The shame of plagiarism

I was sprung in third grade for plagiarism. I won a class prize for a poem that wasn’t my own. I didn’t believe I could create one that was good enough to win.

Decades later, the issue of plagiarism in my work still haunts me, so I don’t write as much as I’d like because I’m conscious of how many ideas are not my own.

I must admit, I don’t understand creative boundaries very well, even nowadays.

As a voracious reader and learner, the origins of much what I have learned and now know, has been jumbled and tumbled over decades, so I have forgotten the origins of various pieces.

I try to be meticulous when I’m actively researching a topic, but to be honest, my research notes are scattered over various journals and countless computer folders. So when I intend to find something again, it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

What is inspiration?
Do we need to be entirely original?
When does an idea become our own?
How do we honour another person’s contribution, long after we’ve forgotten the details?

This is clearly another lesson I’m here to master.

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