Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday Thoughts...

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas 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

This quote tends to suggest to me that if you are concerned only with trying to be unique, different, original or individual you almost can't be. Almost as if the focus on it will betray you and you will end up trying to do or create something that is already somewhere.

I think his expression that if you are simply trying to tell the truth, in your own way, you may well end up begin original is lovely. If you focus only on what needs to be told and express it through your own hands, stitches, inks, paints, words, marks or whatever, then there will be originality within it.

It probably comes down to the truth bit.  If you are being honest and attempting to speak a truth as you know of it or perceive it (not copying somebody else or trying to imitate somebody else or 'tweaking' somebody else's ideas or working between parameters established by others) then the work you produce will be truly your own.

It matters not that you are not the first person to speak or tell the story of "memory" or "environmental degradation" or "discarded"or "silence". It matters that you are the only person to be doing it in your own unique way, based on your personal truth in relation to it.

I think this is a very encouraging way of thinking about things when you feel stuck or hopeless, thinking you should be doing this or that; that you'll never be as good as them or him or her.  That if only you could do work that looked like that...

©2012 Fiona Dempster - work in progress...


  1. surveying the field and finding yourself lacking is not a good way to be at all.... but it's better than total ignorance (otherwise one might find themselves reinventing that wheel)

    I suppose you could say I take the middle path - I'm wary of post-mods 'there's nothing new under the sun' guise (a cop-out if you ask me - and an attempt to place language in the drivers seat of fine art... no I'm not a fan of derrida) but I'm just as wary of folk who claim 'this is original 'cause I made it with my own two hands and a pure heart' (ignorance is less bliss than it is... well.... ignorance)

    I think you need to keep your eye on the big picture... context is nine tenths of the meaning (an original statement just penned by yours truly)

    (ps this isn't said with any reference to arty pieces -and certainly not your pics! - it's certainly not a personal thing - just a general comment - agree or disagree at your p/le(a/i)sure)

  2. Would an "Amen Sister!" be out of place?'s my Southern Baptist upbringing showing through.

    I'm of the mind that being as we're in the year 2012, truly original ideas just don't exist any more and probably haven't for ages. However, what we do as individuals with those ideas, is unique. And that if we stay true to ourselves, to our own vision, then all will be well. It may be a bit naive, but...

    So...yep...amen sister! I agree with you.

  3. My first thoughts are just the echo of Jennifer's....I just want to say Amen! Doesn't that just take the weight off'll never be anyone but yourself...take pride in it and honor yourself, showing the world what you have to can't help but be original! Lovely post, Fiona!

  4. Fiona, this is such a lovely post and SO true! The world is full of people striving to be like so-and-so, look like so-and-so and to create in the style of someone whose work they admire. It is very encouraging to think that just working honestly is equal to being truly original.

  5. i have always loved lewis' mind, and here he's spot on.

  6. A great quote that resonates with me. When I am immersed in my 'play' with no thought of exhibitions or other peripherals thge magic happens. I find my own voice. One should never try to emulate. Influence is one thing, plagiarism another.

  7. Wow.. this is all so true.. artists should always strive to be true to their voice and expression... and fight against the influences of others.

  8. Hi Ronnie - as ever lots to ponder! I think checking out others and seeing where your work fits with regard to their level of achievement is important if you are to understand what you're doing, the nature and quality of it. Comparing with others for other reasons (like to beat yourself up) is less useful, but something many of us find ourselves doing.

    Maybe it's the use of the word 'original' and what we take that to mean. Maybe words like true voice and expression (as Donna says) are what we should strive for. I think I just thought that if you try really hard to original - you probably won't be!

    Not out of place at all Jennifer! Loved it! I think the fact that there is so much out there to see now can be even more confusing for folk, and in the end, we have to listen to our inner true voices.

    Thank you Patti - I think for many of us, that niggly voice can give us a hard time about our work; and when we feel down or unsure about where it fits or is it of value; that it's kind of nice to remember that we still have it within us to be original - for our view or drive is unique.

    Thanks Jane - I think you are right, there is a lot of striving to be other than we are; and that if we actually had the courage and confidence to sit with our own understanding of what we offer; we could relax.

    Thanks Velma - such an intriguing mind don't you think? Your work could never be other than original...

    I thinks too Jo - influence versus plagiarism is scary stuff. To me, when all the bits gather together and make subliminal connections as you play and it all appears as if like magic - how fabulous!

    Thank you Donna - I hadn't thought about the fight against the influence of others; but as I think about it now; it is part of the constant growth and the path isn't it? Others do try to suggest or say or tell; and we have to listen and work out what is helpful and what is them trying to make us more like them! Another thought for me to ponder - thanks!

  9. ~fiona...i love this post and the words you shared above...especially being involved in the blogging world...being surrounded by so many unique and amazingly talented can be hard to not feel overwhelmed or lose you way...follow your heart and the truth that lies within...

    it is something i have tried to follow since i first started blogging...whether it be perceived as or good or bad...i have tried to follow through as i am...create and share i see the world...

    you have shared words that we all need to hold and remember as we journey through life...truth be told...just as we are...thank you so for sharing this with well and much love light and blessings~


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