Don’t Walk Behind Others.

From Notes by Song Zijing

Don ‘t Walk Behind Others: For your work to pass through the generations you must have your own distinctive style. If you always use a compass to draw a circle and a ruler to draw a square you will always remain a slave. As the ancients say: you can’t build a house inside a house. Lu Ji says: avoid the morning flower in full blossom and gather instead evening buds which are not yet open. Han Yu says: all cliches must go; this is the essence of prose. The Book of the Hermit Fisherman of Zhao River comments that this is also true of poetry. If you just repeat cliches and imitate old works without any change or original ideas, how can you become a famous poet? Huang Luzhi writes that if you follow someone you will always be behind. The first taboo in writing is to walk behind others.

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~ by Jessica McGinley on January 21, 2009.

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