Before the advent of the Internet, the goal of most of the writers I knew was to get their thoughts, ideas, and feelings down on paper and then into print by submitting their finished manuscripts to newspaper, magazine, and/or book publishers. They strove to get their writing into printers’ ink wherever they felt it would find and could be shared with the greatest number of readers.
Then the newfangled Web sites came along and rapidly gained popularity. On the positive side, they appeared to be the way to go for a writer to reach the largest reading audience. But they usually did not earn any money for the writer. Also, we were frequently warned that with Web sites there was the possibility we could lose control of our written material. That our precious creations would be hanging out there in the ether, unprotected, and fair game for anyone who wanted to steal them.
I never actually worried that such a thing would happen, I granted permission to several family members to include some of my rhymes on their Web sites, and to the TH to include my “Rhyme and Reason” column in the on-line version of the newspaper. I doubted that my type of material would tempt a lot of literary thieves or plagiarists or make any of them very wealthy. Thus far, I don’t think I have suffered any losses.
Having my published writing and also my e-mail address available over an almost limitless area has provided more than a few happy occurrences and an occasional ego boost. Every now and then I am pleasantly surprised by an e-message from someone who is a complete stranger lives many hundreds of miles away.
Now and then I’ll hear from someone who has left this area but still keeps up with local happenings by reading the on-line version of the TH. Best of all, sometimes the message will come from a good friend from days gone by. Someone like Gene Hilger, once a Glen Haven boy, who is now retired from the military and lives in Des Moines. Or a compliment and a “Keep up the good work!” from Dick Krogman down in sunny Arizona. Wow! I hadn’t seen or heard from Dick, an old Bloomington friend, for 50 years or more.
Recently, quite by accident, I was surprised to find that one of my poems has been used on the Web sites of two strangers. They both gave me credit as the writer. One of these sites is a tribute to the great old movie “Gone With the Wind.” It is beautifully and professionally done, with great use of color and design. The site includes quite a number of great reproductions of pictures of Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, and others, also of Tara. And it ends with my old poem “Apathy, My Dear Scarlett … .“
Finding my work on this Web site, I did not have the slightest feeling of having been “ripped off.” In fact, I felt highly honored to have had my poem included in a production of such high caliber. Maybe my old “Rhett Butler” poem is really better than I ever thought it was. This may be a good time to dig it out again and dust it off and give it a second look.
APATHY, MY DEAR SCARLETT
Some folks will climb a mountain
Just because that mountain’s there.
Others will face great danger
When someone makes them a dare,
But I am satisfied with
What and who and where I am
And, just like old Rhett Butler,
Frankly, I don’t give a damn.
Some people seek new records
For distance or time or speed,
And world-wide recognition
Seems to be their greatest need.
Politicians woo the public>
With lots of that old flimflam
But, just like old Rhett Butler,
Frankly, I don’t give a damn.
Some folks attend sports events
Where they join a noisy crowd,
Then cheer and clap and stamp their
Feet and carry on real loud,
But if the home team loses,
Each goes home meek as a lamb
While, just like old Rhett Butler,
Frankly, I don’t give a damn
.Some girls will go to great lengths
Just to catch some fellow’s eye –
Artificial lashes, nails, and paint
And heels six inches high.
One wise girl says, “To win my
Love, you’ll take me as I am."
Like Rhett Butler, she really, frankly,
Doesn’t give a damn.