Plagiarism

dork
6th grade dork

It was sixth grade. I was new to the school. I didn’t live in the area, so making friends was difficult. My multi-colored, rose-tinted, oversized square shaped glasses didn’t help. Everyone at Parkville Middle had grown up together, created their little cliques- I was a clique of one.

I watched a lot of after school shows on Nickelodeon as a consequence of this. One of my favorites was “are you afraid of the dark.” You either remember it and were a huge fan or you have no idea what I am talking about.

I had just watched one of the episodes about the “red coats” and the British army. Some scary ghost had come back as a result of a girl finding one of the brass buttons off of his jacket in the woods.

My English assignment for that evening was to write a poem, and so I decided to write one about the Red Coats. It was titled “The Red Coats Are Coming”.

And so after quite a bit of work, I turned it in the next morning, and I was surprised to get it back with a note attached to it saying something like, “Nice poem, but next time I would like to review some of your own work.”

I wish I would have saved the poem. I wish I would have saved the note she scribbled at the top of it. It would have made a great piece to share. It was 6th grade however, and half a dozen moving trucks later I have no clue where that journal resides or if it even still exists.

This was before my family even had a computer or the internet. Most family’s didn’t I suppose, so I am not sure where she thinks I would have copied it from other than a book from the library…anyhow, it stung. I already wasn’t accepted by any of my peers and then to be ostracized by my teacher made it that much worse.

And so, I have a love/hate relationship with this story. I love how something I wrote impressed my teacher in a way that she couldn’t believe it came from me, and I hate how something I wrote impressed my teacher in a way that she couldn’t believe it came from someone as lame as me.

I never told her that I wrote the poem, never told her that she was wrong, never insisted on another grade, never defended myself. Perhaps that is what I am doing here, defending my 6th grade pathetic self, because I didn’t have the courage to do it when I had the chance.

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We read to learn, to feel, to laugh, to understand others. We write to teach, express, communicate, to inspire others. I created Invisible Ink as an outlet of sorts, an area where I can organize the chaos; a place where hopefully I can be true to myself, and my readers. Writing is personal, it takes a brave and dedicated soul to formulate a piece and then share it with the world. That being said, I get just as much out of reading other's work as I do sharing mine ( I am always open to manuscript review swaps, just send me a message). Words read off a page evoke emotions. When taken out of context, or through an out of focus lens - anyone can mold the words, shifting their meaning to fit their agenda or distorted outlook. Staying true to form and myself, I won't censor my content, but I will censor my audience. Whatever lens you happen to be reading this through - I hope you enjoy!

4 thoughts on “Plagiarism

  1. If it means anything, I can understand why you’d have trouble letting this go. Not because I had a similar experience, but I still have a two-page story I wrote when I was 11, which makes it 30 years old. When I was about 19, I transcribed it onto my first computer, and to this day have backups of it. I don’t remember what I did with the original document; I probably threw it out after I had typed it up. It wasn’t anything I did for school, but at home just for fun. I believe it’s the only story that’s still around from my childhood, and so quite pleased I still have a copy.

    1. Wow! Occasionally I find old notebooks I scribbled in when I was younger, and they are always neat to read and see how I have developed since then, and to see what my frame of mind was at that age. Do you ever re-read it? You better save that forever!

      1. Do you ever re-read it?

        Not too often, but I did a few weeks ago and it caused me to LOL. So I decided after 30 years to post it online. I had started writing a big disclaimer here in case you inquired about it furthed (asked for the link), but instead added it at the top of the story where it’s posted. If you ever read it, it will be more clear why I felt the need for an extra “disclaimer.”

        You better save that forever!

        LOL… I saved it into the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. They preserve knowledge for future generations. However if mine ever gets dissected by advanced humans from the 28th century, they might decide that sometimes preservation of knowledge isn’t necessary. 😉

        Unlike you, I don’t have any old notebooks, so you are ahead of the curve on that point. 😉

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