“rehashing vs. recycling”

Thought I’d call attention to a recent text addition at the very top of the sidebar, to the right of my main blog area, where my postings are viewed. The words inscribed are

Use of my material: “rehashing” is a mess; “recycling” is ok, if credit’s given, where credit’s due…hugmamma.

I’d debated early on, when I first began posting, as to whether or not I’d try to restrict use of the contents of my blog, “Hugmamma’s Attention to Detail,” and now, “Hugmamma’s Mind, Body, and Soul.” As a novice blogger my goal was to write, and then get what I’d written out to readers on the internet. At the time, maintaining ownership of my printed words, was relegated to the “back burner.”

Cat Rambo, my Blogging 101 instructor, at Bellevue College, touched upon the subject of copyright. She’s a prolific author of fantasy, her work appears on bookstore shelves as well as on the internet. One such is the “Surgeon’s Tale.” You can peruse the many references to her on Google. One that had me smiling and saying “aha,” is that Cat Rambo has an MA from The Writing Seminars of John Hopkins University. No small feat there. She is also credited as being the fiction editor of the award-winning Fantasy Magazine.

With her depth of writing and blogging experience, and with views of her website probably past the 200,000 mark at this juncture, I paid close attention to what Cat Rambo shared during her trio of classes. While she did pursue one case of copyright theft in court, our instructor maintained that such a path is expensive, and without guarantees. She added, that, generally speaking, she considers “recycling” of her words a way to broaden her audience. From time to time Cat Rambo does share what she’s in the process of writing on her sites. But she does so with deliberation, putting out just enough to whet the reader’s appetite. Smart woman, I think.

My decision regarding “use of my material” has evolved over the 6 months in which I’ve been blogging. It seemed initially other sites were hijacking my posts and inserting them into what they’d written, or even going so far as to intimate that my words were actually theirs. The end results looked like a mess, in my opinion. They seemed a hodgepodge of sentences, assembled without thought. So I shrugged my shoulders, and decided that readers weren’t dumb. They’d see through the ruse. At least any readers who value good writing.

With my nose to the grind, I kept Cat Rambo’s words emblazoned across my mind, “If you write something of value, they will come.” She may not have uttered those exact words, but I got her meaning, for sure.

The message that I leave with you then, dear readers, is that my words are to be shared, but not coveted. Just as they are no longer mine to keep safe once I’ve clicked “publish,” they shouldn’t be “rehashed” to appear to be someonelse’s. What was once mine is meant to be recycled again, and again, and again. I only ask that its origins be credited to…

hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul….with aloha…hugmamma. 

you can check out Cat Rambo on several sites: www.kittywumpus.net, catrambo.livejournal.com, www.catrambo.com. And if you leave a comment, tell her “hugmamma sent you.”

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for book afficionados

My reservations about e-books relegating printed books to archival history were temporarily sidelined, when I read a Wall Street Journal article touting that “Fast Digital Printers Can Provide Out-of-stock Volumes to Customers in Minutes.”  While more and more readers are turning to Kindles, small bookstores are offering digitally printed books to its customers. “Oscar’s Art Books in Vancouver says it has sold about 1,500 digitally printed books since it bought a special printer in March. The machine, which cost about $118,000, accesses an online library of titles and then prints, trims and binds paperbacks on demand.” Prices depend upon the number of pages printed. Oscar’s recently printed a copy of “Dr. Art Hister’s Guide to Living a Long & Healthy Life” for $19.95. Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge, Massachusetts (not affiliated with the University), has printed approximately 1,000 books a month on an Espresso machine with Xerox’s printer. “For the most part, books printed on the Espresso Book Machine look like regular paperbacks, although it can only print color covers, not inside pages. It costs the bookstore under a penny a page to print, plus a licensing fee.” While Harvard Bookstore sees little profit in printing and licensing books since it’s costlier than purchasing already printed books, print-on-demand manager Bronwen Blaney explains that it’s worth it because the store is getting a sale it otherwise wouldn’t.” A UK bookstore chain, Blackwell, has an Espresso machine in its London flagship store and plans to install 6 more in some of its other 40 stores. Barnes & Noble partners with “Lightning Source to custom print books it doesn’t have in stock online or in stores. …does about $20 million in annual sales for on demand printing, a figure that has been rising each year, says a spokeswoman.” Meanwhile Borders Group Inc. is still contemplating a move in that direction.

Why my interest in digitally printed books on demand? A year or so ago, I had read an article in an issue of Vanity Fair Magazine about author William Manchester, written by him or another journalist, I don’t remember which. It was intriguing in that he had been asked by Jackie Kennedy to write the definitive story about her husband’s assassination from her perspective. She would offer facts, historical and personal, never before reported. Manchester agonized over the request feeling it would be grueling and time-consuming, uncertain he would want to commit a couple of years of his life to the project. He succumbed under pressure from Jackie and Robert Kennedy, whose help she enlisted in convincing the author to do as she asked.  With their blessing, Manchester proceeded “leaving no stone unturned.” As time passed and insiders became aware of what was being revealed, several warned Jackie that she was mistaken in having such a book printed. While she and her brother-in-law may not have paid heed at first, upon reading its final version they insisted Manchester edit out certain things. He refused to whitewash his work and so it was published without the Kennedy’s blessing. It was said, however, that when she finished reading The Death of a President, copyrighted in 1967, she commented that it was  “Interesting.” Reprinting of the book was disallowed some time thereafter. Of course, I went in search of a copy and found one on Amazon.com for $89. I’ve yet to read the somber book, but am excited at the prospect.

Another book which is out of print is Dr. Wright’s Guide to Healing with Nutrition by Jonathan Wright, copyrighted in 1984. This book was a God-send when my daughter was a fledgling, student ballerina. At 12 or 13 years of age she suffered what was diagnosed as possible Osgood-Schlatter disease, knee pain associated with growth spurts. Because this was deleterious to continuing with dance, I went in search of whatever information might be helpful in resolving the problem. I can’t remember how I found Dr. Wright’s book, but his recommendation based upon anecdotal findings, convinced me to have my daughter follow his regimen of selenium and vitamin E. Lo and behold, it worked! Her knee pain ended, never to return again. I shared the doctor’s prescription with anyone who would listen. I was later thanked by a mother who’d overheard me and had her son, also a dancer, take the vitamin supplements. He too found permanent relief from Osgood-Schlatter symptoms.

If these books can be digitally reprinted so that they’re not lost to readers forever, then I’m already a fan of the technology. I may be putting it to the test sometime. Hopefully I’ll be successful in retrieving another “gem” from oblivion.

hugs for technology, at least in this case…hugmamma.