Being You is Being Unique

The ideas and ideals I share are not original. That is, I have been reading and absorbing the ramblings of others for decades. And I can see they too were influenced by teachers and mentors. Einstein built his imagined reality upon the works of those he studied. Even the Bible is built upon the collection of myths and stories passed down through the millennia, blending the cultural identities of different civilizations. Human values are shared values, acquired through accumulation and mutual influence.

What is original, is our individual and personal expression of our shared knowledge. It is a common experience to find our personal insights expressed eloquently by the hand of another soul.

I seldom give credit for concepts or ideas, mostly because there is no way to track my thoughts back to a sole source and, even if I could, it is no longer the same idea. Besides, I know not who influenced their beliefs.

Don't worry about being original in your expression. Be authentic. Be yourself. If you try too hard, if you labor to distinguish your thoughts from others, you will hinder the process and sacrifice your creative freedom. The act of meditative writing is more a process of discovery. It’s a creative endeavor meant to liberate, not constipate.

I believe the pressure to be unique is a source of much of what we term writer's block. Our writing is dead before we begin. Death by comparing and competing against all other writers. A perfect and funny example is the writer in the movie “Throw Momma from the Train.” Instead of writing, the character obsesses over (and over) an opening sentence. Whoever wrote the screenplay had a lot of fun making fun of writer's block. He or she got it! Don't obsess.

When in the art scene, I did the gallery circuit and watched the trends unfold. Everyone was reaching for the brass ring. Instead of painting, artists were obsessed with being the next big thing. Things went from bizarre and weird to obscene. Meanwhile, the lowly craftsmen were creating original objects of beauty. True art, in the spirit of pure creativity.

If you wish to write a story, read Joseph Campbell's works about the Hero's Journey. Each story is unique, but each story follows a theme and a pattern. My novel is a hodgepodge of styles, a blending of influences, but it stands by itself, unique and original. No one else could ever have written it. Not even close. But still, it follows the principals of the Hero’s Journey. There was no plan. It just happened.

Being you is being unique. Your ramblings belong to you. Your words are unique to you. Ideas come and go. Some belong only to this moment in history. Some ideas linger for generations. They belong to everyone. They are universal and timeless. You are your own compass. Let your pen glide. Let your mind wander. Let your imagination soar. Be you bold. Write for no reason.

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