“I hate quotations.
Tell me what you know.”
There’s no need to take that so literally.
(as people sometimes do)
Because everything we know is influenced by everything we’ve heard, and everything we’ve read, and everything we’ve seen, and our interpretation of such things.
So, tell me what you know about you’ve heard, what you’ve read, and what you’ve seen. Quote someone verbatim if you need to. Then tell me how your experiences has shaped what has become true for you.
Writers write and people speak, not only to express themselves, but to connect with other people. I don’t care how much Emerson wrote about originality and non-conformity. I think he was smart enough to know that people would read his work and become influenced by it.
Quoting someone doesn’t make you unoriginal.
To share what makes you feel connected to a person, an Artist, a Writer (and even better – to state why) is better than being original – it’s being human.
It takes bravery and vulnerability to not only create something new, but to agree when someone else said it or did it better. And to support that Artist in sharing it with the world.
Disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing won’t make you more original. That’s just a bunch of hipster nonsense. It isn’t very clever or original at all.