Group Therapy (Micro Fiction) And thoughts on stealing

Happy Friday everyone. Today’s post has two parts.

Part 1: Flash Fiction for Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers (warning strong language)

Part 2: Thoughts on Stealing


Post Part 1: Fiction

Group Therapy – Session Two (Fiction word count: 100)

    We can take any pillar when group therapy ends? I call dibs on the yellow one because I feel enlightened – never knew how to put a  thought on trial before.

I’m taking a red one because I’m still pissed –getting your ideas and work stolen sucks. But then I thought – I’m the fuckin’ cow, bitch. Take my cups of milk –ounces of thoughts– because these teats drip ideas – that’s how a creative cow flows.

                    You don’t have teats…

Can we please lose the “f” word…

                                 May I talk now? I’ll take a blue pillar because I’ve learned to mindfully calm.



Author Notes:

First – regarding the line about putting thoughts on trial. Did you know that according to cognitive restructuring we can learn how to process our thoughts – in a trial like manner in order to attain more mindful actions (more here and here).  When we put a thought on trial – we examine the thought and find some defense for it (rather than just dismiss it we look for where it came from and this can be freeing)- then we find the prosecution side that shows irrational aspects or unhelpful angles (cos so many unhelpful thoughts have a stupid basis and once we see that it can lead to more rational and sound thinking… and remember that our thoughts lead to moods and then often to actions).

I also tried to show five different people speaking….

Second – regarding the creative cow analogy – I wanted to express the anger and pain that some person might feel after being robbed. They might cope by angrily declaring that they are the creative cow (and use the f and B words like Jesse from Breaking Bad did… lol- right Mahesh?).  And while processing like that could help — well perhaps they still feel violated. Of course we know that imitation is a compliment – but try telling to that to someone who has had this happen-  to where their business was hurt or to where they were setback. It hurts.

Oh and side note on cows and their milk: Did you know that…..

Researchers from University of Leicester, UK, found that music influenced cow lactation. Calming music improved milk yield, “probably because it reduces stress and relaxes the cows in much the same way as it relaxes humans.”

Lastly, the rest of this post is about feeling “robbed” –  If you were here for the fiction I invite you to skip the rest (and thanks for the visit).

Post Part 2: Robbed

I know more than a few folks who have felt robbed – either in ideas or directly stolen from with images, stories, or products. For example, my friend from Denver hired someone to design a website for her business and when finished – he made a similar copy of her site and sold a version of her hormone product. I do not know all of the details – but while visiting her a few years ago – you could feel her pain – it was like the rug was pulled out from under her; she had no litigious support so she did learn some valuable business lessons.

Now we all know that sometimes ideas beget ideas and being copied is not always being robbed.

“There is nothing new under the sun.”

And as a former art teacher – I’d be the first one to loudly chime in and express that ideas are shared in order to generate ideas.  We often copy and borrow in order to make things our own.  It is part of the creative process! And even Zinnser addressed this beneficial copying in his classic book On Writing Well:

“IMITATION. Don’t ever hesitate to imitate another writer. Every artist learning a craft needs models. Eventually you’ll find your own voice and will shed the skin of the writer you imitated. But pick only the best models…. The best way to learn to write is to study the work of the men and women who are doing the kind of writing you want to do” (Zinsser, 1990, P. 127). 

Further, I know that sometimes the lines of originality get blurred. If someone saw Joyce Meyer teach about Body Mind and Spirit – and then they started teaching others about it – and even tagged that triad idea in a book promo – does this mean they copied? Maybe not. Likely it doesn’t – because maybe they don’t even remember hearing Joyce say it – or maybe they also heard it in three other places and then one day it emerged as their own idea. Further – Joyce heard it somewhere – or heard pieces of it to then make her lesson on it – and isn’t the attention of mind, body, and spirit something considered since antiquity?

However, there are times when people are blatantly robbed.

And the good news is that sometimes today’s social media venues give us proof; SOMETIMES online records help folks defend some of their original work.

