37f179f7dc9c4bc253f21dc3621458e9_002                                                        Melba’s Kind of Self -Portrait

Writing can be the most fulfilling activity. I know that it gives me great satisfaction and pleasure. The fulfillment augments when someone tells me that my poems inspire them or have made them look at things from a different perspective.

All of us want to be acknowledged and praised for our work even when we do not consider it work. For me writing helps me release tension. I learn. I think and I am inspired to read the work of others so that my writing becomes more meaningful.

But I also want to be creative and original. I want people to say, “This is unlike anything I have ever read before.” Perhaps this is not realistic but should it be the poet’s or writer’s goal.

Since my retirement a little over a year ago I have pondered the idea of originality. What does it mean to be original? I started watching more movies on Netflix and TV shows and looked for originality. I found some that seemed original but many that had repetitive story lines and themes. For example, many of the new reality shows promote competition and require people to either spill their guts out about their personal lives or ask them to do outrageous things like eat bugs or wrap snakes around their necks. Original perhaps but not anything that will remain memorable I do not think.

Movies made for TV usurp most cable channels and many even say that the screenplays are original. Some producers claim the stories are real life. So I guess that makes them original.

I looked up some quotes about the idea of originality. Therefore, I am not being original by quoting these thoughts or concepts here but I do hope to get some original feedback and opinions about what originality is or should be.

My drawings and photographs are original. My poems are original. My problem is that I want to be extraordinarily original. Please send me your comments and thoughts.

Here are the quotes:


“What is originality? It is being one’s self, and reporting accurately what we see.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson


Great works of art “are not the product of single and solitary births; they are the product of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice”

Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Quoted in http://web.mit.edu/comm-forum/papers/alfrey.html

“Originality as a part of the big picture, where everything else is balanced and in place, can be a wonderful and valuable thing indeed. When it has a definite purpose to express something that cannot be done by conventional means it is special, and those types of innovations are far more effective, powerful and beautiful.”  Tom Hess quoted from http://tomhess.net/Articles/Originality.aspx


” Originality can come only from what you bring of yourself to your story. In other words, originality is not a function of your novel; it is a quality in you.”

Donald Maass

Quoted from http://writerunboxed.com/2009/04/01/what-is-originality/


“The merit of originality is not novelty; it is sincerity.” – Thomas Carlyle


“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: because if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”

~C. S. Lewis quoted in http://undiscoveredauthor.wordpress.com/2010/01/31/quote-c-s-lewis-on-originality/


“Seems to me – if I was an author, I would want to try for a title that was just a tad more original…..Just saying….”

– Quoted from http://cataids.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/originality-in-titles/


“What does it mean to be original with your art? Can you truly be original when you follow the wisdom of those who preceded you?”- Patrick Ross

Quoted from http://artistsroad.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/creativity-and-originality/


“Poetry demands originality. It is, however, unfair to expect brand-new poets to produce fresh, original work all the time—even the most seasoned poets struggle with this task. Poets often find that they must first imitate what has come before them—by reading the work of others and by imitating the work that inspires them—until their own unique voice begins to come through. And by honing the craft through dedicated practice, a poet develops his or her own style.”



Here is my concept of originality in a painting I made a few years ago.


OriginsMelba Christie (C) 1993