"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?
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