A blogger I follow recently teased about how too many people overuse the copyright emblem on all their posts – all of their paragraphs, etc. – and she made some fun points. I know there are times we give freely (for we have received much freely too) – and further – I know there are times when what looks like copying was mere coincidence and folks need to take a chill pill. For example, I recently wrote a short fiction piece with a grandfather talking to his grandson. A few weeks later, a different short fiction writer used the same pair – a grandfather and a grandson – in a short fiction piece. Did he copy me?  Likely NOT! Further, this same writer wrote a piece with an 1980s song a few weeks ago and then a few weeks later i wrote about music with Yes and Roundabout. Did I copy him? I think not – but was his post maybe imbedded in my mind and did it possibly arouse ideas and creativity – yes – likely.

So lines are often murky when it comes to “if” someone was robbed. But when it is blatant robbery – it hurts – as with my friend who lost revenue when hired help duped her. (And litigious lesson learned.)

– It can really hurt when we see someone famous take an idea and step on the little ones like ants. Just give credit – or just ask – or just spend a little money to pay for the photo – the story – the idea – or the joke. Don’t be so darn greedy folks.
For example, there has been an ongoing story about the Conan O’Brien Joke-theft case:

“Judge Janis Sammartino last month canceled the Aug. 10 trial-scheduling conference to give both sides more time to sort out whether one of three jokes at issue is properly copyrighted. The “Tom Brady Joke” – allegedly stolen from Robert Alex Kaseberg of Carmel Valley by O’Brien and his writers — is holding up the lawsuit filed in July 2015. It could potentially cost O’Brien and co-defendants $450,000 plus damages. On Feb. 3, 2015, Kaseberg posted this joke on Twitter: “Tom Brady said he wants to give his MVP truck to the man who won the game for the Patriots. So enjoy that truck, Pete Carroll.The next night, O’Brien’s monologue on TBS included: “Tom Brady said he wants to give the truck that he was given as Super Bowl MVP . . . to the guy who won the Super Bowl for the Patriots. Which is very nice. I think that’s nice. I do. Yes. So Brady’s giving his truck to Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.” read more here

And you see – I am sure Conan O’Brien has lots of money to spend on buying jokes – and so rather then stealing – throw someone a bone – give them a boost or a bump. But you know, some folks cannot do that because they are so selfish they do not realize how important it would be to give a little guy a boost (and selling a joke to the Conan team would be life-changing for a writer) – and then there are times when the thief might be competing with their muse – and stealing (borrowing or gleaning inspiration) from their source while they harbor a bit of jealousy – maybe envying and wishing they were a creative cow – and some highly successful folks do this on accident – they can promote or bump certain people – but a few others make them feel green with envy (and they could take a green pillar when group counseling ends).  Now again, I know this is not a black and white issue. And Patter recently wrote about it so well – which inspired today’s rant – more on her post in a minute.

Because I guess another question is – “If someone changes something does that make it “inspired” rather than stealing?”

For example, let’s say my spouse did a comic video where he dressed up like Bob Ross.  Around that time I also did a blog on a Sunday morning about listening to Lionel Richie’s song Easy Like Sunday Morning —–  and then a short while later —-  Jimmy Fallon’s writers put him in a skit where he dressed like Bob Ross (here) and sang “Hello” with Lionel Richie’s head on the sculpting table. Would that be mere coincidence? Probably!! – Or could there have been some small connection and maybe an idea was started when a writer was perusing the Internet. Likely it had nothing at all to do with it – because things like this happen all the time in a shared culture – Bob Ross and Lionel Richie come up all the time. And maybe it is grandiose thinking to even think a writer was visiting those sites and harvesting ideas. Ha! But you never know. And my warning to all of you who glean this way – is to beware because truth always gets exposed. If you think the person you are harvesting from will never find out…. think again, my friend. Just give credit where credit is due. As my mom always said when we were growing up, “Your sin will find you out…” which we took to mean that “truth always has a way of surfacing” – and so just aim to always “do the right thing”  🙂

The sad truth is that stealing of ideas and actual printed work happens. Rather than getting inspired and expounding in their own way on a fun idea – some people blatantly steal. 

