It’s official! I’ve been plagiarized!

You, dear reader, may be someone like me.  You may be the one person in your group of friends that always has a pad of paper with you or the note feature on your smartphone open.  Your friends who don’t understand think you are writing yourself notes . . . Perhaps a shopping list, a drycleaning reminder, or a pending appointment.  Those that do understand you and I know that when an idea pops into our head for a poem, short story, or blog post then we have to write it down RIGHT NOW lest we forget it.  Let’ face it, there is nothing worse than a forgotten BRILLIANT writing project idea.  We’ve all had them.  Why does this happen to us?  Because we are writers.
Many of us are writer-slash-some-other-career.  In my case I am a writer/radio d.j.  But at what point can we officially add “writer” to our job title?  I’ve seen many arguments over this matter.  “You can’t say you’re a writer until you’ve been paid for your writing.”  “If all you want to do is write then you are a writer.”
By now you have probably read any one of my posts about the (terrible) book that I wrote and published on Amazon.  I can call it terrible because I wrote it, and aren’t we always the harshest critics of our own writing.  People have purchased the book, so technically I have been paid for my writing, but I’ve considered myself a writer since I was 14 years old when I wrote my first poem.
When I was a child I always had a very fanciful imagination.  I could make up stories at the drop of a hat.  An account of my school day wasn’t just a rundown of classwork and the lunch menu.  There was drama, recreated conversations . . . It was a living story.  I’ve always been a writer.
2 years ago I wrote a poem and published it on familyfriendpoems.com.  I am very proud of that poem.  It is one of my most favorite pieces that I have ever written.  Today, for some reason, I googled my poem and discovered that it has been shared all over the internet.  That made me so happy.  People have shared it in blogs, on message boards, even as a comment on a YouTube video.  I found a young lady right here on WordPress that is using a line from my poem as a quote on her blog.  The one that touched me the most was a young man, school-aged (from the style of his writing he was maybe 6th or 7th grade-my assumption only), that had come across my poem and he wrote that it moved him and reminded him that no matter what God is always with us.  My poem had a positive impact on that boy.  I almost cried.
I knew when I wrote that poem that I wasn’t meant to hide it like I do so many of my other poems.  God wanted me to share it, and that young man was proof as to why.
As I continued through my ego-stroking Google search of my poem I came across a woman who had republished my poem, which is not generally a big deal.  But she did it without giving me author credit.  That IS a big deal.  AND she put her own name on it as the author.  That is an EVEN bigger deal.  Is the P-word coming to anyone else’s mind?  Yes, the much-feared and oft-loathed word . . . PLAGIARISM.  (Cue the ominous and dramatic music.)
I sent the woman a message politely asking her to do one of 2 things:  either add my name to her post as author of the poem, OR remove the post.  I did not hear back from the woman and the post has not been altered.  I reported her to the website she reposted my poem on for copyright infringement and included a link to my poem (which shows my name as author, and shows the copyright right next to my name).
I love that people enjoy my poem, and it makes me very happy to know that my poem has touched the lives of many readers.  It makes me even more happy that those readers want to share my poem with other readers.  Like I said, this poem was not meant to be hidden.  God wanted it to be shared, otherwise he would not have put it into my heart to publish it in the first place (something I had NEVER done previously).  But no matter what the work is about, no matter how unknown the author, no matter where the work was found, stealing credit from the original author is still plagiarism.
So, let’s run down the writer checklist:
All I want to do is write . . . Check.
I’ve always got a pad of paper with me . . . Check.
I’ve been published (on 2 websites and in a book) . . . Check.
I’ve been paid for my writing . . . Check.
I’ve had writing project requisitioned . . . Check.
Sounds like I might be able to call myself a writer.
Oh, wait, I’ve been plagiarised . . . Check.
Yep, NOW it is official.  I am now a real actual writer.
Best wishes to all of you aspiring plagiarism victims.  Ha!
Until next time . . .

