Saturday, April 3, 2010

AND HERE I THOUGHT I WAS THE FIRST

So, I recently discovered that I was not the first to come up with the title:


In my daily Google Search on Moneylove, the above book on eBay came up. Of course, there is no way to copyright titles, which why so many duplicate ones appear in publishing. And, after all, most books get a fairly small audience, so that people are often not aware that another book has been published with the same title as the one they are reading. This 1928 novel (the eBay bidding started at $29 and, no, I didn't bid) was by the author of Sally's Shoulders and The Flapper Wife.

I think the point here is that there is very little original in the world. But what is original is one person's creative take on things, his or her own unique perspective. One of the most vivid statements Ray Bradbury ever made when we were both on the faculty at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference back in the 1980s was that you didn't have to be absolutely original to be a creative and innovative writer. He even suggested taking one of his short stories and turning it around so it had a completely different ending. He said that was just as original as starting from scratch with an idea for a story.

There's a facetious but real statement often made around the National Speakers Association about speakers quoting other speaker's lines. This explanation says that first someone will quote something you said by saying: "As Jerry Gillies said,......."
Then, the next time they use that material: "As someone once said,......"
And, finally: "As I always say,......"

This is understandable and actually flattering to the originator of whatever material is being repeated. At least that's my feeling about it. I get a lot of credit for coming up with new ideas about prosperity in Moneylove, and certainly the huge number of hits and quotes you get when you Google my name indicates that these ideas strike a responding chord in a lot of people.

But the truth is, like all writers of nonfiction and self development books, I am acting as a filter. I took all the ideas I absorbed from my mentors, people like Leonard Orr and Napoleon Hill, and juggled them up in my creative imagination and came out with my own perspective with a few new twists. People who quote me, or even use my material to teach prosperity courses as many do, including the late Reverend Ike, are merely taking that filtering process a bit further. Maybe at worst, they are doing a poor imitation of me, but at best they are adding their own creativity to the mix and coming up with something new.

Meanwhile, it's an exciting and fun challenge to come up with lots of new material. The one thing I don't want to have happen is to be accused of stealing ideas from someone out there who has been "stealing" mine first. And I try to keep my presentation skills at their peak, as another uncomfortable event for me would be to find someone who was presenting the Moneylove material better than I do. But this isn't something I worry about. My experience has been that most people are great about giving credit and acknowledging the original source when they know it.
Jerry

I had a lot of fun creating my latest post on my prosperity blog about Very Rich Ugly People.