Tuesday, January 20, 2004

taste my squirrelly wrath!

I've been up for way too long, even for me, tracking down the work of another writer in my field who publishes exclusively on the 'net. Comparing my stuff--the work I get paid for--to his, looking at phrases, looking at publication dates. And my initial suspicion is accurate: I'm being plagiarized.


I haven't been this angry--shaking angry--about something in a good long while. I can't articulate all of the why right now, because I'm exhausted and cold and hungry on top of everything else, but I can identify one piece that especially pisses me off.

Some of the phrases I worked so hard to get right, he uses, but he throws in another word or two, moves things around, perhaps to circumvent the "the three same words in the same sequence" rule. And then the phrases make no sense whatsoever. Most of the juice is sucked out of them, but not all; enough so that they lay around helplessly, aware that they are weakened, but not enough to kill them entirely and put them out of their misery. I mean, I sit here reading these lines out loud, making sure they dance as best they can with what little I know about my job, and along comes this [expletive deleted][expletive deleted] [expletive deleted] and kneecaps the poor things.

Another thing that sucks is that I think I've met this man. I want to call him up and ask him what he did before I came along. I want to call all my acquaintances who do the same work and suggest they start going over his work with a fine-toothed comb.

I've never been this angry about something related to writing, which is interesting in its own right. I've had editors break my work down to its subatomic particles to be reassembled in some new, barely-recognizable form. I've been terribly misquoted. I've even, god help me, raised the ire of the Brecht-can-do-no-wrong people. But this, this theft offends me more deeply than any of that ever did.

Hopefully sleep will calm me down.