I didn't know until last night that Fay Weldon heads the department of Creative Writing here at the University of Bath. I love all the somewhat elderly women writers just for who they are, rather than what they have written. Barbara Cartland was a minor exception, but must have served some sort of social purpose, in an imagined social sphere.
They were talking about plagiarism, and said that - like music - it is sometimes almost impossible to avoid, albeit subconsciously. I love that quotation of Robert Schumann who said, "To compose music, all you have to do is remember a tune which nobody else has thought of."
From now on, I am going to view these senior lapses in recall as 'self-plagiarism'.
In my real job, I have made a point of eradicating as much of myself as possible from the finished article, and this is a lot harder to do than you might think if you have never tried.
I have come to think that this is where most of my skill - learnt from experience - lies. It probably amounts to over half the job, and is the area where I leave the young, gifted carver or conservator behind. It takes a lot of effort to ignore the desire to put your signature on everything, because the reward for all your hard work will be to watch people glance at it as if they had known it all their lives, then walk swiftly on. (See? I'm repeating myself again.)
This is why I rush to the keyboard every morning to write these posts. It is so liberating to plaster my personal views, takes and opinions all over a few hundred words every day, and it is also a completely effortless and painless exercise, unlike the hitting of stone and marble.
Changing the subject, people often ask me what on earth we do with ourselves in the evenings when we don't watch T.V.
The answer is simple. After a light supper of toasted-cheese or a kipper, we stand around an old piano and make our own entertainment by singing Victorian popular melodies until 9.00 pm, when we retire to bed.