“Some people …are always finding fault with Nature for putting thorns on roses; I always thank her for having put roses on thorns.”

Alphonse Karr, as translated from his poem:
De leur meilleur côté tâchons de voir les choses:
Vous vous plaignez de voir les rosiers épineux;
Moi je me réjouis et rends grâces aux dieux
Que les épines aient des roses.

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Often, this quote is written as “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses,” and erroneously attributed to Abraham Lincoln.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Inspirational Plagiarism: a Dialogue

“I really want to write something.”

“So…”

“I know; I know. ‘So, write something.’ If only it were that easy.”

“It is. You just-”

“Just WRITE something. If it’s so easy, you do it.”

“I have.”

“Oh?”

“Yes.”

….

“What?”

“Where is it?”

“Where is what?”

“Whatever it is that you wrote. Supposedly. I mean, you said that-”

“Oh, that. Yes, well, it’s …thing is…”

“Well?”

“Computer crash last week.”

“Computer crash.”

“Yes. Tragic. I’d just finished up the 53rd chapter, too.”

“Fifty-three chapters?! Now I know you’re making this up.”

“Hmph. You’re just jealous because you can’t think of something to write.”

Neither can you!

“Of course I can. Didn’t you just hear that I wrote fifty-three chapters?”

“Says you.

And J.K. Rowling’s agent. He said they wanted me to send off what I had.”

What?!”

“Unfortunately, that e-mail also was lost in the crash.”

“Obviously….So, what were the fifty-plus chapters about? Hmmm?”

“Oh! Erm.. ah.. it was a fantasy novel.”

“Go on.”

“Well, I can’t give everything away.”

“Sure, sure. Just tell me the synopsis you sent to Rowling’s agent, then.”

“I’m sure you’re not really interes-”

“I am.”

“Well.. it was a sort of ..hmm… a mashup of classic story lines. …You know: a bit of boy-coming-of-age meets a girl-who-discovers-she’s-magic story…”

…..

“It’s true! Julieng –yes– Julieng is nearing adulthood and discovers a dragon egg buried beneath a red wall that …erm… Eil-ent -um- Eilent’s uncle built near her family’s cauldron on a pig farm and they must join forces to stop the ..evil …overlord who came back to life because of a ring.”

“A ring.”

“Uh-huh. And the ring was lost behind a false wall ..erm.. in an upstairs room about a hundred years ago that ..uh… Jules’-

“Julieng?”

“Yes -Juleng.. Julieng’s stepbrother’s half-sister’s cousin made with magic powder that takes them between worlds. …I had a bit about a lion -or maybe a witch. -Hmmm, maybe it was a wardrobe-”

“A wardrobe?”

“Or, maybe it was a vanishing cabinet. I can’t exactly remember because that was back at the start of the book, see, and I was to the part where they …ah found Queen Guinevere with one of the knights..”

That’s it.”

“That’s what? Hey -where ya going?”

“To write.”

“I thought you didn’t have anything to write …”

“I didn’t, but a recent conversation inspired me.”

“Oh?”

“Yep. I just hope the publisher doesn’t think it’s too tame of an idea…”

“Well… you know what Abraham Lincoln said.”

“No, what?”

There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope…

“Smart man, that Lincoln.”

“Yup. Like me.”

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