How sharper than a serpent’s tooth…

lear

Wait. Slow down a second. Did this post really just begin with a nod to one of history’s greatest play writes? Do the illustrious words of King Lear really belong on the landing page of a blog based primarily around depression and my own artistic shortcomings? To quote an artist as prolific as the great William Shakespeare on this page seems to almost degrade the celebrated writer. But nevertheless for lack of a better title I thought that King Lear’s acid tongued dialogue directed at his thankless daughters seemed somewhat appropriate for where we currently find ourselves.

So why does Shakespeare’s delicately constructed dialect resonate so strongly with my own writing right now? Well… I think that I’ve been plagiarised. I think that someone has taken my works laden with my own flourishes and imperfections and tried to reproduce them and label the knockoffs as their own. I know that it sounds rather arrogant to assume that a writer would want to take what I have created and re-brand it as their own creative masterpieces, but sometimes shit just doesn’t add up and one can only wonder just how another aspiring author can suddenly produce a blog entry so similar to my own. The idea of plagiarism like this is a rather intriguing concept, and one that forces a writer to seriously contemplate the ramifications of such a dastardly deed.

If I have indeed been plagiarised then I certainly wouldn’t be the first author to ever have this happen, and I’m pretty damn sure that I won’t be the last. J.K. Rowling must have inspired plenty of Harry Potter knockoffs; and Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code would have undoubtedly sent writer’s desires to produce historical thrillers into overdrive. But what am I to make of this potential copycat? Am I supposed to feel jaded like King Lear? Am I to feel as though I have been betrayed by a thankless child? Or would a better title for this post have been the finest form of flattery?

Because there really is no finer form of flattery than to have a fellow writer attempt to reproduce your work. If a writer has actively gone out of their way to indulge themselves in the stylistic nuances that make your own pieces unique, then surely that means you are doing something right? Doesn’t it?

The article in question arrived in my emails a few days ago. I follow quite a few blogs and my Iphone is always pinging with arrival of another author’s works. But with this particular page I seem to have developed a bit of an unspoken mutual agreement with the aspiring author who produced it; it’s nothing too complicated. He follows my blog and I follow his. We have never met, never spoken, and in all honesty we never will. But we have found each other in the immense cosmos of online web logging through our mutual love of writing and desire to find acclaim.

This young writer is good. His pieces have always been fetching and unique. But our writing styles have always been inherently different. -Which would probably explain why his audience is roughly 50 times the size of my own- But recently he released a piece that was rather unexpected, unprecedented, and so unlike anything he had ever produced. Suddenly I found myself reading a post that had me seriously questioning whether or not I had been given a guest editors spot on another blog. I am fully aware that I still sound incredibly childish here. How arrogant it is for me to assume that anyone would wish to rip off the deranged fragments of thought that clutter the homepage of this site! But what if I’m right? What if I am King Lear and I’m being unwillingly usurped by an author who wishes to claim my workings as his own?

The truth is that I’ll never know for sure whether my writing has been reproduced. All I can base my theories off is the feeling in the pit of my stomach as I read an (unusually) sloppy post that sounded striking similar to my own story. And the strange look of my partner as she came to the same realisation and asked if I had indeed been the catalyst behind the unexpected entry. But I guess that is the world we live in. So often in life we are overlooked or outshone at something that makes us truly unique. It can be easy to take what you do for granted and to never find the recognition you deserve for your talents. It can be easy to give up and never push that little bit harder in order to be noticed. Yet feel defeated when a lessor opponent finds notoriety for doing so.

The young man who reads my wares and (possibly) feels the need to reinterpret them and label them as his own truly is the thankless child that King Lear spoke of. He has taken my ideas and idiocies and claimed them as his own. But rather than feel anger towards him I can’t help but feel like there’s a lesson to be learned here. I now firmly believe that when our talents are laid out and compared, I am the stronger writer; however I do need to apply myself a little more to this whole social media thing and establishing (and maintaining relationships with) an audience. And while it does sting to see someone else finding fame through pieces that are questionable in nature, there really is no finer form of flattery than to have someone try to reproduce what I create on the walls of this very blog.

