In my quest for a simpler life I’m supposed to throw away bags, bins, and drawers of precious writing junk I’ve squirreled away for decades. Instead I’m just moving stuff from one box to another.

But one pleasant reunion was when I found 40 pages I’d printed out in 1999 from Chuck Guilford’s web site “Paradigm Online Writing Assistant” and that’s still on the Internet. He offers valuable help under the headings of Discovery, Organizing, Revising, Editing, Informal Essays, Thesis/Support Essays, Argumentative Essays, Exploratory Essays, and Documenting.

Under the heading of “Revising” and “the Best Word” Guilford discusses clichés — those tired, unimaginative words and phrases that we sometimes mistake for creativity but that cause not only the reader — but also the writer who wrote them — to yawn.

He lists several clichés, then asks that you rewrite the cliché, “making the same point more vividly and clearly in your own language.”

Try rewriting these three:
1. “I was hungry enough to eat a horse.”
2. “We ran up against a brick wall.”
3. “Ever since then she’s kept her nose clean.”

What did you come up? Let us know!