Pat Thompson, AKA Patter (here), recently called this the “Dark Arts” and she wrote about how hurtful stealing happens all the time. Patter shared many examples, like: “…a story about the privilege of power enjoyed by a supervisor. It involves a dispute over whether a doctoral researcher’s ideas were stolen. It concerns the serious consequences experienced by the doctoral researcher when she took action. Chilling.  (Read the whole story on Why I left academia Parts 1-3.)”

Patter ended her post with this: “You see, the most widely practiced academic dark arts revolve around selfish competition and ruthless self-promotion (1).  We usually think that these academic dark arts result from individual bad behaviour. Cases are rare, aberrant.  But… As a social scientist, I have to ask –  can phenomena that seem to happen so often be a matter of individual malpractice? Doesn’t the common knowledge we all have of these kinds of dark arts stories suggest that something more structural is involved? What if the dark arts are not simply about individuals with a poor moral code but something more systemic? What if the dark arts are encouraged and kept alive by academic funding, promotion, publication and audit systems that rewards a chosen few? And, what do we do about professors who practice the dark arts?”

Closing thought – those of you who are harvesting – don’t forget to give credit where credit is due.

Those of you who were robbed from – I am so sorry that you had to go through that.


Thanks for reading….

Have a nice weekend.





25 thoughts on “Group Therapy (Micro Fiction) And thoughts on stealing

  1. Very interesting thoughts on plagiarism, stealing words or ideas happens a lot, now that we are open to so much media exposure. I’ve even heard that entire blog posts are stolen, reblogged without credit to the original blogger. The author found out just by googling a few sentences. Such strange times we live in. I have often been inspired by someone else’s writings, but make it a point to not copy their exact idea, and surely, not their words. Thanks, Y.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi – I have heard about blog posts too – and some say “bots” are partly don’t it – hm – and it is crazy hat people do that – I think it is getting harder to copy some text – like some text is embedded and can’t be cut – or when it does get cut and pasted it has a highlight that won’t go away 🧡
      And glad u are mindful to not duplicate exactly –
      I just think it is super easy to give credit and if we mention he source maybe those tuning in can go the source and be inspired or just explore there – I have an example that came to mind but getting off line so I will try and share it later –
      Thanks again for your great reply

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very interesting article, Y. Copy someone’s idea is legal — I learned this from my writing teacher many years ago. So if I have an idea and I want to keep it for myself, I usually don’t write/talk about it. 😉
    Putting thoughts on trial — can I borrow that? 😉
    Have a wonderful evening.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. I followed your links to Court Case and the other one. It’s quite interesting. I will remember this whenever I am feeling down 😉 Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks for the comment – and wow – so it is legal? Who knew? Well you did and I am sure lots of others – and help yourself to the thoughts on trial – not mine- part of “cognitive behavior therapy” and the great part about it is by putting the thought on trial- it gets examined big ways- sometimes people jus dismiss unhelpful thoughts or accept them without realizing it – so putting it on trial helps to see the legitimacy of the thought (and u might have already got that part) and by doing this people can get in touch with a wound or see if they perceived something as hurtful – and it validated their feeling – but the key is the second part too – the prosecutor side that looks at the reasoning or finds truth or clears up stuff – it can be super helpful to even just raise self-awareness – which is crucial
      – have a great night and ttys

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Putting your thoughts on trial ? That is a cool concept. I like it. That could take a lot of training to be mindful of your thoughts. Our mind is so slick and sneaks here and there stealthily.

