Monday, July 4, 2011

A "writer" problem...

I often jot down little thoughts onto scraps of paper, and then find them later and type them out.  Usually I have an idea of where their placement belongs in a story I'm writing.

Quite a bit though, I run into the problem of finding these scraps of paper years later.  Once I found one that read simply,

And I'll say, "Don't ask me.  I don't know any highways."

I wanted to use it somewhere, but I was paranoid that it wasn't my own actual creation--thinking perhaps it was a song lyric that I had scribbled down, but not bothered to quote.  I Googled it like mad and never did find it used previously--so I think it actually does "belong to me".  I think it was actually something I had said when I first began driving--because people would tell me, "Oh, you just take 91 South..." and I would tell them, "I don't know any highways."

Today, I found this one:

There will always be a reason to cry, as long as tears exist.  This is part of the human condition.

Same problem.  No quotations, no citation, no nothing.  Did I write this?  Google again is not being very helpful.  Is it safe to use in my own work?

I never want to plagiarize.  But do courtrooms make allowances for accidental plagiarizing?

Does this kind of thing happen to anyone else?


elenamarija said...

Unfortunately, accidental plagiarism is still plagiarism. It sucks, but people EXPECT you to research it to make sure that no one used it before, especially in this day and age of Google.

Saba Tahir said...

it happens to a lot of people, i think. i know it happens to me. i scribble line & at times even paragraphs on blank pages in the middle of my notebook during class & run into them usually months later & have no idea where they went or what the context was! lol