Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Please, stop taking my stuff!

Plagiarize

verb:

to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's production) without crediting the source
to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

Merriam Webster online dictionary


Stop taking my stuff before I flip my lid!

The Brag.

See Mike Run (SMR) blog is now in its 12th year; a venerable pioneer in the blogosphere! There are 457 posts dating from January 2008 to February 2019. The number of 'hits' or visits from readers is just under 300,000 (but actually closer to 500,000 because I lost three years of data). The majority of visits originate in Canada yet readership is worldwide.

The only renumeration I receive comes from the belief that I have contributed positively to our community. I have supported numerous small businesses such as GORP, City Park Runners, Cranked Energy, and Fix Bites.  I have supported dozens of local races by reporting on the experience -always positive. I supported The Manitoba Marathon when it was faced with declining registration and the lure of Fargo.

I have given dozens of runners a voice through guest blogs and interviews.  I have shared my audacious vision of what running could be in Winnipeg if only we would collectively embrace the day and spark the dream.  Equally, I have bit my tongue and spoken around topics so as not to embarrass or call-out individuals or organizations.

I have spoken openly about my mental health, my struggles, my dreams, my success, and my failures.  I have shown vulnerability. I have laughed out loud, I have cried, and I have bared my soul on these digital pages.  I have shown empathy and shared the struggles of others such as My Friend Jo  or Matt Morrison's For Em,  or Farahnaz Afaq's  Chasing Rainbows.  Bobbi Nicol used See Mike Run as a gateway platform to explain her Life in Transition. These are good stories, honest stories. These are stories of redemption, stories of pain, stories of life.

And through all of this I have sworn once. I used the 'f' word in reference to cancer when my friend Jo was at her worst. My filter is set to PG because I do not wish to offend.

The problem.

People are taking my stuff without asking.  Several years ago a major city newspaper printed a piece I had written about the Boston Bombing entitled 4:49:44 into the Third Wave. The stolen piece was heavily edited and horribly reduced in scope and breadth. My writing drew comparison between a wisp of hair and humanity:
But it's the wisp of hair that is the focal point. I carried a blurry image of this photograph on my long run this morning. The wisp of hair. The red singlet. The thinness of body. Legs buckling. Crumpled body. The incredible pragmatism of Bill's words ... "you're not going to stop there"... as if to challenge the evil head on. A wisp of hair. A wisp of fate. A wisp of humanity.

The stolen piece attempted to capture this same sentiment, but failed completely.  The stolen piece used the same image that I used (and gave credit for) from a sea of thousands; coincidence?

A major Canadian running magazine recently published a SMR guest blog without SMR's permission. The guest blog spoke of one man's struggle with mental health and how running provides solace. The magazine edited the piece and omitted my personal introduction which provided colour and texture to the story.  What is absent from the magazine's version is the backstory.

The backstory to this piece is about 18 to 24 months in the making and is far too complex and private to delve into here. Suffice to say the story evolved over time and slow-burned to fruition. SMR engaged the person in countless conversations and gently prodded the writer to produce a beautiful and heartfelt story of his pursuit of happiness.

What is missing is any kind of citation of this blog.

Never -ever- was this piece, or any other piece on SMR, about selling running shoes for a large corporation.

The ask.

The ask is simple, and I think most would agree, reasonable.

Simply stop taking my stuff without my permission or, at the very least, give credit by citing seemikerun.ca.

It's a good day to be alive,

Mike