The real Antichrist is he who turns the wine of an originaL idea into the water of mediocrity.
There is a theory, that truly original ideas do not exist, as all ideas were inspired by another. This is typical discussion when you attend a fine arts college, where an emphasis on the differences between inspiration and replication are common topics. While pursuing my art degree, I often argued against that theory. I was a purist, enamored with artists of the Bauhaus movement, I placed both art and creativity, on an empirical pedestal. How could I not while studying what is widely considered the modern art revolution!?
Influences from the Bauhaus movement were a constant inspriation in my projects and continue to be in my daily life. I knew that my projects were inspired by the art I studied. Yet, I thought the greats like Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Josef Müljer-Brockmann, Saul Bass and Paul Rand never relied on inspiration outside of their obviously brilliant minds. That was just for amateurs.
Ah… misguided youth.
As I happily left my 20’s behind, along with a little of my naïvety, I began to realize that all forms of creativity are and always have been – inspired.
I have never been more inspired than I am now, being married to another creative, while our processes are vastly different, it has been unlike any other brainstorming exercise I’ve experienced. It is nothing short of magic when we are on a roll and bouncing ideas back and forth, though I’m sure it can be maddening to others as it may appear rather chaotic from the outside. Just ask our graphic design team at 5+8. They’ve witnessed it first hand and surprisingly, they don’t run away crying hysterically after every meeting.
All this said, there is a stark difference between inspiration and replication.
The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
The action of copying or reproducing something.
Inspiration can be found anywhere, at any time. What matters is how you apply that inspiration. Are you going to take it and create something that is uniquely yours? Are you going to put a new spin on it? Or are you replicating an idea, a story… perhaps an actual name?
I will be the first to tell you that I was inspired by Brandon Stanton’s, the photographer behind HONY, ability to connect with his subjects. Or how Kinfolk magazine played a role in our development as they truly believe and promote community and the art of dining. I was also drawn to the way so many of my blogging friends are open and honest with each post they write. I was inspired by bits and pieces from multiple ideas that came before us and used that inspiraiton to create something that was uniquely “us.”
That. Cannot be replicated.
Originally, I wrote a post regarding inspiration and replication with very detailed account of how we are currently dealing with a copycat that is using our name, a name they knew was Bryan’s from a very long time ago. One he had shared in confidence. A name that has already been filed for trademark. Which means that we have legal recourse moving forward.
I’m a bit impulsive at times, reacting off of emotion instead of common sense, so I sought advice from those I consider to be more rational than myself, especially when I’m angry. Have I mentioned that the couple copying our name and concept are also here, in Houston and are also in the restaurant industry? Well, they are. Actually, we really enjoy his restaurant and have dined there several times a month since they opened. We’ve also sent countless friends and even large parties their way because we believed in their vision and food and wanted them to do well. I think maybe, just maybe, that’s why this stings.
I asked each friend, “should I post this detailed account of how I know and have proof, mind you, that this couple stole our idea and is actively trying to benefit from our hard work?”
I already knew what their answers would be… It could possibly add fuel to the fire… What do you want to gain by posting this? You may just come off looking petty, which you aren’t… It might not show your husband in the best light, not that he did anything wrong, but some of the necessary details would definitely be airing out some of his dirty laundry from the days before y’all met.
Clearly I don’t want to do that…
Then I, playing devils advocate, would fire back, “But… this is bullshit. I’m angry that someone I hardly know, but had previous ties to my husband, is publicly throwing jabs at me. Not him. Me. Why wouldn’t I want to ridicule them and embarrass them in the same way? They’re running around town talking about us… spreading their lies as truths. Why can’t I get my punches in?”
One, very dear, friend said to me, “I think the best thing to do is just keep doing it better than they are. They really can’t compete. You guys are a force.”
I knew they were right… still, I wanted to get even. Legal recourse wasn’t enough. I wanted to shame them publicly and I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way.
I was feeling justified in my thoughts, probably due to other factors affecting my ability to think rationally. Lately, everyday has become a beating of epic proportions. Which is to be expected when you are in the fight of your life and your opponent is kin to Satan. No, I am not referring to the name stealing couple. I’m talking about an evil on a whole other level, one that would crush most who dared to challenge him. I’m referring to the one I’m still not at liberty to discuss yet, though I have heard the rumor mill creaking and grinding along as it distorts any sense of reality – replacing it with half truths.We’ve been fighting him for over a year and each time we think it can’t get worse… it does.
Naturally, our nerves and patience are equally raw and thin. Which leaves us ready to pounce on anyone that tries to cause us more heartache and pain.
I can only assume that’s what happens when life hurls flaming paper bags filled with dog poo at you, a la Billy Madison style. Eventually, you grow tired of it and either start to stand your ground or you begin to see and talk to an invisible penguin.
For obvious reasons, adding an imaginary penguin to our urban farm is not an option. So, I thought writing about it here was a way to stand my ground. I would tell the whole world how this person came to learn of our name back in 2013 when Bryan had wanted to use it for a cookbook title. It would hurt them and cause them to feel shame in a very public way.
In the end, I wrote it. I wrote it in the way that made sense to me. It was funny and there were lots of details about the situation and the people involved. Some of their dirty little secrets, that I know they don’t want the world to know, were front and center.
I really, really, really, wanted to post it.
But, I didn’t.
And I won’t.
Instead, it’s still sitting in the background on this website, unpublished, to remind me that I’m better than that. I’m better than succumbing to someone else’s feeble attempts to stir the pot. I wrote it out. I said my piece. I’m moving on. There’s no use crying over spilt wine, so I will walk away with a clear conscience and a pure heart. Which is more than I can say for them.