I’m a fledgling writer, the sort of fella who took his time not introducing pencil and paper but spent time wanting and trying to do so, and you could say I’ve just jumped on the wagon. Reading, that s an entirely different story. My parents like to say I started scanning ink at 2 years old, so that amounts to 23 years of literature love, two thirds of this probably spent sleeping and reading. I am familiar with all the horror stories about being a writer, and am glad I am not writing for monetary gain. This might change someday, though.
There is one thing I am afraid of when it comes to writing: unconscious plagiarism. I’ve read so many books and when I began jotting down my thoughts, I would write things that elicited a flooding of deja vu. When I was in high school, I wrote a journal entry a page long. I had just discovered Bradbury, and wanted to write something in the vein of his style. It was a short story of sorts, entitled ‘The Long Hot Summer’ about a couple sipping tea on a backyard hill, watching the sunset of the world at the verge of atomic war. My teacher sent me to the principal’s office and accused me of plagiarism. She said that it was so well written it couldn’t have come from a high schooler. Perhaps it was the title; there’s a movie with the same title. Now that I think about it… perhaps her response to this entry was what sidetracked my writing vigor for so long; the adolescent mind is fragile. I still wonder to this day whether I unwittingly sucked up the premises of this story from some other author, or poured it out of myself.
Writers, if any read this, what’s your take on this? Have you experienced such sensations? Is unconscious plagiarism grounds for defamation?