Just when you thought it was safe to look at the funny pages . . .

"What a good thing Adam had --
when he said a good thing,
he knew nobody had said it before."

Mark Twain

I've only had a few ideas in my little art career that I really, really loved -- a few that expressed how I truly felt or saw or dreamed for no other reason than that I felt or saw or dreamed.

(And I'm not going to divulge that list, although I'd be curious to know whether one can tell by looking at the work those ideas have produced.)

One of my pet ideas is my "Cactus-Head Lady" character. She's popped up in several pieces, only asking to be given a chance despite her prickles (because "she has a great personality for a cactus and needs very little water . . .")

And I need not explain why I like that particular character so much, because I won't delude myself by imagining that you don't already know why I like it.

So it was strange for me last week when my most personal little invention became the focus of one of my favorite comic strips:

"Pearls Before Swine," by Stephan Pastis

Stephan Pastis' "Cactus Person" appeared in several comic strip installments, and each time I felt a little sad.

It was like suddenly running into one of your children on the street, only to realize that it wasn't the one to which YOU had given birth, but instead was a strange duplicate of some kind.

Which would sort of make one wonder, "If I could have gotten my particular child some other way, why did I allow myself to be tricked into giving birth?"

Of course, when you think about it, the reason I so often enjoy Pearls Before Swine is that its creator and I think so much alike. Therefore, it should be no surprise when we have the same brilliant ideas, right? (He just gets paid a lot more for his brilliance than I do.)

I wrote a poem in high school from which I only remember one line, but I am reminded of it with some frequency:

The world is old --
There are a lot of similar people
walking around now. . .

Or perhaps T.S. Eliot said it better:

"All cases are unique and very similar to others."

Anyway, a good idea is a good idea.
And we're all entitled to it.

(Even though I thought of it first.)


Allie said...

I can't tell you how many times I've had an idea, just to see it several days or weeks or months later - someone else gave birth to it. Makes me crazy. But then, I didn't have to go through the labor.

Chelsea said...

it the curse of the creative soul to always see our ideas come to life in a way other than through ourselves.

i suppose we are all entitled to a good idea...it's just a shame that some people make millions of dollars off of MY good ideas while i get turned down from the starbucks in target.

VO said...

I'm reading this book right now called Anathema. Just last night I read a small paragraph that said there are no new ideas out there.

I had to wonder if that were true.

Lisa Cannon said...

Yes, but for those of us who rarely have a good idea, it is nice to know that the world will not be deprived just because we were too stupid to think of it!

susan m hinckley said...

I shouldn't even dignify that with a remark, BUT . . .

I am inclined to believe that in many ways everything to be thought of has been thought of -- when I look at the ways fashion recycles, for instance, or the recurring themes in literature (and there are only a few different plot lines in existence, after all) -- however, there still seem to be a few visionaries out there who figure out new ways to COMMUNICATE the same old ideas (and are willing to do the work required to do it -- a lot of us are visionaries who seem to prefer our ideas in vision-only format, aka laziness.)

Of course, if you're seeing/thinking an idea for the first time, it's new to you -- so until you've encountered it or thought of it, it doesn't already exist, right?

VO said...

LOL, that comment is one that leads me all kinds of places. Makes my head swim.

I just like that each one of us makes our very own mark somehow.

Amelia and Justin said...

So...would that Cactus Person be your Cactus lady's doppleganger? :)

JaneShelby said...

You make me laugh every day -- thank you!

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