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Silent Voice (poem)

A silent heart
With words to shout
A terrified soul
That won’t let them out
How to find a voice
In a world that won’t hear
Is the biggest problem facing
A voice gripped in fear
Unworthy words hidden
Behind a wall of glass
Because nobody wants to hear the thoughts
Of someone easily shoved back
Quiet, timid, unsure
So easily ignored
Damning the fragile existence
Of the one who feels abhorred
Silence is survival
For the one with the stolen voice
So many words that want to come out
But silence is not a choice

By:  Carrie Leigh
05.26.14

Hole (poem)

Doubt and fear
Suffocating life
Reaching for the stars
Watching dreams die
Happiness and sunshine
Seem so far away
The strength to keep reaching
May not come another day
Slip down deep
A hole of despair
Until all that you’ve reached for
Disappears in the air

By:  Carrie Leigh
05.26.14

The blessing of friends

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  (1 John 4:7)

I’m pretty sure you have heard me speak of the importance of my friends in my life.  If not then read here and here.  My friends are my world.  They complete me.  Yes, I have a husband, son, and stepdaughter that mean everything to me, but with them I have to be the good wife and the good mom.  With my friends I can be . . . well, I can just be me.  I can be silly, sad, perky, out-of-control, giggly, tearful . . . I can be everything that God made me.

But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend . . . (Psalm 55:13)

I don’t have a lot of friends.  I am not a social butterfly.  I have a few friends and I hold them very dear to my heart.  There is nothing I wouldn’t do for those friends, even on the days when they drive me crazy.  But I also know that even on the days when I drive them crazy there is nothing they wouldn’t do for me.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  (John 15:13)

To lay down one’s life for a friend . . . those are some pretty big words.  To love someone so much that you would sacrifice yourself for your friend.  Is there anyone in your life that you would do that for?  Is there a friend that you can think of right now that would do that for you?

The first time I realized that I had a friend I would lay down my life for I was sitting in Subway with that friend.  We were having lunch and discussing some troubles he was having in his personal life.  I could tell that something was weighing heavily on his heart and asked him what was wrong.  Instead of telling me he said, “Can I trust you?”

Nobody can tell another person to trust them or not.  Trust is hard earned and easily lost.  A person has to decide for themselves whether or not another person is trustworthy.  I told my friend essentially that.  But then in the next breath I told that friend that I loved him very much and that there was nothing in the world I wouldn’t do for him, including lay down my life for his.  I didn’t even have to think about it before I said it.  It just came out and I knew in that exact moment that I meant every word.

I think when that moment comes, the moment when you realize that you would sacrifice yourself for a friend, then they cease to be just a friend and they become your family . . . your brother or sister.

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.  (Proverbs 18:24)

And once you see how easy it is to open your heart up that much for one friend then the floodgates open.  God sees that your heart is full of love and gives you the opportunity to share that love with more people. In the span of a year-and-a-half I went from having no truly close friends to having 2 new brothers and 1 new sister, all of which I would lay down my life for.

Pray for God to bring love into your life, pray for God to bring friendship into your life, and God gives you opportunities to love and be a friend.  What a blessing!

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.  (Proverbs 17:17)

Since then one of my brothers has moved several hours away, and eventually the other brother will do the same.  That is the nature of working in radio.  We have to go where the jobs are.  Does the distance detract from the way I feel about those two people?  Absolutely not!  If the one who has already moved away were to call me right now and tell me he were in trouble then nothing could stop me from going to him as fast as I could.  Why?  Because he is my brother and God brought us into each others lives to care for each other.  We are friends.  We are brother and sister through God.

But what about those people in our life who try us, who test us?  The ones that, no matter what we do, we just do NOT like?  Is it acceptable to be mean to them?  Is it right to turn our backs on them in their time of need?  Do we not love them just because we don’t like them?

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.  (Matthew 5:44)

But to you who are listening I say:  Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.  (Luke 6:27)

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back . . .  (Luke 6:35)

Who hasn’t wanted to say (or has said), “I love you, but I sure don’t like you right now”? We’ve all had that thought about somebody we know at least once.  I had that thought just last week about a friend who I love dearly, but he was really trying my patience.  It happens, and when it does we do not give up on them.  We continue to love them, because God brought you and that person together for a reason.  God either has something He wants you yo do in their life, or there is something that God wants the other person to do in your life. And maybe, just maybe, by showing that difficult person in your life a little bit of love you will be able to turn them into a friend, a brother or sister, someone who you would lay down your life for, or someone that would lay down their life for you.

