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Nothing new under the sun. Sunday June 25, 2017

"Originality is the art of concealing your source."

Attributed to Benjamin Franklin or Franklin P. Jones or Thomas Edison.

The fact the quotation has three possible authors begs the question what is originality and does it matter?

When I write I want to be original and I am sure many people are the same. When I write a blog I want be very original and unique. In reality it is nearly impossible to be original as most ideas have already been used in some way.

Shakespeare used Roman sources Plutarch and Ovid so writers were using earlier sources for a long time. Most people would say Shakespeare was original.

If a book has a similar theme but each writer uses an idea in a different way, does that show some originality? Why is there this need to be original? Why don't we just try to be captivating and engaging in our words?

"Only those with no memory insist on their originality" Coco Chanel

Many people in the creative arts would agree with Coco because they realise people prefer the comfort familiar themes to unknown territory of new ideas.

This is why many movies have a happy ending, and have sequels and there are many version of the same film, eg. The three Musketeers has had approximately 24 versions made of it. Books are the same, people love to read about the same characters, the same familiar story.

So where does the desire to be original come from. Is because we want to stand out to be better than others?

Edith Wharton said "True originality consists not in a new manner but in a new vision."

So is it about not coming up with new ideas but with a new way of using them or seeing them?

Remember not many can recall who made up a joke but everyone laughs if it is told well.

I am still confused about originality and the way it is interpreted in many ways today.

Are we all original because we experience our lives individually?

Does it really matter if we get ideas from others and use them in our own way.

Is being original very important to you or doesn't it matter?

A Moodscope member

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Molly Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 1:36am

I struggled to understand this Leah. What came to my mind though was that if one wants to be original, then one doesn't need to quote other people. I am not keen on famous quotes. Quote yourself. We are all unique, we are all our own people. In your own blogs, you are always original and unique, and that comes from you, and that is what makes it special. If it has been said before, then it doesn't matter, it is about the way you are expressing yourself and the way others can relate. I am still a bit confused with your post - it hurt my brain a bit. I suppose it felt far too original. Molly xx

Leah Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 8:56am

Thanks Molly for your comments. I appreciate your honest feedback. I like to vary my blogs from serious ones to lighter ones. I think out of all my blogs maybe about 5% will have quotes. I am sorry you were confused my blog. Leah xx

Mary Wednesday Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 11:48am

Molly, I have replied to your comment yesterday.

Molly Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 1:35pm

I should have put a smiley face at the end as the last sentence was my idea of a joke, but might not have been read that way. Maybe my dislike of famous quotes is that I'm not 'well read' enough xx Ok Mary, I will have a look xx

Leah Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 10:39pm

Molly, I think people relate differently to quotes depending on their experiences. Like songs, some people find lyrics in songs very comforting.Thanks for explaining and for your comment.xx

Molly Mon, Jun 26th 2017 @ 1:47am

It is not about experiences for me Leah, it is about being ourselves. I am not one for bowing down to people or loving this quote or that quote. I suppose, as you as you asked the question in your blog, we are all original individuals. My writing comes from the heart and I don't feel the need to copy people but I probably do, without even realising it, therefore I think it is all ok, if it has been said before - then so what? Sometimes things need to be said over and over even if it is the same mantra. Maybe I have misunderstood your post but it did get me thinking. All your posts give great food for thought. Molly xx

Leah Mon, Jun 26th 2017 @ 3:05am

Molly, I like that you are confident to express your ideas as the last thing I want is for everyone agreeing with me!!Thanks for your comments they make me think xx

Molly Mon, Jun 26th 2017 @ 3:26am

I don't feel confident at all when I make my comments, I just try to express how I feel and hope that I do not cause offence xx

Leah Mon, Jun 26th 2017 @ 4:13am

I try to express how I feel too but at times the message gets confused. xx

Molly Mon, Jun 26th 2017 @ 11:40pm

Yes it does, and I think we sometimes need to be 'flowery' or put a smiley face, but I am not very good at that, as my humour is very dry and deadpan so a smiley face ruins it somehow. Gosh no wonder I am so misunderstood. :-) xx

Leah Tue, Jun 27th 2017 @ 3:12am

Molly your comments are much appreciated.

