I used to get upset, whenever my words got plagiarized. In junior college, a junior copied a whole chunk of words from my blog, pasted it onto his blog and claimed it as his own. I confronted him, and he apologized and took them off. It was embarrassing for the both of us- embarrassing for me because the words I wrote were so self-indulgent, immature, sad and silly. Embarrassing for him because he had claimed those sad and silly words as his'. Embarrassing for me because when I write, I write in secret, and what I write is so incredibly private. Whenever someone else reads them and lets me know that they have read them, I feel painfully abashed and vulnerable. Yet I still continue to write in a public space, because I like to think that someone out there must feel the way I sometimes do, and it would be nice for us to be together in that moment- the obscure writer and the accidental reader, connected by a string of words, feeling the exact same emotions at some point or another.
So I no longer get upset, whenever my words get plagiarized. What I have written and am writing and will write- they have already been written by others anyway, only in a different manner, a different order of a vast jumble of words. We are all plagiarizers in our own little ways- stolen quirky phrases from the television, an unconscious imitation of your lover's sitting posture.
I know what it is like, to feel something so strongly, and to want to chase, to hunt after it with words. To struggle in vain and be unable to find your own words, to have to take the words of someone else from somewhere else in desperation- a poem, a song, a religious text- to be able to cope. Sometimes those words are perfect; just what you need, better than yours will ever be. I know what it is like, to wrestle tooth and nail in order to pin those feelings down into a palpable form so that at last, what has been haunting you can be clearly seen. There you are. Let me probe and push and prod you around. Let me name you. So that at last, you can say those feelings out loud, and you can keep saying it over and over again until you don't even know what you are saying anymore, just a vast jumble of words, the sounds reaching your ears like music.