Creative Writing 101: Originality and the Ring of Truth

Your uniqueness is unparalleled. You are the one person irreplaceable to the world, of which there are no duplicates. Just as there was only one Shakespeare, one Michelangelo, one Picasso, so too are you a precious commodity. Ray Bradbury explains uniqueness in a deeply profound way by analogizing a person to a prism.

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Bradbury says, “You, the prism, measure the light of the world; it burns through your mind to throw a different spectroscopic reading onto white paper than anyone else anywhere can throw.” Then he provides a spark of inspiration to help us step out from behind the veil of imitation and into the light of originality: “Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper. Make your own individual spectroscopic reading. Then, you, a new Element, are discovered, charted, named!”

I would be disingenuous if I didn’t recognize how easy it is to get lost in the shuffle and to feel insignificant, especially when I live in a city that is 8 million people strong.
How does one get lost? In my opinion, it comes down to one thing: the ego. Through wanting fame and fortune too quickly. Ironically, for those who have reached the pinnacle of success, and are in the spotlight 24/7; the one thing they crave more than anything else in the world is to reclaim their anonymity. The advice they often give to us everyday people is, “Be careful what you wish for. You might just get it.”

Be that as it may, I recognize that in an age of the “Selfie,” where people measure their self-worth based on the number of “likes” they get on Facebook and Instagram, people will stop at nothing in search of the holy grail – those two superficial things known as “fame and fortune.”
This can not be any more true than among the youth of our generation. In fact, one article compared teens to tiny social media wizards, plotting out the perfect times to post pictures and learning more about their audiences to get the top amount of likes. “I’ve had friends who have posted pictures they love, but when they only have 50 likes in the first hour within posting it, they delete it and say ‘just wasn’t getting the likes I thought it would,’” 15-year-old Dan Godlewski told Tech Insider.

I don’t profess to have a quick fix for this troubling epidemic. However, I’m reminded of the sage advice given to me by my beloved acting instructor when I began my maiden voyage into acting: “Fame and money are gifts given to us only after we have gifted the world with our best, our lonely, our individual truths.” These are the words that I have lived by for nearly a decade.

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