There’s a long tradition of proclaiming there is nothing new under the sun. From the seven basic plots from which all stories are built to countless films and TV series whose characters, settings, and storyline seem interchangeable.
It’s enough to make a creative despair. Until, of course, you realise that it is not a new story that makes something unique but the way it is told. No two people are the same. No two people telling the same story will tell it the same way. The originality lies with the teller, not the tale — with apologies to D H Lawrence.
I was reminded of this today when I was looking at coming up with titles and themes for a possible podcast in my Podcasting Workshop. Taking a look at the ideas of the other participants, it would have been easy to waste a lot of energy going “That’s been done,” “Hardly unique”, or “Not interested” to many of them. But just like all other forms of creative enterprise, what’s important in these ideas is how the person behind the podcast will make their podcast unique. Humour, interesting guests, a kookie slant on the topic, or just sheer professionalism.
I have to come up with an idea of my own for tomorrow. I want to find a heady mix of politics and books and create something that will be full of lively and stimulating discussion. Think Our Time but with passion rather than a whiff of the academy. Neglected books, important books, books that have changed the lives of my guests, books that help us make sense of the world, and books that may help us change it for the better.
And with an almost book club sensibility. The discussions will be trailed a month in advance and the audience can read the book in preparation for an in-depth discussion, mailing in question and responses before the episode itself.
I think I’d listen to that. How about a name? And maybe it’s being done elsewhere. That doesn’t matter. My take on it will be slightly different and appeal to different people. That’s the way things work. You can’t find an audience if you don’t put it out there.