The Story Question

My husband has hooked me on Dark Horizons podcasts. They play music I don’t normally listen to, but it’s grown on me. Some, like VNV Nation and Assemblage 23 have lyrics that blow me away. Besides the music, though, Dark Horizons also does this silly question segment, which is exactly what it sounds like. And all the listeners get to send in answers. A recent silly question was, ‘what should you not do naked’. My first response was shop for groceries. My husband’s was fry bacon. Lots of people said ‘fry bacon’. No one said ‘shop for groceries’. That should tell you I’m not their typical audience demographic.

But what the hey. The silly question thing is fun. I know people do this on blogs, too, and I think, honestly, it’s filler for when you can’t think of anything to write about. Since I’m in the middle of packing (my son says we own more books than furniture, and are the only people he knows who packs rocks), I freely admit to being overwhelmed and in the need of filler. Which made me decide to post a question here once in a while and see what kind of things we can stir up. 

Which brought me to a problem. Trying to find a question that isn’t corny, hasn’t been done to death, isn’t something you could find on any blog, makes you think, might make you laugh…you see the dilemma? How do I find something original to ask?

Well, there’s my question. I just saw it as I typed that last line above.

Storytelling has been going on for thousands of years. People often say there are no original stories, just retold ones. I imagine that’s the same whether you sing, or paint, or raise kids, or work nine-to-five, or pack rocks.

What does it mean to be original, and is there truly any originality left?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. 

My not so original photo

My not so original photo

My husband's more original photo of the same view

My husband’s more original photo of the same view

6 thoughts on “The Story Question

  1. What a GREAT question!! not silly or funny. I too pack rocks when I move, that is not original. As a species we have been around a long time, so we may have thought all the thoughts that there are to think. But what about the perspective we think with. No one else has experienced life with my brain, experiences and spirit, thus no one else has done the exact art,words, or symphony, like the photos everything is the same, yet everything is different.


    • Very good response, Jani. That everything is the same and yet different. Maybe it comes down to the nuance. You and I may have the exact same thought, but because it’s within two very different brains, the nuances will be where originality comes in. Going to have to think about that one. In a nuanced way of course!


  2. I love Jani’s response. I agree – no one knows just how I interpret the things around me, through these eyes and with this brain of mine. An interesting challenge would be to have about a dozen people stare at the same scene, then, without previously discussing it together, write down what each of them saw. Technically, we all see the same world around us, but inside we each see something else.


    • You know, that would actually be fun. I might need to come up with a scene and ask people to write about it. It couldn’t be just giving everyone a word, such as ‘mountain’ because that will mean something different to each of us. But a visual piece would work because we’d all be starting with the same image. What a great idea.


  3. Lisa, I’m so behind on blogs and just got back to yours. Did I miss something, about the packing — are you moving?

    I was going to respond to your originality question with, to be dreadfully un-original, a quotation: “Originality does not consist in saying what no one has ever said before, but in saying exactly what you think yourself.” James Stephens. Now I’m reading the other comments and see that we all seem agreed on this. I love the idea you mentioned in your reply to Nicole Marie! One of the most interesting (or depressing, if I’m feeling insecure that day) parts of going to an uninstructed drawing group is that everyone’s pictures look really different, even if they’re all of the same model. We all bring something unique, but the trick is learning how to let that speak.


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