Tag Archives: reach for the stars

The Curmudgeon Video of the Week: Sorkinisms

As a sometime-writer of fiction, The Curmudgeon sometimes worries that he revisits some themes or ideas too often and repeats similar language and grammatical constructions more often than he should.  Whenever he starts thinking along these lines he reminds himself that his favorite writer, Aaron Sorkin, frequently does the same, and that even though you recognize a certain phrase from the past – Sorkin never even made it past the first scene of the first act in the first episode of his HBO series The Newsroom without pulling out his oft-used West Wing line “reach for stars” – if it works, if it fits, if it says what you want it to say, then you shouldn’t sweat it.

In the West Wing episode “20 Hours in America, Part II,” the daughter of the White House chief of staff compliments a White House speech writer on a particular phrase in a speech the president has just delivered.  The writer (played by Rob Lowe) explains, “I think I stole that from Camelot.”  When the woman questions him, the writer elaborates:  “Good writers borrow from other writers.  Great writers steal from them outright.”

So who better to steal from than yourself?

So The Curmudgeon thinks it’s just fine if he steals from his own past work and he especially thinks it’s just fine if Aaron Sorkin steals from his own past work as well.

Now, someone with much too much time on his hands (as if a blogger with about twelve readers should talk) has spliced together a video showcasing some of the language and constructions that Sorkin has used more than once.  It’s entertaining and worth a few minutes of your time if you’re a fan.  See it here.