I’m reading Natalie Goldberg’s book, Writing Down The Bones right now. This is not my main point, but it. is. so. good. Okay, anyway- I just happened to read the chapter Writing is a Communal Act yesterday. I really need(ed) to get this through my head. I’ve smothered my first-thoughts of writing with self condemnation over this very idea.
Do you really think that’s an original thought?
Ah! This sounds like everyone else.
You’re not smart enough to write about this. Leave it to someone who is.
And this has been a major factor in my writer’s blocked life the last few years. I really really hate the idea of someone knowing I’ve copied someone else (or them) and the line between inspiration and copy-cat is a thin one. I know I do this more than I realize and it’s probable that it’s entirely impossible not to.
We are arrogant to think that we have a totally original mind. We are carried on the backs of all the writers who came before us. We live in the present with all the history, ideas and soda pop of this time. It all gets wrapped up in our writing. – Natalie Goldberg
I’ve actually felt guilty for quite some time because of a poem I wrote about twelve or thirteen years ago. I read Jewel’s A Night Without Armor and was inspired by much of her poetry. One poem in particular, titled P.S. really threw sparks- and I went chasing them. I wrote my own:
I don’t love you anymore.
And, you left your jacket at my house.
That’s it. That’s what I’ve felt guilty about for over a decade. And now it’s out there. Now you know what a horrible artist I am (there’s a little self-deprecating sarcasm for your funny-bone this morning).
I’m not sure I’m comfortable with “stealing” but “inspired” I can get with. Am I fooling myself? Maybe.
Cheers to Day 6.