The Fishman’s Fish – About Inspiration and Personal Style

Inspiration. What is inspiration, from where is coming and how to discover your own style and not end plagiarizing other’ style? I have seen lately, a lot of things going on around internet, some are really deep insight into what some of us really are, some are just bland and comfortable takes of in vogues trends. But not least, there are also those who are changing their style each time someone’s launching a new idea. I never really understood, this sick need of having what other’s have, ranging from ideas to material things. How can you speak about yourself, when you are continuously borrowing ideas which don’t belong to you. I think, that no reward can be felt if something is not really coming from deep inside us. What’s your joy, gratefulness if you can not really understand yourself, and come up with something that really represents you? Why do you really need to redo other’s work, just because it happened that you like it? Why you are not going really down the road into the search of something worth living, some worth to be remembered after you? Is so much more comfortable to take ideas which have been already polished, translated into something very visual and to pretend that are yours?

Inspiration and personal style are difficult to understand when it comes to what it needs to be done to bring something new into the picture. But, if you can not be true to yourself, this will make you sooner or later, unhappier at some stage of your life. I’m fighting to understand this feeling and this concept, and to balance it into my right and wrong principles. Is not easy, is not like you will put this jar of jam on this shelf and the other type of jam on some separate shelf. A very special paragraph found in Mark Twain’s letter struck me out (Mark Twain to Helen Keller, St. Patrick’s Day, 1903) :

Oh, dear me, how unspeakably funny and owlishly idiotic and grotesque was that ‘plagiarism’ farce! As if there was much of anything in any human utterance, oral or written, except plagiarism! The kernel, the soul — let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances — is plagiarism. For substantially all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources, and daily use by the garnerer with a pride and satisfaction born of the superstition that he originated them; whereas there is not a rag of originality about them anywhere except the little discoloration they get from his mental and moral calibre and his temperament, and which is revealed in characteristics of phrasing. When a great orator makes a great speech you are listening to ten centuries and ten thousand men — but we call it his speech, and really some exceedingly small portion of it is his. But not enough to signify. It is merely a Waterloo. It is Wellington’s battle, in some degree, and we call it his; but there are others that contributed. It takes a thousand men to invent a telegraph, or a steam engine, or a phonograph, or a telephone or any other important thing — and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others. He added his little mite — that is all he did. These object lessons should teach us that ninety-nine parts of all things that proceed from the intellect are plagiarisms, pure and simple; and the lesson ought to make us modest. But nothing can do that.

Of course, this point of view it’s extremely interesting to me. On one hand, we all know that all our ideas are somehow second-hand, since at some point, all our inspiration is drawn from some outside source, like nature or anything surrounding us. However, it all goes down to a single point :  how we are making connection with images of things and how we are able to translate this into something easy to digest for the people around us. Either if we are speaking about a painting, a photograph, an essay – all depends on our creativity, knowledge and skills to connect and present things differently. On another plan, this involves time, soul, intimate thoughts about a specific point of view and the violation of this space is what I would call it plagiarism (in a form or another). The fact that not all of us have the capacity to translate anything that is visible in nature, for instance, makes those capable of writing a nice story or taking a nice photograph, to be called they have a talent. The talent can not be stolen, and the intuition of combining things we see, we like, we feel, we understand, we know is not possessed by everyone and it shouldn’t be.