Walt Whitman: The Authenticity Of Contradiction

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself.
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
~Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1892

Whether we like it or not (and for most of us, the answer is not) we are all walking contradictions. The thing that Whitman realizes (and most of us fail to) is that contradiction isn’t actually a bad thing: it’s a symptom of authenticity.

As a writer, as an artist, as a creative force in the universe, you are large. You contain multitudes — as does your artwork. You’re not always going to religiously follow every preset rule, value, idea, or style. And that’s okay. Embrace the flux of contradiction and avoid becoming generic. Let one contradiction open the door to the next, as you discover just how beautifully complex you, and your creations, are. Because in that complexity lies your authenticity (and that my friends is the key to distinguishing yourself and your art from everyone else).

Take Whitman for example. Although he first published his work of poetry, Leaves of Grass, in 1855, he spent his entire life revising it. Being “done” didn’t stop Whitman from contradicting himself by continuing to work on this glorious book. If you haven’t yet, read it. Its soul-shaking praise of humanity and nature is truly epic (not to mention completely revolutionary for its time).

So remember: avoiding contradiction is the fastest way to blend in with the masses. And who wants to be just another blade of grass?


About Melody Godfred

Writer. Blogger. Editor. Thinker. Author. Check out my debut novel, THE AGENCY: HOLLYWOOD TALENT, CIA MANAGED: http://amzn.to/qqSGSy
This entry was posted in Quote of the Day, Writing Tips and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Walt Whitman: The Authenticity Of Contradiction

  1. Dana says:

    This is officially my favorite post on Write In Color!

  2. Donna says:

    Absolutely LOVE this quote. I think I may have to go find my old copy of Leaves of Grass and read it again!

  3. Pingback: One Man, 100 Artists – Creative Inspiration | Write In Color

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