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  • madeline mcfarlane

bedroom thoughts on originality and talent

By no means am I someone old enough or wise enough to give advice, or even to believe that my thoughts are anything worth devouring even a crumb of. But in some small hidden corner of my body there is a giant, stinking narcissist waiting to be unleashed in more than just the fractions I let slip through now. However, alongside this desperate pull, there is the deep tempting pit begging me to jump; one with voices that call me a fraud, or an imposter, from the safety of the dark. The gods call for me, and Lucifer whispers my name in my nightmares, and both sides say the same thing in different words. Though it doesn’t matter now I suppose, I think I can hold them off for just long enough to press post on these words– to cement them to a time past 12.06am when they were born from my sleep deprived brain. Thinking back to that pit– it tells (or reminds) me that my words are just rewritten thoughts of all works of art that I have read and purged from my mind, but that stick just a little to the synapses, enough for me to claim the thought as my own. Who knows how many times I've accidentally referenced Plath or Savannah Brown, or even those small snippets of poems I see on my pinterest feed. Fuck, does it matter though? Can we just call them all some sort of modern glosa? For reference, a glosa is a poem that quotes four lines of another poet’s poem as an epigraph for the new one.

So in this stream of consciousness I ask: is it truly possible, in this century and beyond, to ever be original? Is this the reason why artists from the middle of modern humanity are so well remembered? Did the switch flip when the clocks hit 2000 and instead of taking down planes it imbued us with the desire to try and let our names live past these ephemeral bodies. So, now we are left to wade through piles of internet links and comments to try and find art that we love, and when we do, we only love it for a short time. I suppose though, that there is no way of knowing the future.

So are we all geniuses or are we all mediocre? Were classic authors perhaps gifted with the same talents (or even lesser than) of people today, only that they were so lucky (or unlucky) to be born in eras where nobody else had the means or ability to learn how to write the words they wanted to say, and no time to do anything but survive.

When I was a child I read that 7 people in the world have the same thought or idea at the same time. Now this is definitely another of the internet's falsities. But I think back to it often, and wonder if maybe I shared my brain, if only for a moment, with another artist, another writer, who embarked on the journey I wished to start, but was held back by doubt. Would that mean that my idea is not mine at all? Can we as consumers accept that art is inspired by others? Will we be able to let go of similarities and accept that with all the time humanity has had we are unlucky in being so late.

So, in my eyes, is originality possible? No.

But originality is not necessary, as modernity really is just the changing and reworking of all that we see in the past. So maybe I should let the narcissist out a bit more, just to remind myself that self doubt really is a load of bullshit.

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