One of the things that irks me the most is when people describe their work as ‘original’.
Because when I hear that, it’s usually said in a very blasé, obnoxiously smug way. Not only am I annoyed at this display of smugness, but I am also made very uncomfortable by the fact that this person is refusing to acknowledge every and anyone in influencing them in any way.
That’s what it means to me. I mean, I might be totally wrong, and I’m sure the person making this seemingly innocent comment has no idea the weight of their words is crushing me with deep annoyance.
The thing is though, I remember my Extension English teacher telling me about how teachers were encouraged to call ‘creative writing’ ‘imaginative writing’ instead because it was a more accurate term due to the fact that it was highly unlikely that completely new writing styles were being created in our day and age. That is kind of my point. I very much doubt that Shakespeare called himself ‘original’, even though he is one of the few people who might be able to get away with calling himself so.
An artist living today no matter how great would be unwise to completely discredit artistic influences because they are there, even without the artist’s awareness. Things influence us both consciously and unconsciously there’s no way you can fight that, but why would you?
The arts are all about sharing, that’s the beautiful thing about it. Sure, you can aspire to make a whole new movement in art or literature which is completely devoid of any human influence, you can try if you like! But it probably feels quite lonely on top of that mountain peak.