When I worked as a visual artist, doing craft fairs and wholesale gallery markets, I would often note how ideas seem to go in waves. Things like using text in jewelry showed up and all of a sudden it was everywhere. It wasn’t that artists were copying other artists, because most craftspeople, like writers, work in isolation. So what was it?
I think there is often what can be called a collective consciousness in the creative mind. A sort of buzzing or frequency that spreads at the same time. Of course there may be something that spurs it, an excellent movie, an item in the news, one person’s visionary idea, but the way it spreads is faster than that. Call it the hive mind, if you will.
Trends in writing seem to be that way, too. Paranormal to dystopian to contemporary to thrillers to horror, the sub genres move through in waves. But the weird thing is, a writer in Canada might have an idea like a writer in New Mexico. The two have never met, never spoken on the phone, never shared their idea, but bingo, here are two manuscripts with similar premises.
It would be easy to get all bunched up about this. All, OMG, they stole my idea! But the thing is, like a room full of artists, give everyone the same brush, canvas, and paint and no two images will be the same. The same goes for writing.
So what spurred this blog topic, you might wonder. Well, I watched the movie, Winter’s Bone, for the first time last night and I was freaking out in tiny spasms. It’s not that SING TO THE WIND is like Winter’s Bone at all, except it is. I recognized settings and characters and rhythms of speech. And what’s more, I’ve had a shiny new idea for a few months now, that reminds me even more of this movie. Am I not going to write it? No, that would be ridiculous. It’s not the same, it will have my voice, my plot, and it's a kick ass premise. It just goes to show the hive mind is buzzing for me.
So what about you? Have you noticed this collective consciousness in your creative world?