Thursday, April 30, 2015

We Are Unique by Diane Burton

Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else. ~ Margaret Mead

I always thought I was weird. (Some people say I still am. LOL) I didn’t know other people had stories running around in their heads until I took a writing class at a community college by Maris Soule, an author and now someone I call a friend. She described that phenomenon and I thought, yay, I’m not the only one. In a way, I found that reassuring. But then I realized I’m not unique.

Except for one thing. The stories and characters running around in my brain are mine alone. No other writers’ stories are exactly like mine. Now that’s unique. Then again, I wrote a science fiction romance, The Pilot. I worked on that story for at least five years. After it was published, I took time to read more sci-fi romances and happened across Linnea Sinclair’s Finders Keepers. I freaked out. The story I thought was so unique had so many similarities that I wrote to her and explained I’d never read her book and hoped she wouldn’t think I’d copied her story. She wrote me the nicest post about how often similar stories or characters/things show up in real life or in fiction. I've seen plot devices in television shows or movies that were similar to those in my already published books. Like there’s something in the ether that we writers feed off. Just when we think we’re unique, bam, we find out we’re just like everyone else.

When my daughter was growing up, people would say she looks like me. They’d call her Little Diane. Now she has a daughter who looks like her and people call my granddaughter Little Liz. While there are some physical similarities, I see my daughter as a unique personality. Same with my granddaughter. Quite unique.

Now I have a new granddaughter. Of course, everyone is trying to figure who she looks like. Since she changes each day, that’s a little difficult. Sometimes I see my son in her, sometimes my daughter-in-law, and sometimes, another family member. She’ll keep on changing and it won’t matter who she looks like. She will be her own person.

Here’s to the uniqueness in all of us. Wouldn’t it be boring if we were all alike?


Jannine Gallant said...

When people say my daughter looks like me, she's horrified. Of course she's a teenager, and I'm ancient by her standards, wrinkled, chubby, that could never happen to her... LOL I agree, we're all unique, even if our stories are sort of like someone else's. Hey, we should use that in marketing. "Fans of so and so will love this book!"

Rolynn Anderson said...

Good points, Diane. We choose our spouses for their oppositeness and often pick friends with unique personalities. We see enough of ourselves in the mirror :-)

Diane Burton said...

Jannine, that was my daughter's reaction, too, as a teenager. Now she's the mom and hearing it from the other side.

Diane Burton said...

Rolynn, you are so right about spouses & friends.

Margo Hoornstra said...

My daughters, too are horrified to be in any way compared to me. Doesn't matter, looks or actions, the horror remains the same. I have to say, I didn't believe there was a similarity with my oldest daughter until she had her senior pictures taken. Guess I needed to step back before I could see it. Congrats on that newest girl baby of yours.

Barbara Edwards said...

My kids think I'm not marching to the same drummer and I'm happy they think so. It's too hard to keep in step.

Maris said...

When I was growing up, people always said I looked like my father, but as I've aged, others are saying I look like my mother. Of course I look like neither, but there bits and pieces of each in my looks and in the way I think and act. As you said, Diane, we are unique. Thank goodness.

Leah St. James said...

Great post, Diane. The wonderful thing about being unique -- even when you're writing the same story line, you bring your own vision and experiences that make it yours. (And I just realized Jannine said pretty much the same thing!)

About look-alikes, when my younger son was born, he looked just like my sister, except for the color of their eyes. Now an adult, he's the spitting image of my father-in-law! Go figure.

Enjoy your new granddaughter!