Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.

- Graycie Harmon

Friday, June 11, 2010

Musings Of The Self

I have it at last. After what can only be described as an epic journey through the murky, shark-filled ocean that is my psyche, I have finally struck on something that might explain my issues.

I cannot attach my name to something that isn't mine.

I don't quite know where this aversion stems from, but I highly suspect that it arises from my years in academia. It's called plagiarism if you present someone else's work as your own. It doesn't matter if it's just one sentence, you are penalised heavily. 'Find a way to say it in your own words' was drilled into me the moment I stepped onto campus.

Couple that with the value I place on honesty, and I have one huge issue.

I can't handle words in my story that are not mine because, well, they're not mine. It's not as prideful or arrogant as one might first suspect. I feel that credit should go where it is deserved. If I attach my name to something that isn't mine, and reap all sorts of rewards from it, I will be so plagued by guilt as to spiral into a depression that I won't be able to climb out of until I come clean.

I know this because it's happened before.

So, I will continue to defend honesty and hope that everyone will understand.

I have to tell you, since I've made my decision to pull out if a compromise cannot be reached, I feel much better about everything. I know that it's not a reflection of the editors failings (because it really, really isn't - they have a specific style they are trying to achieve), and I can take full responsibility for my actions feeling like it was the right thing to do, rather than stressing and crying about whether I was just being a diva or not.

So, I feel great today. I hope everyone else is too. Have a great weekend, everyone!


KuietKelticGirl said...

I'm only now getting a chance to catch up with your blog, and it sure sounds like you've struggled with this.

I remember back in high school I asked a friend for help with an essay. It was a subject I could not wrap my head around, and it was due, and I had nothing. I was desperate enough to let someone else write it for me, and so asked a friend for help. And then I read it. It was awesome. It was worthy of a high grade. And it was written in such a style not my own, there was no way it was in any way mine. And so I thanked him, handed it back to him, apologized profusely for wasting his time, and spent my free period scribbling out something. I think he did stick around to help offer suggestions, but everything first went through my brain and through my hand to the paper. I ended up feeling much better about what I handed in, even though it wasn't the best of a grade.

It took me reading your blog a bit to remember that, but yes, I do understand what it is like to have your own voice, like it or not, whatever may come of it.

Congrats for knowing your voice, and staying strong enough to keep it heard.

S.M. Carrière said...

Hi KuietKelticGirl!

Thanks so much for the comment, and for the kind words.

I was incredibly stressed out about the issue... to the point of almost crying. When I made my final decision, it was as if the world had been lifted from my shoulders and I could breathe again!

As to your High School experience, something similar happened to me, though in Primary School (a really early grade like 3 or 4 or something). I had read a story (called Lickity Split) so often that I had it memorised (I can still recite the first two lines.... Lickity Split went walking one day, when he took a left turn and went the wrong way!' It was about a dinosaur getting lost). In class one day, we were asked to write a story, so, having memorised that book by heart, I wrote the whole thing down and handed it in.

The teacher was so impressed, she called in my mother... who, although giving me a knowing look, did not say that I had, essentially, cheated. I felt ill for days!

I'm glad you can understand. I don't feel so ... odd ... now!

Mohamed Mughal said...

It sounds like you're at peace with your decision and your literary boundaries and that's good. Wishing you a great weekend as well,


S.M. Carrière said...

Thank-you, Mohamed. Actually, I just got a comment that has me questioning myself again. Perhaps there was truth in it?

We'll see.