Steal inspiration from everywhere

My friend Paul Isakson recently posted this great quotation by Jim Jarmusch, the indie filmmaker (Broken Flowers, Coffee and Cigarettes, Ghost Dog).

His words so beautifully capture something I’ve felt for a long time, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that
resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination.
Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings,
photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations,
architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds,
bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things
to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do
this, your work (and theft) will be authentic.
Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent.
And don’t bother concealing your thievery — celebrate
it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember
what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take
things from — it’s where you take them to.”

— Jim Jarmusch

Reading this out loud just now gave me chills.

I’ve never put a lot of stock in ideas; I’m much more motivated by actions. After all, actions have momentum and actors — people in motion, striving to create something, eager to affect the world. Ideas are building blocks, but they’re static without action. So if you spot an idea that is stuck in place, steal it and use it and move the world forward.

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  1. chancebliss says

    Only in the act of building can you realize the difference between the good, the bad and the ugly. In the absence of action, all you have in opinion.


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