvious explicit note of criticism or condemnation in “That’s a bit of a cliché.” Is there necessarily something wrong with a cliché. Some clichés enter the cliché-canon because they are good—concise, punchy and memorable. It’s not the cliché’s fault it’s a cliché. Can a single word be a cliché? What about part of a word, a prefix like post, as in post truth, postmodern, post Victorian, postwar. Or a suffix like -ality as in intellectuality, factuality, formality, there are other examples from current media-speak (there’s another suffix-cliché) but I can’t think of them at the moment. They’ll pass away, most of them, but some will cling on till the human race kicks the bucket no doubt, which might not be as far into the future as the politicians would like us to believe that they believe (who are they kidding? – yet another cliché). Some clichés are bloody awful, and some of the best clichés are the worst. Clichés are a useful source of humour if you are stuck for a joke. Absence makes the fart go longer, et cet. Tara for  now.