"Bad artists copy. Good artists steal."We discussed this yesterday in Wildfire Writing. I love the quote; it reminds me that copying is a rigid act that doesn't involve the self. Copying is using something exactly as it has been used before, putting nothing new into the mix.
But when one steals, one is greedy. One says, "It's mine now!" And as Kelly pointed out, a thief hides what is stolen. Doesn't make it obvious.
Feel free to steal ideas, and hide them deeply in what you're doing. Make sure you don't keep them exactly as you found them. They're yours now, one way or another.
While you're thinking how that applies to your writing, enjoy a bit of stealing from Picasso to create your own masterpiece. (Here's mine.)