I have been thinking about inspiration /originality for some time lately. Fashion mavens will know the stellar job that @diet_prada
and its Indian counterpart, @dietsabya
are doing in bringing attention to startling and outrageous cases of ‘inspired’ (read: copied) editorials or designs or concepts. And I too recently chanced upon inspired instances of various examples of art with no credit attributed. I started to wonder about my writing voice and the organic/direct influences that contribute and form the bedrock of my work. Years ago, when I was studying creative writing, I remember having to write an essay about the cultivation of one’s own writing voice. I was 20 years old and still grasping with the idea of writing readable short fiction - and the notion of possessing my own voice was nothing short of an arrogant projection of my abilities. But the truth was that if I didn’t have or develop my own voice, how could I write something that was wholly me? I remember reading Chitra Bannerjee Divanaruni’s books at the time and launching into writing a story where I tried to imitate her florid prose (apologies to CBD fans!). But it didn’t work as didn’t many of the other stories I wrote in other authors’ voices. Over the years, even though I don’t think much of it at times, I feel I have gotten a voice that I can call my own - and it is the stories written in that which resonate with my readers. And yet I must be careful at times to recognise where inspiration and admiration end and my presence begins, a presence which is unadulteratedly and hopefully recognisably me. Here, an unrelated photo of a yellowing ficus tree leaf to show that nature is the ultimate ink pot of inspiration to dip into and write and draw our stories: no leaf decays identically, no sunset is the same, and each flower blooms just a little differently from the rest of its sisters.