Did cubism originate with Picasso? Did short, pithy poems originate with Emily Dickinson? Did vampire stories originate with Stephenie Meyer? (Okay, you knew I couldn’t resist that one.)
The truth is something no artist wants to hear: there really is nothing new under the sun. Yes, cubism was NEW! But I gotta think there might be some cave art somewhere that looks a little cubey. Surely there were short, pithy poems before E.D. (Viking runes, anyone?). And vampires…well, you know they’ve been around awhile.
So really what we do as writers, painters or creators is imitate stuff around us. In fact, the best art does that. Even sci-fi, you ask? Yes, especially sci-fi. You’ve got to keep it grounded in reality, even if the plot/art/song is fantastical in many ways. As humans, we have to relate. After all, we don’t LIVE on Neptune (I hope you don’t!), so it’s kind of hard to write about Neptune without including human references, if only emotions exclusive to humans.
Case in point–I started another novel and was shocked, yes SHOCKED, to see that someone else writing a novel was using my main character’s first name. Could I still use it in my book? Of course. Will I? Probably, unless her M.C. also has the same last name as my character. Then it’s time to shore up the trenches and rethink things.
The comforting thing is that, even though creators are reflecting life as they know it, they’re putting it together in new, inimitable ways. Because each of us is unique! There will never be another writer like Emily Dickinson, though many may try.
Nor will there be another Stephenie Meyer, though MANY MORE may try…
Point is, we have to keep creating, even though our particular yellow dwarf sun shines on us all, and has done so since the beginning of mankind. We just need to reflect those beams with our own particular slant.