Creativity and the variable path

It’s often said that there are no new stories to tell.  Sure, you can try your hand creating something new, but the end result will invariably fall back on tried and true storylines.  For someone who strives for originality in my prose, this concept has long been a joy kill.  Why bother, right?  It’s all been done.  Everything’s been said, written, recorded, expounded upon.

But that statement: there are no new stories to tell, that’s utter bullshit, isn’t it?  That assumption rules out the complexity of the human mind, the limitless paths that any creative endeavour presents to the artist.

Here are some visual representations of what I’m trying to explain.

Let’s say it’s 1970.  Two groups of long-haired musicians are given the same marching orders: write an anti-war song.

The two groups of musicians go off to their creative head spaces and then reconfigure to record the will of their collective muses.

One group produces this classic rocker:

The second group produces this fine song:

Wait, both songs fall basically along the same theme, but in no way do they sound anything alike.

The same could be said of different musicians interpreting the same song.

Examples:

and

Wow, those are two very different sounding songs, right?

What about the same musicians, but during different recording sessions?  The variability even comes down to the mood of the artist(s).

and during a more sedate recording session:

So, my conclusion, if you are a creative person, is to not despair.  There are innumerable methods to interpret the tried and true.  It’s human individuality that is the sieve through which creativity flows.  The end results of any creative pursuit are as variable as the genes within the artist’s DNA.

So, my question to you: do you think there are any new stories to tell?  Does it really matter?

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About glenkrisch

Writer, freelance editor, runner, family man, wanna-be farmer, neo-luddite
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3 Responses to Creativity and the variable path

  1. Jon Recluse says:

    There are always new stories.
    That’s why there are always storytellers.
    And Thank God for that.

  2. naimahaviland says:

    I agree that different perspectives amount to the beginnings of a new story. What counts more than “new” is the craft of storytelling itself. For instance, I’ve been thinking a lot about conflict and how a clear conflict for a protagonist can make for a story irresistible. An example: the HBO series Boardwalk Empire is yet another Jersey mob story but Nucky’s conflicts – with his brother, his love interest, rival mafias, his “son” Jimmy, etc – make him very different from Tony Soprano.

  3. naimahaviland says:

    I agree that different perspectives make a new story. More important than “new” are elements that make a story compelling. I’ve been thinking a lot about the element Conflict. Example: the HBO series Boardwalk Empire is yet another Jersey mob story, but Nucky Thompson’s conflicts – with his brother, his love interest, rival mafias, his “son” Jimmy, etc – make him very different from Tony Soprano. I find BE and The Sopranos irresistible and never get the sense that I’m watching the same show.

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