Dancing with Madam Anger

I think I’ve made a mistake. In fact, scratch that. I know that I have. Somewhere along my journey towards becoming a better writer and quelling the demons that plague my mind I’ve turned myself from a bubbling cauldron of angst and anger into a fucking robot that is devoid of any emotion whatsoever. It’s where I always thought that I wanted to be; a head space where I feel no anger, fear, frustrations or disappointment. But unfortunately it seems as though it is all those things that make me the man and the writer that I am, and that I’ve always wanted to be. Recently I couldn’t help but notice that as my apathy for everyone and everything around me flourishes, my ability to write and create subsequently diminishes. Lately I’ve been thinking that it’s time to cast aside the whole sensitive new aged guy bullshit and start to embrace Madam Anger and all the wondrous gifts she bestows upon me.

The very concept of embracing the darker impulses of my heart does run incongruous to almost everything I have ever written on the walls of this blog. Yet over the past couple of weeks as I’ve risen at the crack of dawn only to stare at a perpetually blank page on my laptop, I’ve come to the startling realisation that I’m simply better off when I’m angry. As an emerging writer everything that I have ever produced has been dripping with passion and anguish, yet in my desire to overcome a battle with depression I deliberately removed all forms of these delicate muses from my psyche, leaving behind a barren wasteland where emotion and creativity once roamed.

I now understand that my mind is like a delicate ecosystem inhabited by every thought and human emotion that it creates. When all of these thoughts and emotions work in perfect harmony my mind flourishes and my writing follows suit. My urges and impulses form the sediment that allows everything to grow. And my thirst for knowledge forms beautiful saplings that pierce the surface of my mind and reach towards the sun. The sun itself is made up off all the positivity that I strive to produce on a daily basis. Then, in order to balance out my peacefulness, my darker thoughts are the heavy rains that lash across the landscape. But just like the rains that lash the earth, these sometimes torrential storms are a necessity for the ecosystem. Without the rains all creativity would die.

Which leads me to ask me what the fuck was I thinking when I tried to remove such an integral part of the ecosystem that is my mind? In hindsight I should have realised that everything in life must be balanced; that without sunshine and rain working in relative unison, everything would fall apart. I took away the negative rains of my mind, and allowed the overpowering rays of positivity to rape the earth until all that remained was scorched and uninhabitable. Then, when the land was devoid of life I stood in the damaged sediment and wondered just why nothing could be created there.

So, without further ado; here comes the fucking rain.

At first thick droplets fall around me, splashing against the scorched earth, their individual strength unable to penetrate a crust as hard as this. But then, as the rains fall harder and I goad my mind for more, a figure materialises through the storm clouds in the distance. She moves closer, gliding across the earth’s surface with a step as delicate as her fine features. Madam Anger has arrived to aid me through this storm. We stand in relative silence, watching the rain falling around us before she invites me to dance. So I take her and hold her close and we move to the orchestra of thunder crashing loudly overhead. We sway and waltz, our movements always in time with the rise and fall of the orchestra’s crescendos, allowing the rains of anger and frustration to wash over us before falling to the desperately thirsty earth.

Our footsteps crack the earth’s surface, and the raindrops slip inside. And before I can stop and gasp, the first inklings of saplings arrive. So we dance around in circles, leaving behind a trail of fresh footprints teeming with new life. And after what feels like hours of dancing, I can now see that my mind shall survive. But the rains begin to pass, and soon the storm subsides. I stop now and stare out at all that Madam Anger has created, and release her from my grasp. She sweeps her hair behind her ear and smiles at me through crooked teeth. The once beautiful apparition that danced until life returned has faded; replaced now by her true form as a hideous hunch backed dame. I stand and watch her fade away, chasing the storm from my mind. Before I turn towards the earth with wonder and behold all that Madam Anger has left behind.

The idea here is not to return to my days of never ending anger and angst. But rather to embrace the idea that I can control the darker impulses of my mind and use them to fuel the creative fires of my soul. I don’t want to be angry anymore. That part of me is gone. But I’m also very aware that without Madam Anger I would never be able to write or continue to grow as a man. I’m throwing caution to the wind and abandoning my quest to turn myself into an emotionless robot. Instead from now on I have vowed to feel all that my life has to offer. Anger, angst, love, success or failure; my writing and my life needs all of these and more to survive. I understand now that within the microcosm that is man there is a macrocosm of emotions that we must experience in order to feel alive. So before I dance off into the sunset with Madam Anger once more, I would like to take this opportunity to let you know that I will be in touch again soon.

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