Family loves us because they have to.  Romantic relationships can come and go.  But friendships . . . those are the relationships that are truly created by God.  He sees two people that, once brought together, can take on the world.  Friends are like peas and carrots, Oreos and milk, peanut butter and jelly.  Alone they are alright, but together they are unstoppable.

To Brian, Josh, and Brandi . . . my friends, my brothers and sister . . . I love you all so very much, and I thank God everyday that the three of you were brought into my life.

I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.  Peace to you.  The friends here send their greetings.  Greet the friends there by name.  (3 John 1:14)

A good dog

Now before you think I am going to share some heartwarming story about a sweet, faithful canine let me go ahead and burst that bubble.  The only canine in this post will be played by me.

I found out tonight that I am, in fact, “a good dog.”

Now, if you have been a follower of mine since at least mid-February or earlier then you are familiar with a man in my life named “the drummer.”  He is a drain on my heart and soul and I tried to extract him from my life back in March.  I have a very good female friend that, if she reads this, is going to be so upset with me.  I was unsuccessful, to put it mildly, with “the drummer” extraction.  To put it not-so-mildly . . . The extraction was such an epic failure that the drummer-junkie in me was caught passed out with a syringe still sticking out of her vein.

Everybody has a weakness . . . Cupcakes, sex, shopping, drugs, soap operas, work, whatever.  That weakness is like an addiction, and when we try to alter the importance of that weakness in our lives sometimes we fail in a most epic fashion.  The drummer is my weakness and has been since we met last October.  He is my addiction.  He is my heroin, my alcohol, my late-night cupcake binge.

Back in March, with the help of my very good female friend, I realized that I needed to remove his influence from my life.  The drummer and I had a knock-down-drag-out, screaming, yelling, cursing argument.  I didn’t intend for the conversation to fall into that, but he said some hurtful things and I said some hurtful things and we both puffed up to defend ourselves.  It got ugly.

It took a few days, but one day at work I felt like I was on my way to being detoxed of him.  I quit feeling bad for needing to move on.  I had stopped regretting my decision.  I felt like a weight had been lifted off of my heart.  I was starting to feel okey dokey at the prospect of life without the drummer.

And then . . .

If you know anyone who is an addict then you know how hard it is for them to fight the urge when the taste gets in their mouth for just one beer or just one shot of heroin.  My dad is a recovering heroin addict.  I watched him get clean and then fall down over and over again for almost 15 years.  I never thought I would be one of those people.  My addiction is relationships, especially the hopeless relationships.  The eternal optimist in me can’t let go of faith that I can help everybody who is down, sad, depressed, mean, hateful, or in any way pessimistic.  I am generally overflowing with glitter and rainbows, so I must spread it around so everybody has happy little bluebirds flitting around their head like we all live in a stupid Disney movie.

I believe I’ve stated this in an older post, but just in case you are as deluded as me . . . Life is not a Disney movie.  Sorry to burst your glitter-filled bubble.  If you are anything like me though you’ll bounce back from that bombshell in a matter of minutes and the rainbow will be right back over your head.  If you are not a dreamer like me, but instead are a realist, why didn’t you tell me that some people just don’t want to be helped?

Had I known that about the drummer back in October then maybe, just maybe, everything would be sooooo very completely different.  But I can’t let go of hope.  Stupid glitter and rainbows.  He is the only person who has ever made me wish I weren’t so “me.”

Tonight I went to watch him play with his band at a restaurant on one of the big area lakes.  He was a douchebag from the minute I got there.  He ignored me in front of the friends he was sitting with.  After his first set I got up to leave but he implied that he wanted me to stay so I did.  He then proceeded to tell another friend of his that the failure he had at attaining the love of his crush was my fault because I’m the one who made him like her in the first place.  I tried to take that in stride, but did get a little butthurt.

