Is there such a thing? In a couple of years I had written three books. While writing these books (one is a non-fiction so I am talking only about the fiction books that I wrote), I have been so excited about the creative process and the ideas that have swarmed my brain to give me the two creative stories that I have written. One is a middle-grade book and the other is a children’s picture book. Since I am a fine artist as well as a writer, I was thrilled about the idea that came to me to combine my writing with my skills as an artist. And to my muse who dictated these stories to me, I will be forever grateful.

That being said, since I wrote my first book “The House at the Top of the Trees’ about children who do not age, and even though there is much more to the story than this, children not aging is one of the ‘similarities’ between my story and another that was pointed out to me. Seriously. The person who had read my book somehow, somewhere found similarities between my book and another called “Lost Horizon”. Sounded vaguely familiar to me, maybe I saw an old movie? Well, I was told, the children don’t age. Oh. Is that it? I told a friend and they said, well, neither do the children in Peter Pan, but my book isn’t like Peter Pan. The person who made these accusations, and they certainly did feel like accusations because of the look I was given, a look that said, “Come on, fess up. You got your idea from this book” stood waiting for me to come clean. Again, never read Lost Horizon, never really heard of it. But I did hear of Peter Pan. Still if you read my book you, too, would believe it had enough in it that was unique and that I didn’t copy anything from any other book. But thanks for your interest.

And now, again, I brought my children’s picture book to a bookstore owner to see if he wanted to carry my book. My fun art supply characters march across the cover of the book. I haven’t seen anything like it out there but of course, I’m not a bookstore owner and haven’t seen every book that every person on the planet has written. Anyway, as soon as he saw my book he said, “Oh, yea, the crayons.” Huh? Crayons, what crayons? He walked into the children’s section of his store and I obediently followed. He pointed to a display of two books with crayon characters on the cover. Huh? Not sure why we were  there looking at these books so I waited for an explanation. I did not pick up either book but looked at them, then back at him. Still waiting. We walked back to the front of the store and along the way I explained my story, my characters, and what a precocious child would learn from my story. He smiled while I explained and made a comment, something like, no not like the crayons.

But again, there it was, without even knowing anything about my book, the accusations. Since I came up with the idea for this picture book and the characters several years ago, I would be wondering about the author plagiarizing my idea. But no, because they are on a special display, I must have somehow known about this book and then just copied it! Do I even have to mention that there was basically nothing at all similar between my book and the crayon book? If I wasn’t so interested in getting into this bookstore, which is located in a summer tourist area, I would be insulted and walk out. But that almost always signals that the accuser was right. I think I played it smart by just being honest. But in the future, I would appreciate people losing the accusatory attitude. I mean, after all, is there any original thought left in the world? Hasn’t it all been said already?

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