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Cut-and-paste writing
by noteworthy at 7:42 pm EST, Mar 1, 2009

Steven Johnson:

The software also acts as a kind of connection machine, helping to supplement your own memory. The results have a certain chaotic brilliance.

I imagine some may consider this cheating: reducing the art of writing to an elaborate game of cut-and-paste.

Before Devonthink, I used to lose weeks, stalling before each new chapter because it was an empty sea of nothingness. Now, each starts life as a kind of archipelago of inspiring quotes. All I have to do is build bridges between the islands.

Jonathan Lethem (but not really):

The kernel, the soul—let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances—is plagiarism. For substantially all ideas are secondhand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources, and daily used by the garnerer with a pride and satisfaction born of the superstition that he originated them; whereas there is not a rag of originality about them anywhere except the little discoloration they get from his mental and moral caliber and his temperament, and which is revealed in characteristics of phrasing. Old and new make the warp and woof of every moment. There is no thread that is not a twist of these two strands.

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