“Nothing Is Original”

I’ve never seen a Jim Jarmusch movie, and from what I read in his wikipedia entry, I doubt they’d do much for me. I’m not a fan of self-consciously “art house” stuff. However, I do like this sentiment of his I ran across on Goodreads:

Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”

–Jim Jarmusch

(Original attribution: MovieMaker Magazine #53, Winter, January 22, 2004)


Quote of the Day

Humans are problematic.

Life is problematic.

Everything you like is problematic, if you look hard enough.

Wil Wheaton (emphasis mine)

Nothing especially profound here, just something that clicked with thoughts I’ve been having recently about how people and works of art alike have a lot of different facets, and how we often choose to overlook some of those facets because we want to continue liking something or someone we already have a history with.


The Quality of a Nation

And now a selection from the “Inspiring Quotations that Shouldn’t Be Controversial But Probably Will Be in Today’s Political Climate” file:

The quality of a nation isn’t determined by how well the people at the top are living — no, the true quality of a nation is determined by how well the people at the bottom are treated. We will be judged by the way we treat the sick, the poor, the elderly, children, animals, and even the world we live upon.


If we want to pride ourselves as good people, as rational people, as compassionate people — then we must not give in to our own darker impulses.


And as angry as we might feel about the criminal act of any perpetrator, that will never be a justification for abandoning our own morality.

David Gerrold, science-fiction writer


Quote of the Day

From a piece about the early ’90s TV series Twin Peaks, which is apparently going to be revisited soon on Showtime:

Nostalgia is never only nostalgia, but the raw, reflexive appetite for something we can no longer access.

I confess, I’m not entirely sure what the author means by the first clause of that sentence, “Nostalgia is never only nostalgia,” but I really like the language she comes up with to describe the phenomenon: “the raw, reflexive appetite for something we can no longer access.” That certainly sounds like my emotional experience. The word “reflexive,” in particular, is… enlightening.


Quotables: The Stories Only You Can Tell

From one of those lists of quotes by famous writers that go around every so often, which usually comprise a smidgeon of generic inspiration with some pat condescension and a whole lot of discouragement (at least that’s how I tend to experience them), here’s one I thought was actually pretty helpful:

Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that — but you are the only you.

― Neil Gaiman

(Gaiman is, of course, the best-selling fantasy novelist who created The Sandman, one of the most sublime comic-books-for-grownups ever written… just in case you didn’t know… )


And One from Mark Twain…

I’ve already posted this on Facebook and Tumblr, so sorry if you’re getting bored of it, but I really like this quote:


And the photo is pretty cool, too!


Three Frightening Quotations from Sylvia Plath

Frightening, that is, in how much they resonate with me…

Why the hell are we conditioned into the smooth strawberry-and-cream Mother-Goose-world, Alice-in-Wonderland fable, only to be broken on the wheel as we grow older and become aware of ourselves as individuals with a dull responsibility in life?



What horrifies me most is the idea of being useless: well-educated, brilliantly promising, and fading out into an indifferent middle age.



I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.

That last one, in particular… yeah. I’ve often said that one of the big appeals, for me, of the movie and television series Highlander is the “what-if?” idea of immortal people being able to live many different lives down through the ages. The idea of having time to be and do many different things. I struggle almost daily with the knowledge that there just isn’t going to be enough time for everything I want to do in this world, all the places I want to go and things I want to accomplish, and that so much of the time I do have gets eaten up with mundane bullshit like household chores and paying the bills and commuting.

And that middle quotation… I struggle with that too. The sense that the potential I was always told I possessed is unfulfilled and my powers and chances are fading…

I think maybe it’s time to go for a walk in the sunshine…