Being Original

Be you. Be original. Blow their minds with your creative geniusness. Nowadays, authenticity and creativity are revered by artists, entrepreneurs, and scientists alike. As a self-proclaimed writer, some of my favorite pieces are ones that cannot be duplicated.

However, being in the age in which information is constantly at our fingertips and ideas bounce back and forth with the hit of a key, it’s hard to create work that can be safely considered original.

For instance, I recently drafted a poem in which the female protagonist found herself and her strength in nature. Although the sacred relationship between man and nature is not “new” I thought that the I had presented this idea in a fresh lens.

By simply flipping open literature provided to us in class I realized I was mistaken. Both an article from the Poetry Foundation and a poem by Richard Siken had already put forth this idea. For instance, the article from the Poetry Foundation stated that, “I should say at this point that, instinctively, I have little faith in the benignity of nature, that great good thing that gives us earthquakes and tsunamis as readily as it gives us daisies and nightingales. I don’t believe man is a bad blight on good nature: I believe he/she is part of nature and shares nature’s qualities. Between Versailles and the rainforest is a vast range of human interventions that move and delight me because I can identify with the instincts that created them.” On the same hand, Siken’s poem portrayed this nature-fueled, feminist heroism in his poem, ”Litany in Which Certain Things are Crossed Out,” when he states, “You want a better story. Who wouldn’t? / A forest, then. Beautiful trees. And a lady singing. / Love on the water, love underwater, love, love and so on. / What a sweet lady. Sing lady, sing! Of course, she wakes the dragon. / Love always wakes the dragon and suddenly /  flames everywhere. /I can tell already you think I’m the dragon, / that would be so like me, but I’m not. I’m not the dragon. / I’m not the princess either.”

While I believe that these authors captured the idea that I was attempting to propose in my poem even better than I did, part of me was slightly disheartened. Do these pieces minimize my work? Has anyone else ever experienced a similar feeling?

One Reply to “Being Original”

  1. Tbh I’m not sure if anything is 100% original anymore. Creative Writing Club was going to read a few poems from a certain poet who I will not name, but apparently that poet was accused of plagiarism. Long story short, we’ll be reading some poems from that poet along with two other poets with very similar work. We are exposed to so much art nowadays, it’s impossible for us to directly remember it all; sometimes it just shows up in our work. Whether or not you get caught is up in the air. On a scale of nobody to George Harrison, you’re closer to the former, so I’d say just write and edit the damn thing because Richard Silken has other shit to deal with in his life that’s more important than suing you.

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