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.