Category Archives: plagiarism

Recycling The Insufferable Optimist.

She couldn’t get into the house quickly enough.

The idea for her next piece had come during a drive around the local state park, taking in the last burst of color before its erasure by the wind. She was anxious to begin. The title alone was so compelling; she could already feel the thing writing itself.

Yet, oddly, a thought intruded: one quick Google might be in order. Best to rule out whether her gem had erupted from another in some deep, subconscious past.

Fearfully, she pulled up the search bar. Sure enough; at least two, both of them published, had already coined the phrase, one as far back as 1997. The moment was heart sinking.

Her mind sought solace, in reverie.

1997. That had been a year. She’d spent its post-Braveheart winter completing a screenplay to star Mel Gibson, the summer gallivanting up the California coast and across to the UK for the Edinburgh Fest. No time for a book review, let alone a book. Besides, her larynx had developed a pesky resistance, stuck in head voice for hours at a time; and, forced to leave her precious elementary string program (bumped by a seniority bid) she’d endure the fall and early winter teaching middle school chorus, reduced to a rasping breath by day’s end.

Come spring, after a bout with bronchitis which had left a three week hack in its wake, her fate seemed sealed: laryngoscopic surgery, slated for St Patrick’s Day, in Pittsburgh. She’d spend the rest of 1998 enduring its laser focused rehabilitation. No time for a leisurely book review, or even a book; the risk of absent minded coughing or even throat clearing lurked, at every moment. No time, either, to take a phone call from a prospective literary agent. Besides, while away she’d let a frustrated creative house-sit; he’d used the phone she’d dictated as off limits because of its receiver’s annoying habit of cutting the line. Had there been any call backs, none would have registered.

Her next pre-emptor appeared in 2015. They shared one commonality; both were anonymous bloggers, casting their carefully cultivated and diligently edited pearls before any number of earnest freshman composition students and swine.

The most recent, in spring of 2020, would be by far her most formidable: former CEO of the aforementioned search engine monopoly. Perhaps he had sent her routing out the competition with a penetrating thought weapon. After all, how dare anyone attempt to supplant his definitive take – on anything!

So how, now, to proceed? Pretend that she somehow possessed a distinctive version of an image so vivid, indeed more timely than ever?

Unlike her predecessors, hers was neither embodiment nor apologism but a sweeping observation. Her intent was to characterize those who could not or would not bow to prudence, refusing or unwilling to acknowledge the gravity of either forewarning pronouncement or prophecy. She would out every leap of faith, all abdications of reason, each act of denial in one grand gesture of indicting condemnation. If she had anything to say about it, the virtual world would be wiped clean of the last of the insufferable optimists.

Yes. Pessimism would have its day.

And, that season couldn’t come soon enough.





© 10/25/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, anonymous or no, whose name appears above this line. No copying in whole or part, including translation, permitted without written permission of the originator. Sharing encouraged, by blog link only. Thank you!

The Idea.

I’d been writing stories since before I could hold a pencil. Seriously. Dictated the first one to mum, who told me the letters in the words I wanted to put on the folder paper with the drawings already in place. I knew the story I wanted to tell, even when I hadn’t learned how to spell it out.

Ideas are like that. They erupt. Nobody really knows where they come from, or how they are borne. Science speculates that some synergy happens between random thoughts, like the scenarios of dreams. But, so far, most of us are merely at their mercy.

But, I’ve always been an idea “factory”. When the other kids laughed or rolled their eyes, my sanctuary was the fertility of my mind. I could spend hours dreaming up intricate scenes, sometimes from a single moment of observation, the sight of one object alone.

It wouldn’t be until many years later, well into the furtive world of young adulthood, that I would come to know the rigors of plagiarism and copyright law. My mum had passed, quickly, over five and a half weeks from symptom to death, and I’d reeled and lurched in a reactive, grandiose mania of creative explosion the culmination of which was a screenplay – 123 pages, by the How To book, every POV set, every dialogue byte centrally inserted. My trek through the wilds of literary agentry filled the months thereafter. Living in a town where only the closed set was connected, I decided that finding “representation” was futile and, consistent with delusional drive, jumped the shark all the way to Ed Limato’s office at CAA. I had pinned Mel Gibson to be my lead, and my scenario simply had to be read by his agent.


That was 1996.

Even calling the agency on July 4th, and feeling certain Sharon Stone answered the phone, I’d never receive a tangible response. The disclaimer was set, in real stone; “CAA does not accept unsolicited material.”

It would only be a year or so later, the mania replaced by real grieving and a gravity driven return to lucidity that I would realize the very disclaimer and its precise language protected every subsequent action and reaction to any said heretofore unacknowledged receipt; my screenplay had likely been parsed out, page by scene by set by character, so many times over since so as to be unrecognizable in its original conception.




Copyright law only protected the treatment thereof — not the idea.

Take apart; reassemble; reconstitute; rename. Voila! My idea, in a thousand new forms, never to be known by the day of its birth. All clones; no real living proof.

So, dear readers. Ghost writers. Paid lackeys. You think I don’t know about the crew in Brazil. You think I’m not paying attention when the next, semi-famous starlet publishes a book curiously similar to a series within my 750+ essays at this blog. If ever confronted, you’ll just cite my reference to grandiosity borne of deferred grief. There’s your disclaimer, however inhumane, tied up with a ribbon.

The very idea.






© 8/28/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights however flimsy and vulnerable those of the author, whose story it is and whose real, God given name appears above this line.

Only good people will show respect. The rest will return to their own vomit.