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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

originality in art

To continue with my thoughts from yesterday:

So what is the meaning of originality? Last night I got out Sarah ban Breathnach's Something More. It's one of those wonderful books that I can simply flip open anywhere and find something that applies to my current situation (most books are like that, actually--try it sometime, and really pay attention! It may be only a phrase, but the message is there. The Creator is always talking to us.)

In Something More, Sarah talks about 'excavating your True Self,' and I believe that this concept is at the root of originality. A person who shouts "I am original, look at me! Look at how I dress! Look at my hair! Look at my art! Read what I've written! See how original and different I am!" misses the whole point. True originality simply glows; there's no need to shout about it.

When my husband was coaching girls' basketball, I got a first-hand look at what our society does to originals. We would meet a little girl, maybe nine or ten, and she absolutely shone with her own power and enthusiasm. "I love basketball! I'm going to play for you when I get to the high school! I can't wait! " Little girls sweep you away with their pure, potent personality. Four years later, when I saw that same little girl at high school age, I wanted to cry because she had changed so much; in the place of that enthusiastic ball of energy I would find an apologetic creature full of self-doubt.

Most of us (and believe me, I include myself) have buried our True Selves beneath layers of what we think the world expects of us. It's a daunting task to rediscover the things that make us glow, that bring us immense joy, that make us truly ourselves. I know that I am only now beginning to follow my instincts. I have trouble even hearing the voice of my heart that was so strong when I was four or five or ten.

But when I can hear that voice; when I can follow its direction--then I am becoming more myself, more original. The joy that walks hand in hand with that type of originality is reward all its own--I don't need to shout about it.

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