Sometimes Knowing You’ve Touched a Mind Has to be Good Enough


Back in March of this year I wrote two posts about the difference between what is commonly known as Writer’s Block, and coined the term “Writer’s Blah”.  Take a look if you like, they are post 1, and post 2.

Some time after posting these, a person dropped by, read the pieces, and asked if he could quote them on his own blog.  Delighted, as always, I readily agreed, and eagerly watched for my posts to be re-published on the other blog.  I waited quite a while.

Yesterday I found… not a quote, but a full article using my idea, but without reference to UhW.  I was steamed at first, but here’s what finally came of my “distress”…

I could have complained, suggested a pingback (trackback), or demanded attribution, but I’ve decided against it.  Rather I take some solace in the fact that the idea was good enough—in the eyes of a guy who runs a successful blog—to, …erm, steal.

One of the things that happens in our world is the contagion of ideas.  If a notion is bandied about enough it becomes a meme, a kind of verbal virus, which finds its way into many places.  Often the person who discovers the meme does so in such a way that, without meaning disrespect he or she takes the idea as their own.

I learned this many years ago when I realized that my Vietnam and Thailand stories, which I always told as first person personal, weren’t truly all mine, but that the line between a friend’s story and my own had, over the years blurred.

Today’s challenge is to watch for your influence on others, attributed or not.  My bet is that if you’ve been writing, or blogging for any length of time, your influence on the world is by far greater than you know.

Your thoughts?


4 responses to “Sometimes Knowing You’ve Touched a Mind Has to be Good Enough

  1. Yeah! I’m learning this. I complained to you about this a couple of times. So just so you know I have come to feel the same way about this as you have expressed in this post. If I concentrate on changing myself, then whatever output ‘goes out there’, for good or worse, is not really my responsibility. And not everything I put out is the best; I will analyse things, such as the recent music video, from a perspective which I have taken great pains to develop in my lifetime.
    But I met a 74 year old friend this morning, and we had a long talk. We used to, not that long ago, not be the best of friends. But now our understanding has evolved to the point where we are constantly sharing and learning from one another. He taught me today, to see the ‘bright side’ of nrhatch; although interestingly enough we both have the same problem although it is expressed in a different way. Both of these perspectives of ours deny in some way the contribution of others to the general development of humanity through the exchange of ideas. In one case, the ideas are inhibited, in another rigidly ‘analysed’. Neither likes the others approach.
    The poeticinteraction idea I have,(word stolen from McCumber) expresses merely my cognizance of the ‘problem’ of lack of ‘freedom’ within communication. Thus, the blog demands my own development, outside of the blog. There is not a time factor here in getting to the blog, (for what,- ‘the acknowledgement’ of ‘my ideas’.) when the point of the blog is the possibility that we may develop freedom of conscience, expression and interpretation. Something to think about, and maybe someday really ‘put into practice’.

  2. I understand that you were steamed, I felt the same and decided to let it go. Not my issue, it belongs to the thief.

  3. Many of the aphorisms, adages, and other sayings I’ve adopted are so fully my “own” now . . . that I don’t know which I authored and which I borrowed.

    They’ve become part of the tapestry of my life.

  4. Pingback: Top 10 Posts – Ninth Edition « Uphill Writing

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