After his second set he came back to the table, looked at me and said, “I thought you were leaving.”  “You told me to stay,” I replied with a friendly smile.  His other friend looked at him and said, “she’s a good dog.”  I know his friend was just joking, but the drummer didn’t defend me, and laughed a bit too heartily for my comfort.  Add that to the fact that he said the only reason we are friends is because I occasionally buy him lunch and do nice things for him.  We are friends because I let him use me, and I am a good dog.  I’m a good pet to have around for those that have no glitter and rainbows of their own and need to be a succubus to the optimism that oozes out of me in a most irritating fashion.  If my optimism were a 1980’s movie character it would be Slimer from Ghostbusters.  Picture the drummer saying, “she slimed me.”. Welcome to my world with the drummer.

I have never, NEVER, been so hurt by someone I call a friend.  Every jab at me by him tonight left me speechless.  I have no defenses against him.  I am bare and open to him and any damage he wants to inflict on me.  I have no shield to protect myself from him.  He is my addiction.  The drummer is my weakness.  I can’t lay the syringe down.  I can’t get the taste of hope for him from my mouth.  He will not steal my glitter and rainbows, but he will break me.  He will be my downfall, and he always will be until I can turn my back on him.

But I can’t turn my back on him.  The drummer is my one-way ticket to self-destruction, because I am a good dog.

Painted On (poem)

A painted-on smile
to match the cheery mood
Fake joy perfected
Happy laughter on a loop
Watch me as I do my magic
that most will never see
Watch as I turn on the girl
that you need me to be
Never allowed to have a bad day,
to come down from the clouds
Never lose the skip in my step,
or shed a tear out loud
Live in my sunshine
when my days are good
But run away on the bad days
so I don’t run to you
So, I’ll dress for the day
and wear my smile as a shield
So that you see the girl you want to see,
not the girl inside that is real
I’ll hide my tears behind closed doors
You’ll never have to see me fall down
But know that behind the painted-on smile
hides the liar’s frown
 
By:  Carrie Leigh
05.21.14

Minute (poem)

What would your last words be
If you had one minute left to live
Would you spill a long-held secret
Or finally forgiveness give
Would you plead to Almighty God
To have mercy on your soul
Or would you whisper to the one you love
In the last tender moment you stole
So much can be said in 60 seconds
To ease the mind or heal the heart
Or that minute can destroy a life
Tear them up and break them apart
One minute can change a life
Whether it’s your first or your last
No matter what you do, once it’s gone
You can never get it back
Use your minutes wisely
Every second that you can
Before you know it your next minute
May be the last minute that you have

By:  Carrie Leigh
05.20.14

Storms (poem)

Letting go, giving up
Holding on, broken
Promises of hopes and dreams
Are promises regretfully spoken
Give the world to the ungrateful
A frozen heart in unwilling hands
Dreams sleep away easily
Like time’s hourglass of sands
Feed off hope and suck the life
A nightmare in waking form
Sky high lifted above the clouds
But murdered by the storms

By:  Carrie Leigh
05.19.14

Living Dead (poem)

A target for your anger
In a world you desperately hate
You claim to want a better life
But you’ve perfected being fake
There’s nothing in you but misery
That wants to drag everyone down
And everyone that tries to rescue you
Will, along with you, drown
You are ugly and you are mean
Behind your pretty face
You are cold and you are hard
And dead man walking in your place
I had such hopes of lifting you up
For helping you reach the light
But all you want is your living death
And all your hopes are a lie
So live, miserable man,
In the walking coffin of your heart
And push everyone out of your life
Before you tear them apart

By:  Carrie Leigh
05.19.14

Maybe (poem)

I want to scream, “I hate you”
With every breathe in me
I want to hurt and break you
And then maybe I’ll be free
Maybe then I’ll feel better
When you are as low as me
Maybe I won’t want to cry
Maybe happy again I’ll be
Maybe I won’t see your smile
When I close my eyes
And maybe your hug won’t left me
So my heart reaches the sky
Maybe I’ll lose the skip in my step
When I think about you
And maybe you’ll stop being the thought
Behind everything I do
Maybe I’ll remember who I am
Without you in my life
And maybe I’ll start to believe these words
Even though they’re all a lie

By:  Carrie Leigh
05.18.14