The Rock Towers of the Rio Virgin,
oil on canvas, 1908.
More than once, author Nora Roberts articulated, with her usual simplicity and clarity, many of my own jumbled thoughts and reactions to the Cassie Edwards plagiarism case.
Somewhere on Dear Author, she wrote:
"I imagine most of us in the last couple of weeks where we've asked ourselves. Have I ever been careless?...We need to be more careful and more respectful of our resource material."
I suspect a lot of writers, me included, have been double checking their work for molehills, for careless references and allusions.
Of course, I found one.
Lillie says : "Though I have to say if a dullahan tools down a public highway I don't see how he can expect to avoid being seen. The stuff's all in your manual. They cite reports from Montreal and Boston. And the usual number from where the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea."
"Where the what?"
"Ireland. Never mind. Look in the Addenda section. You'll find the information under Dangerous Encounters and Hazardous Entities."
When I wrote that, I assumed the line where the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea (1) would be immediately identifiable as line from a song (and therefore not claimed/presented as my -- or Lillie's -- own words), and (2) that the song was a very old lyric, in public domain.
But I hadn't checked.
Fortunately, it is from an old song, written in 1896, by William Percy French ( 1854-1920), though recorded a number of times since by various balladeers. As far as I can tell, the words I used are from the original and not from some later paraphrase.
I have made a neat little research note. And attached it to my wee behind.
And I have amended my draft slightly. Lillie's line now includes: "Ireland. It's a song. Never mind."
I'll be looking for others.
Because, Mary Machree, this is one fashion that should be followed.