Great artists steal, but it’s not theft

There’s something new under the sun … every day.

Each and every one of us is a creator. It’s in our nature.

When we create something, whether it’s a painting or a poem or a store display or a legal brief, we give something of ourselves that did not exist before we gave it.

Picasso or Faulkner — or neither or both — reportedly said, “Bad artists copy. Great artists steal.” But it’s not theft.

They did not “steal” from other creators in the sense that they took others’ property away, but they did take inspiration from others’ contributions and added their own seasoning.

Thousands of authors have written time travel stories, for example. They aren’t stealing from the earlier time travel storytellers; they are adding their vision to the concept and building something altogether new.

I daresay millions of authors have written stories about couples getting together and living happily ever after, or not.

Every day each of us adds to the sum of human endeavor, an ever-growing entity that is always bigger than it was yesterday.

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, Dejah and Summer, and Blackberry, an insistent cat. Author of It's Going to Be All Right, Echoes of Freedom Past, Full, Refuse to be Afraid, Gladness is Infectious, 24 flashes, How to Play a Blue Guitar, Myke Phoenix: The Complete Novelettes, A Bridge at Crossroads, The Imaginary Bomb, A Scream of Consciousness, and The Imaginary Revolution.

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