After thousands of years, hundreds of generations, and millions of books, is it possible to be original at all? This is something I have been thinking about lately. I want my book to be entirely unique; a one-of-a-kind story like no other. But in the end, don’t we draw all our “new” ideas from old ones? Past experiences, previously learned information, and age old archetypes influence us all. Below is an interesting quote on originality and authenticity. My verdict and thoughts on it will follow.
“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees , clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic.
Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent.
And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate if it you feel like it. In any case remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”
– Jim Jarmusch
I agree, to a degree, with Jarmusch here. As I said above, so much has been written that it is nearly possible to come up with something so new it has never been considered by the human race. But as Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.” In all honestly, not many of the individual parts and ideas of your stories will be original. However, I believe a story in its entirety can be authentic and something new. Yes, you may have a king, or an Empire, or a terrible betrayal. Those have all been written about in various forms a thousand times over. But your king, or your Empire, or your terrible betrayal can be like none other. Stories will always have similarities to others, but you can take your story where no other has gone before.