It's only in recent months that I've used and become a fan of writing prompts. Prior to that I took my inspiration from art in its various forms and from life, following the energy of whatever phrase, scene, or character would "speak to me" at any given time.
In addition to writing prompts, a couple of my more recent shorts and stories have been inspired by poetry. What I'm finding, though, is that I feel filled with anxiety when my stories are drawn from the inspriation and ideas of these poems, these tiny capsules. What's borrowing? Stealing? And when, if ever, do I need to acknowledge what inspires my work? I recently spoke to a highly respected writer and teacher about this, and he laughed, saying "we all steal, it's our own unique voices that make it ours." Where's the line though? When might another writer be justified in saying "hey, that's mine!"
Here's a specific, and once-off, case for me: I recently turned to Brian Eno's oblique strategy cards for inspiration. After jotting down about thirty of the fifty or so random cards that "spoke to me" I worked my way through the list looking for the seeds of my next story. As I narrowed the list down I realized I had a poem of sorts, and continued to tweak at it until I had ordered twelves lines into a poem that had deep personal meaning for me. I didn't change a word of the random prompts, just ordered them. So my question is: is that my work or Brian Eno's? Do I need to acknowledge Brian Eno and his oblique strategy cards when I show this work?
Am I alone in this? Do other writers also grapple with this? Or do I just like to torture and dis-ease myself?