Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Same Old, Same Old

One of the things that annoys me about reading or listening to other people's work is when I know I'm hearing a rehash of something they've done before. It isn't (necessarily) that it wasn't that good the first time, or that the subject isn't worthwhile. It's that if you're going to present something to someone else (or lots of someone elses), at least try to look at it with fresh eyes - to find something new in the subject that is worth exploring.

It's harder in some fields than others. I can do a motion or a complaint or a brief on an issue that is pretty much the same as the one I did on the same or a similar issue in a different case. I get that sometimes, there is little use in reinventing the wheel. By the same token, if I'm reading or hearing the same product from the same person over and over, I start to wonder if the writer or speaker has any other ideas - original ones, that is.

What about other times, though? Is it enough to do what you've already done repeatedly/ successfully/regularly? By "enough", I mean in the sense of completeness, pleasure in a job well-done, or satisfaction. I'm beginning to believe that the true ability of staying the course has to originate in learning how to keep things fresh and new. The only question is how.

C.S. Lewis said, in the Screwtape Letters, that humans have a dread of "the same old thing." I think he made a very good point. I'll have to go back and read that book again to find out. That's one of the things I mean about finding something fresh and new about even the same thing over and over - if it's really good and if you look, you can see something you didn't see before that makes it meaningful or special every time you look at it or listen to it.

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