How many articles has one come across that have no cross-references?
I read. I copy what I read, and if I like it, I don’t feel ashamed to reproduce it in my own way. Often, we forget that one of the keys to originality is copying. When I find my ‘voice’ in the ‘original’, I feel it is mine; I feel someone has said it before me. It doesn’t matter if my thoughts were echoed by someone many years ago. I don’t feel guilty if I, inadvertently or otherwise, reproduced it in my own way. Nor I, neither anyone has the copyright of ‘original’ thinking. If there were no need of copying, what purpose the books would have served? There is no point in conveying if it is not worth copying in some form or the other.
Seeing the outside always helps in seeing ourselves. There is nothing wrong if I say I like Rabindranath, and I am not ashamed to reproduce him. The reader knows me, and he knows that I am not Rabindranath. If he finds similarity in my writing and his, it could be deliberate on my part, I don’t see anything wrong in it. I believe, it is an honour to the poet.
Reproducing in your own way what you like is not copying. Those with staying power would not have stayed for so long in their profession had they not got exposed to their influences. The ecstasy of influence never wanes. Better the copiers we are, better the originals we become.
The only original supposedly is someone no one has seen. And he is someone virtual.