'The world is full of texts, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more.’ It seems an appropriate response to a new condition in writing today: faced with an unprecedented amount of available text, the problem is not needing to write more of it; instead, we must learn to negotiate the vast quantity that exists. How I make my way through the thicket of information — how I manage it, how I parse it, how I organize and distribute it — is what distinguishes my writing from yours. (Kenneth Goldsmith)
As an insecure and timid writer, I shy away from public writing. The things I write most often lie dissembled,
scratched out, and hidden away in various notebooks.
I am a horrible storyteller.
(Ironically, I help curate monthly storytelling events)
I rely on the generosity of intimate friends to: fill in the unspoken words, correct the jumbled linearity, and excuse the mumbling mess of my Michigan accent. There is a comforting impermanence to a spoken conversation or retelling of a story- the ability for shortcomings to be not only forgiven, but also forgotten.
The mere thought of signing my name to a written online piece- perfectly intact, uncorrectable and indestructible- unnerves me. But it seems it’s my turn in this blog’s writing rotation. (I am unsure as to why I signed up for this game of writing roulette.)
If the crux of creating something worth sharing is utter originality, I’m doomed. I value one’s ability to write and tell stories evocatively, and yet I cannot. Shared experiences seem inexplicable, or rather already explained, told, and recited countless times before me. The sheer range and volume of writing on any particular topic is enough to put down my pen. I think back to a text I sent last week,
“Every idea I begin to have has already been done.”
In preparation of TEDxUofM’s first salon, What’s on your mind? (a conversation on social media), I meditated on the reasoning behind my hesitation.
I obsess over accurately representing myself- carefully curating a collection of words/quotes/films/pictures/sounds… only to look back a year later and find them entirely irrelevant. The rhetorical amplitude of this collection of fragments speaks bounds beyond my capabilities, and sometimes incorrectly. Ideally I’d remain enigmatic and unknown to the world beyond my intimates, but this desire clashes with my fear of being entirely forgotten. I moderate the tension between external pressures and the desire to present myself authentically.
The textual (and indexical) collection of things combine to create my identity, online or otherwise. Technology is amplifying the rate of cut© techniques, but this phenomenon isn’t new. Recognition of the combinable nature of ideas is important in the context of creating anything, and especially our identities. I think we are all an assemblage.
or better yet, a remix::
“our creativity comes from without not from within. We are not self-made, we are dependent on one another, and admitting this to ourselves, isn’t an embrace of mediocrity and derivativeness. It’s a liberation from our misconceptions. It’s an incentive to not expect so much from ourselves and to simply, begin.” (Kirby Ferguson)
Consciously and unconsciously we are all tapping into a larger collective of inspiration. Our originality comes from the explicit and implicit (re)arrangement of previous compositions in a new context.
Beyond the pieces we create and our individual identities, we are creating each other.
"Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everybody I’ve ever known." (Chuck Palahniuk)
Works I have referenced// ideas I have stolen come from: Talbot, Goldsmith, Glass, Ferguson, Twain, Palahniuk, etc.