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September 30, 2006

nothing new under the sun

by gl. at 11:40 am

i ran across an interesting quote yesterday while skimming through the winter 1990 issue of Calligraphy Review (now Letter Arts Review). in it, they were lamenting competive practices, something they felt was at odds with most calligraphy traditions:

"When survival depends on originality, that uniqueness becomes something to protect rather than share..."

this probably deserves a longer post, but i've been thinking about artists who are possessive about their work versus those who are generous with what they offer. i have never enjoyed competition. i play collaborative scrabble, for heaven's sake. i've always adopted or adapted best practices & models and have encouraged others to adopt mine. maybe it's because i come from the remix generation, or maybe it's because i worked in higher education for almost 10 years, but i'm generally okay with people embracing bits of creative work to use as epigrams, inspiration, and sometimes even gentle appropriation. (note, for instance, that our creative commons license doesn't mind if you use what we write here, even for profit, as long as you credit us -- and allow the same use of the work you create from it).

even with the same words, we each write different poems. even with the same syllabus, we each teach wildly different classes. i don't think our ideas are so unique that they must be hoarded & guarded; instead, i believe our individual expression & combination of them, like genes, cannot be replicated.

posted by gl. | September 30, 2006 11:40 AM | categories: writing