Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery?
It is supposed to be, but I think not. Not the way most people do it, anyway.
I have always hated imitation of any kind, for it always seems to take something away from the original. Why do we need to have substitutions when we already have the original? Why can’t they leave well enough alone?
It doesn’t seem to matter where you go, whatever field you are interested in, there will always be someone trying to copy or improve something.
My pet hate is the remakes of all my favourite films. I watched the new (and supposedly improved) Ben Hur with my family, (it was either that or revising!) But even with all of today’s wonderful new technology, it wasn’t a patch on the original film with Charlton Heston.
I love to watch all kinds of people at work. Artists, sculptors, craftspeople, even plumbers and mechanics. I think this is because my nosy brain just wants to know how things work. My favourite programme at the moment is Artist of the Year and I love watching how all the different artists go about creating original and unique pieces of artwork.
What I cannot stand about these programmes, are the so-called experts who try to tell the artists that what they have done is wrong and how they should have done it. Sometimes the thoughtless and callous way they pull the work apart is so cruel it makes me cringe.
To my mind, no one has the right to condemn or criticise a work of art. Either you like it, or you don’t, but don’t presume to know better than the artist.
As a writer, I subject my work to beta readers and editors so that errors can be pointed out and corrected. This is normally done in a constructive, helpful manner and not in a condescending “I know better” attitude.
Critics always sound so false, their remarks too self-serving and the damage they can do to any fledgeling artistic genius should carry a health warning.
I personally have had at least one scathing critique of my writing; one so bad I wanted to shred every page and then crawl away and hide in a cupboard. It is only when you realise that it is only an opinion and probably not meant to kill the tiny shoots of creativity in your soul that you can pick yourself up and move on.
I may not be a great writer or even a particularly good one, but I am trying my best. At the end of the day, that’s all we can ever do. But what we do produce, whether it is good, bad or indifferent, it is original and not some cocked up imitation…
(And before you all reach for your keyboard, I know I have just criticised quite a lot of people… my bad!)