As a reader, I know that a lifetime isn’t long enough to read all the great books out there, not to mention magazines, blogs and even tweets. I feel so insignificant and can’t get over the question, “Why should someone read my words when they can read Tolstoy, Anne Lamott, Stephen King or the Bible?”
The answer is because I am not Tolstoy, Anne Lamott, Stephen King or Moses. Though we may be saying the same things (not all of us), I won’t say them the same way, and maybe you, as a reader, will benefit from it.
When I first heard Derek Webb’s song Mockingbird (you can listen to a cover at the bottom and read the lyrics) I had already accepted that, “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecl. 1:9). I knew I couldn’t prove how unique or special I was by writing something unlike anything else printed.
At some point, I began a transition that this song moved forward. I went from vainly searching for something new to say (the cow punched out the alien’s grandma, is that anywhere in Western literature?) to telling the Truth. The same-old news that Jesus Christ, the incarnate son of God died and the Father resurrected him, all for the sake of reconnecting the Creator to the created.
And suddenly, I don’t feel so bad about being unoriginal.
The gospel repeats itself with different people in different places and different times. It is my job to take that Truth and transform bits and pieces of these old stories into fiction, poetry, songs or whatever means work best for that story to share with the world.