Saturday, February 14, 2015

Original derivative

As I drove to work in the crunchy slush of one recent morning, I was listening to NPR. I generally do when I'm white knuckling through the icy beaded curtain of sleet and snow and rain; the soft drone comforts me and invariably, I learn something. I hate driving with a pulsating throb so I will take any opportunity to either learn something new concurrently or practice my singing (along). When the report finished (it was about the biggest donors to the most recent election...Chevron was #3...speaks volumes) the reporter signed off. "I'm Brooke Gladstone and this is On the Media."

It occurred to me how lyrical her name was when she said it out loud. Actually all the names of the reporters on NPR have pretty fantastic names: Kai Ryssdal, Scott Simon, Audie Cornish, Guy Raz (hummuna hummuna), Shelley Hassman Kadish, Sylvia Poggioli...seriously you could go on and on and on! So I decided that I was going to write a whole essay about this seeming phenomenon. Was it something about NPR in particular that drew fascinatingly named people? Are these pseudonyms? A job requirement? I felt gung ho about this idea, inspired and motivated to do some writing while answering reference questions at the desk. I was going to get to the bottom of this perplexing array of musical names. "Something to write about and research!", I thought. "Surely NO ONE ELSE has ever noticed this and certainly NO ONE will have written about it!"


I am the original derivative. Or at least I feel that way many times in my life. The idea of originality seems too abstract to me lately. Who am I kidding? It has always seemed like a bit of an abstract concept. Can I be blamed for feeling this way? Most things are just other things, rearranged. I feel like I have a firm grasp on when things are done to death, or OVER.

"Shell art is OVER!"

It's just the flip side I need to tune in to.

So we are about six weeks into this year. I guess we are really doing this, huh?  I'm surrounded by piles of dirty snow, most of it concealing cars that have been in hibernation since that first storm a few weeks ago. Winter is doing what it does best to my brain, and that is to stretch and bend time so that it seems infinite and eternal. My work shifts, like the month of February, appear to have no end whatsoever. Speaking of which, I have to go help someone do a project while simultaneously murdering the Spanish language with my ineptitude. I guess my way of speaking Spanish is original....

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