Many years ago, a musician friend of mine (Rodger Isom) said, “There are no new songs. Every possible combination of musical notes has already been written and re-written and written again. The “new” songs you hear today are just different combinations of the same old notes. And,” he emphasized, “because all the note combinations there ever could be have already been written, there will never again ever really be any more new songs. Not really.”
I love Rodger, but I remember thinking…you’re a nut.
Years later, however, I found this video on Youtube: Top 10 Sound-alike Songs
It kind of proves Roger’s theory.
What I didn’t realize all those years ago, when Rodger made his pronouncement about music, was the same thing can be said about books. I saw this meme on Facebook today posted by Mary Balogh and realized that the statement therein is true.
Think about it. All authors, all writers, all students in school and business people in offices; all homemakers writing recipes and soldiers writing home to mom (and so on, and so on) are all working with the same 26 letters. Though story-lines, themes and genres SEEM to be different, it’s impossible (literally impossible) to not use the same words, the same phrases, the same syntax…etc. etc. etc…. at least in part.
Don’t get me wrong. Very few of us are deliberately plagiarizing others. No one wants to do that. Yet, the limited number of consonant and vowels we have to work with limits our ability to be entirely unique.
Even within this posting…somewhere, on someone else’s blog or someone else’s facebook page or even within someone else’s books, you will be able to find the same words. Maybe not in the same order…but, the same words all the same. How weird is that?