“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination...Select only things to steal that speak to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. Don't bother concealing your thievery—celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Goddard said: 'It's not where you take it from—it's where you take it to.'”
Jim Jarmusch (Movie Maker Magazine #53, Winter, January 22, 2004)
Ecclesiastes 1:9 teaches us: “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” We are forced to steal from our predecessors, to stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us, whose ideas and words inspire and educate us. It's a compliment, when you think about it, to take someone's work that has planted a seed inside you, and carry it to a whole new fruiting.
There was a segment on the NBC Nightly News recently about just such a case. A young woman named Gina, in Ft. Payne, Alabama, took her family's sock-making business that had closed a few years ago, and reinvented it. Ft. Payne had long been considered “The Sock Capital” so there were plenty of skilled people who had lost their jobs due to out-sourcing. Gina was interested in green living, and in helping her community recover, and she had grown up with her parents' passion for industry. Well aware of the nation's changing fashion tastes, she designed organic cotton socks in lots of colors and designs, and with her father's help, devised the means of making them. The industry was reborn, and is now thriving.
Inspiration can come from almost anywhere. Jim Jarmusch, American film director and screen writer, lists a few sources: “old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadow.” In other words, inspiration is all around us, and within us. Don't wait to have an original idea—feel free to steal liberally from whatever speaks to your soul and make it authentically your own.
In the Spirit,