Monday, June 10, 2013

Imitation & Perception

I've started writing a YA narrative based on someone who uses other people's "trademarks" to form her own identity.  Yes, she's a bit of a copy-cat/quite insecure.  Since beginning this story, I've found myself wrestling with the following questions:  How much of what we are is an imitation v. our originality?  What do those words mean?  Which aspects of "us" can we consider to be ours?

It is so complicated!

Someone I once knew proposed the question, "Am I Me?  Or am I everybody?"  How much of our personalities are a reflection of who we truly are, how much of it is a version of our desired projection, and how much of it is imitation of others personalities?

Is imitation truly the sincerest form of flattery?  I've tossed this idea back and forth in my mind recently and I'm not sure whether or not I agree with that commonly accepted phrase.

How do you/ would you feel if someone "imitated" you?  The entire concept is hard for me to understand/seems silly. But, through writing this story, I'm realizing I haven't spent a lot of time with these ideas/aspects of life, and the human response/awareness to it.

It's so incredibly easy nowadays to imitate anyone!  You name it- celebrities, friends, etc. there is a plethora of readily available information  that you can find on basically anyone thanks to social networking and the World Wide Web.

I know someone who "imitated" everything that her friend did-- this girl got the same piercings, started listening to the same music, reading the same books, started to blog like she did-- I mean, serious imitation was going on.  And, every time this girl made a new friend, she would take certain things about them and try to incorporate it into her own identity.  (Unfortunately for her, she even copied some people's bad habits and that  got her into a bit of trouble.)

I do think there is a fine line between acceptable imitation and theft of idenity.  (Obviously, identity theft.  That goes without saying, I would hope.)  But, theft of what?  Can you "steal" someones "look"?  I mean, you can't really copyright a piercing, that's a ludicrous thing to keep tabs on.  Same goes for any style, really.  Because, if you let your style be an identifying factor of who you are, then you aren't really being "you", you are fulfilling a role that people have expected you to play.  And, therefore- are you YOU or are you EVERYBODY?  (And we are back to that.)

So, what do you guys make of all of this?  Of imitation?  Perceived identity?  The Self?  I'm so interested in your thoughts.  Please tell me.


  1. Interesting questions! I think a little imitation can be flattering--after all, who doesn't enjoy knowing they influence other people?--but too much is disturbing.

    I think this question is related to the idea that all stories have already been told, and we are now writing derivatives of the same basic stories. There may be truth to that, but our tweaks/spin on things makes each story fresh. So, too, does our own personal twist on life make us unique.

    1. That is true. I mean, one of the books I'm working on is based off the story of Adam & Eve-- I mean, that's probably one of the OLDEST stories ever told. I'm such a copy cat! Ha!

  2. Found you! Just popping in to say hi real quick before I disappear again for a while.


Love to read what you have to say! Keep the comments coming!