michelel72 (michelel72) wrote,
michelel72
michelel72

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Cryptomnesiac!

So there was that whole thing with the Harvard student who wrote the book and it turned out whole passages were entirely too similar to another book. That whole thing. I don't know the truth or the motives of that case; that's not my point here.

At some point in the whole saga, someone -- possibly the student -- raised the possibility that the similarities were due to cryptomnesia. Perhaps she had read and internalized the other work; perhaps the copying was unconscious and accidental.

I have a lot of sympathy for this possibility, generally speaking. It's happened to George Harrison and Hellen Keller, sure; more vividly, I worry that I may fall prey to it myself.

I've had passages in The Jonathan Chronicles that sound too perfect, that came to me too easily. I have passages that feel right and familiar, but is that because I've reread them hundreds of times over the past ten years or because I first read them somewhere else?

Every now and then I'll run across something that renews these fears. I reread books or rewatch shows or movies often, in part because otherwise I soon forget how the story goes. In doing so, I recently ran across a passage that was very similar to something I was planning to use. Of course, I forgot to write myself a note or mark the page, so I've forgotten it again.

But just today I ran across this at Television Without Pity:
Patty and Graham walk into the main office, where Angela is sitting on the omnipresent bench. Seeing them, Angela groans, "Oh, no. They called you?" Patty, not particularly angrily, says, "Of course they called us!"

This exchange is almost word-for-word identical to one in JonChron ... even to the point that it occurs between a character and that character's mother! Even down to the usage of italics, people! (I mean, I never read this recap before today ... I think ... so it's more a matter that I used italics where the television show used spoken emphasis, but still!)

I frequently worry that I'll never finish JonChron. Every now and then, I'm reminded that maybe, just maybe, that wouldn't be the worst possible outcome.
Tags: jonchron
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