Tool 17 ~ Riff on the creative language of others.

My first thought? What does “riff” mean? No one uses that word anymore!

“Make word lists, free associate, be surprised by language.”

Actually, Clark explains, “riff is a term from jazz used to describe a form of improvisation in which one musician borrows and builds on the musical phrase of another” (84).

It’s not plagiarism to learn how to make sugar cookies from your mom’s firm hands. It’s “new knowledge” exploding from “old wisdom” (85). Just like “Thomas Edison solved a problem in the flow of electricity by thinking of the flow of water in a Roman aqueduct” (85).

And I have to end with this full quote:

“Riffing on language will create wonderful effects you never intended. Which leads me to this additional strategy: always take credit for good writing you did not intend because you’ll be getting plenty of criticism for bad writing you did not mean either”(86).


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