In this day and age is there still capacity for original thought? Are our thoughts, ideas and inventions not pirated as soon as we have placed them in the public domain? This kind of thought bothers me sometimes.
Having quietly voiced the outline of a new idea at work, I was gobmacked later, at a staff meeting, to find that it was coming out of the mouth of my colleague and she was claiming it as her own!
'Bloody plagiarist' I wanted to scream.
Mine! Mine! Mine!
And then I laughed.
Could I stand up in court saying 'Not guilty m'lud' with hand on heart, swearing that I had never bootlegged, nicked or copied an idea from elsewhere? No, of course I couldn't. I would be lying through my not-quite-so original teeth
Wilson Mizner the playright said: "If you steal from one author it's plagiarism, if you steal from many it's research".
I am, therefore, bereft of original thought, idea or invention. Everything I say, or do, or write, is lovingly swiped from those I admire and wish to emulate. Every word I hear that I like, that I want, is pasted into my 'favourites', to be dug out on a suitable occasion and claimed as my own!
An irritating habit of a recent tutor led him to compare style and content with the masters making one feel inadequate and devoid of any smidge of originality. In passing my (more than) worthy efforts over to him, I began to dread the red scribblings that would adorn my piece in return. In Minx-like frustration I shamelessly took a Seamus Heaney poem, 'Skylight', changed each and every word with my trusty thesaurus and handed it over. Hah! Surprise, surprise not one red dot or squiggle on the whole thing! He called it an 'interesting' and 'origina'l take on a loft hatch!!
And blogging, ideas flow across the blogosphere like an ever-growing patchwork quilt. Read something over there and it will undoubtably pop up over here in the next few days. Not word for word, but the idea is taken, twisted and spat out in a slightly different arrangement. So with this in mind i have decided that my new and totally original idea for a novel is going to stay firmly between my ears, for now.
"The original writer is not he who refrains from imitating others, but he who can be imitated by none" - Francois-Rene Chateaubriand.