Anonymous Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 6:06am

Interesting post!

Leah Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 8:57am

Thanks anon.

Orangeblossom Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 6:29am

Hi Leah I have been thinking about this for some time. Although I am no great fan of the Victorian Thomas Carlyle, I feel compelled to agree with the quote at the end of your blog"The merit of originality is not novelty, but sincerity."

Leah Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 9:21am

Thanks Orangeblossom for your comment.

Linda Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 8:43am

Another beautiful post Leah! I am considering writing my first novel, now that I am out of the woods.
Your post was great because I keep thinking of all my favourite stories/ films & want to do something historical based on these that I enjoy! Watch this space; thank you x

Leah Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 9:23am

LInda thanks for your kind words and comment. Good luck with your writing.

Jul Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 9:06am

I love this blog and just adore Edith Wharton's novels so was very happy to read her quote. Coincidentally I was just having breakfast and mentioned to my OH that a Kadinsky painting had been sold at auction for 35 million pounds or dollars, not sure which. I then said " it could have been a fake! and no one would know. Fancy that. this very rich person might have paid £35 million for a fake painting." But that's my point, the painting would be the same, just as brilliant probably and exactly the same as Kadinsky's original but not the original. In some ways it doesn't matter one jot to the overall appreciation of the painting. So in my view being original doesn't really matter at all (except to the buyer but then if s/he has 35 million to spend on a painting, there must be worst things that can happen).
I like your blog Leah and am going to think about originality some more. And dig out my Edith Wharton novels. Julxx

Leah Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 9:27am

THanks Jul for your comment. You In art a painting is deemed as being authentic as long as an expert deems it to be the original. I had not thought about originality in painting. I like Edith Wharton books too.

Mary Wednesday Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 11:33am

Incredible post! Really got me thinking. I've never much thought about being original; certainly not for originality's sake. What I always want is to be recognisable. I love it when people say, "I knew it was you from the first line." I think it's known as having a distinctive "voice".

My novels are written in a definitive genre, so each plot must be crafted within definite parameters. When you examine what makes a good story, there is always a pattern, the same pattern. If you deviate from that pattern, then you might have something original (Waiting for Godot", for instance), but it will not be accessible or enjoyable for the majority of people.

Just as with a patchwork quilt, however, which is sewn to a strict pattern (otherwise the quilt will not go together), the choice of fabric, colours and patterns will make each quilt "original" and each quilter has her (it is usually her) own style. My mother is a prolific quilter and I can always recognise her work in any quilt show.

And - going back to "voice", yes - I knew it was you, Leah, from the first line!

Leah Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 11:40am

Thanks Mary for your comment. It is funny I used to think I was predictable when people said they knew it was me from first lines. Now I like your idea of a distinctive voice. I like the quilt analogy.

Jane SG Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 7:36pm

I've always said I can tell it's your blog as soon as I start reading Leah. Its definitely a compliment. As soon as I know it's your blog I feel excited to read the rest of it! Xx

Leah Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 10:29pm

Jane Thanks for your kind words. I appreciated that. Xx

Orangeblossom Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 3:52pm

Perhaps authenticity and having a distinct voice is very essential for a writer, and quite a few blog contributors have thieir own distinctive voicce.

Leah Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 10:31pm

Orangeblossom I always thought I varied my blogs but maybe by topic but not by style. Yes I can tell who has written a blog by the first sentence, unless of course it is by a first time blogger .

Anonymous Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 4:00pm

Great blog, thank you!

Leah Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 10:32pm

Thanks anon.