    You are right about how ideas are used to create new ones especially in the modern days where every thing nearly connects to every thing else. It is easy to see others’ ideas and subconsciously note that in mind to shape your own creation later. I know copying parts of songs are commonly heard. I personally do not agree with some of the cases that I have heard in the recent years. One of them that I had in mind in particular, I can’t tell the song was claimed to be copied (some parts) from the other song. I was puzzled by the claim. You have to slow it down to see how certain notes have close match. I am not a musician to know better but I do not quite agree with this case. There are so many permutation of notes and rhythms (might be large but I am sure it is finite) and how our brain trend to like certain combination, some of the songs are definitely going to sound like others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is such a great example with music – oh such a great example – and if u think of the song and case that came to mind – please come back to let me know –
      And u are right about how sometimes a song might accidentally sound similar cos it is music – it then there are outright blatant rip offs – like Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice baby had a Kinks song beat.
      And was just reading about the Tennessee song from many years ago (by arrested development) and funny how it came up because I met someone from Tennessee and that song is my go to song is the start of it says Tennessee a few times – and someone – judging tone – asked if I actually listen to music like that – overlooking the statement behind the question – ha! I politely answered that sometimes I do especially as I channel surf in my car – it that song I knew from working in hospitality man years ago – long story short – I looked up three Tennessee song and it happened to win a Grammy – so not quite As obscure as maybe was implied – but I don’t have to explain anyway – however – and the reason I mention it now – the band arrested development used or ripped off some music from Prince for their song – and then they said Prince took the high road and only charged them 100,000 dollars and closed the case – when I guess he could have asked for ongoing royalties and whatnot – and the band said Prince gave them a break –
      Oh and live your first few sentences about stealthy mind processes – good word choices – and so true

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Prince was a nice guy. If this was a top hit song (I am not aware of this) then 100K is nothing.

        I know the song but I preferred not to mention the names of any parties or the songs involved in respected of both sides. It was just my opinion about the case and could be a biased opinion as I also like the new song and the artist at the time too.

        I’ve re-listened again with now knowing the portion of claimed songs. I can now hear much more similarity than the early time. I am quite sure with much more trained ears, it was probably more obvious for those.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. well I need to listen to the WHOLE song to make the connection – I got lost reading pages of stuff and have to finish the song – I really just know and like the start – it is super fun with the Ta – Ta Tennessee….
          and I fully agree with you – for someone familiar with Prince’s original song it the copying would have been obvious….

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Always give credit where credit is due.<—- Well said! I guess this has happened to you. I think I would be angry too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks yarnspinner – that was very interesting…. really appreciate it – and I am still pondering – but liked this part the most so far:

      “We have, then, only one resource left. We must betake ourselves to copyright, be the inconveniences of copyright what they may. Those in­con­ve­ni­ences, in truth, are neither few nor small. Copyright is monopoly, and produces all the effects which the general voice of mankind attributes to monopoly. My honorable and learned friend talks very contemptuously of those who are led away by the theory that monopoly makes things dear. That monopoly makes things dear is certainly a theory, as all the great truths which have been established by the experience of all ages and nations, and which are taken for granted in all reasonings, may be said to be theories. It is a theory in the same sense in which it is a theory that day and night follow each other, that lead is heavier than water, that bread nourishes, that arsenic poisons, that alcohol intoxicates.”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting thoughts today. We have so many inputs, it’s hard to remember where ideas come from. I try to keep track of the original post, when someone inspires a thought. My biggest mistake was crediting the wrong blogger (and not remembering the right one).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh I hate when those kind of mistakes occur – but at least we tried to credit. and D – you are so right – it is impossible to always even know what inputs were a catalyst =

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am taking the red one. You raise some great points on stealing others work. I will take the blue one also as I am mindfull of others and use the red one for my passion

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Red and blue for you then! And let’s see – as a bonus you get a green pillar for the way you celebrate nature in the smoothest of ways (pics and words) and um – because of you I try not to kill spiders (and cos of this blogger names Sonel)- anyhow – hopefully you have room for three pillars – they make good forest art for your forest yard!

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.