Out of sequence of course but while looking for one thing I found another notebook entry, and another:
"I'm not so sure," Whinkla said, his slow, comforting voice easing my anxiety like a second glass of plum-scented Merlot, "yes, one does face the possibility that whatever it is you've worked so long and hard to create might, in essence, really belong to someone else. But are we talking of something merely derivative, or imitative or, shall I say it? something stolen, something pirated?"
"Well tell me F. S.," I asked, "how many of the numerous things you've created
have you thrown away because you felt they were primarily the result of an inspiration from someone else? How many of your creations have you destroyed out of embarrassment, or fear? How many of the things you've written and published have been plagiarized?"
"Thankfully only an early short story Larry, and I cringe every time I open the magazine in which it appeared. Ah Anais, but I did like her style when I was fifteen, and I did learn a noble lesson. Thank goodness it was an obscure early thing of hers that I appropriated. But when I think about it, I may be too harsh on myself, there was much more of me in the story than there was of her. But I know what you mean. When is a work of art homage or theft?
. . .
"I'll have to admit when you nailed that soup can lid to the thrift shop door and called it 'Cyclops 1' I had to reconsider some of my feelings and beliefs about what is art. Then, when you sold it the next day for fifteen hundred dollars, well, that's when I went on that four hundred mile hike down the crest of the Sierra."
"You know F.S." I said, "I've tried very hard not to consciously take, or steal if you will, anything other than the essence or spirit or message of another's work of art, whether it's a painting, collage, mosaic, sculpture, dance, or a Pacific sunset, a mouldy leaf or decomposing orange peel ready-made. I digest whatever it is I have absorbed through my senses in my own fiery bowels before any excretion on the page or canvas occurs. I will admit many of the things I create are influenced and inspired by others and other things, but what other way is there? My dreams make up the bulk of my inspiration, not the actual work of others, no matter how wonderful and impressive they may seem at the time."
"Tell you what Larry," F.S. said, pushing himself from the overstuffed chair, "let's open a bottle of Cabernet and continue this exchange out on the west deck before the sun sets and I have to stumble my way home in the dark again.