Jane SG Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 7:40pm

This is really interesting. I like to think that I'm original and unique but of course the whole me will be made up of many experiences and influences. I certainly like to feel that my poetry is original but I may be basing my writing on influences I'm not aware of. Your blog has made me think Leah! I find quotes helpful especially when I'm feeling down. Xxx

Leah Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 10:35pm

Jane Thanks for your comments. You make some valid points. I think poetry is very personal and while it maybe a universal theme it is approcahed in a unique way. I would like to read your poetry. Thanks xx

Duma Sun, Jun 25th 2017 @ 11:57pm

I'm going to have to disagree stongly with the idea that there is no such thing as an original thought. It strikes me as a deeply depressed and/or depressing concept. Of course there's originality, else we'd still be sitting around in caves, assuming that we had gotten that far. On a personal level 1 I follow each action with the following action, whatever that happens to be. Repeat until final death. Whether any individual action (be it thought, or deed, or something in between) is original or 'old hat' is unimportant to me. I do feel it's really important that an original thing is possible, thinking that it isn't kinda detracts, from any spark, don't you think?

Cheers, Duma.

Leah Mon, Jun 26th 2017 @ 2:53am

Duma How nice to see your post after some time. How are you? I don't see that saying there is no such thing as original thought as being depressing, I did say it is all about how we interpret things in our own individual way. You then say that it does not matter if something is original or old hat but one needs to think it is at least possible. If that works for you, that is good, the hope that one day there will be an original thought. For me , it does not concern me. I would not derive you from your spark. Cheers Leah unoriginal and sparkless!!

Molly Mon, Jun 26th 2017 @ 3:34am

:-) this is just so funny - I am not sure why but it just is xx (not sure if i am supposed to be laughing so apologies if I have had one wine too many but lol) xx

Leah Mon, Jun 26th 2017 @ 4:14am

Are you laughing at my post? My last line was meant to be funny. xx

Molly Mon, Jun 26th 2017 @ 11:44pm

I know your last line was supposed to be funny, but I found the whole post quite funny, I think it is the way you write just amuses me lol xx

Leah Tue, Jun 27th 2017 @ 3:15am

Molly I think being amusing is better than being confusing , isn't it??!!

Molly Tue, Jun 27th 2017 @ 6:57pm

Absolutely Leah ! I am not complaining, if it brings a smile to my face :-) xx

Duma Mon, Jun 26th 2017 @ 12:47pm

Hi Leah. Thanks for the lovely welcome, I also found your comment funny. I have been fine, mostly. Thanks for asking. I hope you have been well.

Mary Wednesday Mon, Jun 26th 2017 @ 2:18pm

Duma, darling! Lovely to see you again.

Duma Mon, Jun 26th 2017 @ 4:01pm

Hi Mary, how are you?

Leah Mon, Jun 26th 2017 @ 10:39pm

Duma and Mary, Isn't moodscope a great place that we can see familiar names and catch up. Duma I hope to see your comments again .

Duma Mon, Jun 26th 2017 @ 11:10pm

Thanks Leah. I hope so too.

Leah Mon, Jun 26th 2017 @ 10:44pm

Thanks everyone for your thoughtful posts. It is not to late to write a post or add comments. I like the way we have different views on the use of quotes , the definition of originality , and wanting to hope that will be something original in the future. Take care and special kind thoughts for all those who are struggling at the moment .Big hugs to all and if you don't like hugs I will wave.

Molly Tue, Jun 27th 2017 @ 6:58pm

Waving back at you ! Oh ok, you can have a hug too xx

S Mon, Jul 17th 2017 @ 1:09am

I really enjoy writing and composing music, but I always find an inner perfectionist makes it difficult to be original, especially when there's amazing examples everywhere. In fact, with my writing, I actually have a friend called Leah who is perhaps the most exceptional writer I've ever seen. Even the worst of her writing blows me away at its elegant grace and style, and whenever I write, I find myself incapable of stopping with frustration sometimes.

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