Saturday, September 16, 2006

Quote your sources!

At my college, "Quote your sources" was a veritable mantra. As a school librarian, I'm constantly nagging people to cite their sources.

So I am both personally and professionally obligated to note that when I reread the post I just wrote this morning, I realized that not only was it influenced by the discussion of schools and class going on at Phantom's and elsewhere (even though the story of A. and me doesn't explicitly focus on class), but that the structure and rhythm of the last paragraph were basically lifted whole from a short story I read in the New Yorker and then later heard on "This American Life."

I want to provide a link here, but the New Yorker doesn't provide complete online archives and the TAL site seems to be down, so I'll do it as soon as that's possible.

The story is called "Bullet in the Brain," by Tobias Wolff, from his short-story collection The Night in Question. It can be heard on "This American Life" as part of the episode "Last Words" (Use the Archives sidebar to find it: originally broadcast 10/23/98, Episode #114, Act 6, 13 minutes long)

The story is about the last moments of a writer and critic, and what he does and doesn't remember as he's dying. It's a haunting piece, and beautiful, and it obviously got under my skin even though I wasn't consciously thinking about it as I wrote the post.

Do you ever realize you've unconsciously plagiarized or "borrowed" in a blog post? What do you do when that happens? And where *does* influence shade into swiping?

1 Comments:

Blogger That Girl said...

I myself tend to write in the same style as the last book Ive read - I think that good writing is supposed to influence our own writing.
Didnt some famous person say that great writers steal from other great writers?
And a Happy Happy to MG

6:00 AM  

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