I've been reviewing, blogging and opining about the world of perfume and fragrance for many years now. My reviews can be found on the Basenotes.com website. My name there is colormechris. So, if you're interested, you can hopefully find further amusement there.
It's drilled into our heads in kindergarten. Or at least it used to be. Plagiarism is the worst sin you could commit in your academic career. A career you were going to be pursuing, like it or not, for the next twelve years or more. It was the highest crime. The lowest criminal act. Taking the words and ideas of someone else and passing them off as your own. If you did it and you were found out your cheeks should burn with shame for the rest of your life. You weren't even pond scum. Pond scum was too good to be applied to a plagiarist. A low-life like you. So why did so many of us do it? Why do so many continue to do it? It's the "if you were found out" part. People take the risk because the odds are that you won't be found out. I've done it. In college I turned in more than one paper that wasn't my own work. Why? Because I was pressed for time? Maybe. Because I'd procrastinated to the point that writing my own paper wasn't feasible? Maybe. Because I didn't really care about the course but I didn't want to flunk? More likely. Because I really was committing a sort of criminal act and it was kind of a thrill? Because the suspense engendered by the act: will they find out? Will they not?-was a sort self-perpetuated drama? My very own Hitchcock scene to star in? I think that's part of it. But what about bigger platforms? Bigger platforms in this day and age of instantaneous Univac level information accessibility. Why would someone take the risk now? Well, on a bigger platform, the risk isn't for a grade. It's for money. It's for accolades. It's for winning prizes and getting on lists for prizes ("long listed for the so and so prize" Ha!). And it's still the death-wish risk that no one will find out. But to paraphrase Morrissey: If you must write prose and poems, the words you use should be your own. Don't plagiarize or take on loan. Because there's always someone, somewhere-with a big nose who knows...who'll trip you up and laugh when you fall. See, I credited him.
Luckily, nowadays you don't need a big nose; just a laptop.
I started writing fiction in the 7th grade. Goofy short stories like "Well Dressed Demons" which was about a woman who gets mugged in a department store and when she awakens, discovers that the mannequins in the mall come to life at night and are plotting to, I suppose, TAKE OVER THE WORLD. She and her boyfriend must thwart these evil beings; but for the life of me I can't remember the details of the thwarting. These stories were fun to write and my English teacher at the time, Miss Shannon was an enthusiastic advocate of my work. She really got a boot out of it. She encouraged me so much, I started writing stories apart from the curriculum of her class. She would read the stories and give me feedback. In depth notes that were more fan letters than anything; but she would offer criticism when it was due: but always constructive. How the story could be made better. It was a joyous collaboration. I felt so sophisticated! But then, life intervened...high school and college and then REAL life. Relocation and employment. I moved to Hollywood and the emphasis was on screenplays. It was still fun creating these little worlds on the page...but something was missing. I also felt I could never write a novel. Who was I to think I had enough material to fill a book? But that was just insecurity talking and the fallout from all the Tinseltown naysaying. People there were always telling you how what you had written had to be something else. You would get "notes" that were really just the ideas of how "they" would do it. And "they" were always frustrated creatives themselves. I finally started the book and after much putting down and picking up and a few very long gaps, eventually finished it. But it's a little scary! Now what? Will anyone ever read it? Will they like it? Was all that work for nothing? At this point, who knows. But at least I can say to the world: "Hey, did you know I wrote a book?"
Christopher Reidy is from the Boston area. He attended Boston University where he studied TV and film which eventually led him to Los Angeles. There he did the Hollywood thing (which he wasn’t particularly good at) and eventually met his partner Joseph. He was one of the co-founders of the short lived Off Hollywood Theatre Company which staged several of his original plays. 83 In the Shade is his first novel. He also dabbles in screenplays, toys with short stories, and flirts with poetry. Life brought him to bucolic Southwest Virginia where he now resides and is very active in community theatre. It may interest you to know Chris is officially an Irish citizen as well as an American. He also enjoys drawing and painting and looking after a passel of
housecats and two turtles.