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Topic: Failure (03/01/04)
TITLE: Failure to Go Online
By Christine Rhee
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Not that I wasn’t grateful for the opportunity to travel to my husband’s home country.
But we were looking forward to seeing green, open spaces rather than one high-rise building stacked upon another and to using a bathroom where we could actually take a bath or shower, and that didn’t smell like a sewer. We were looking forward to sleeping on our soft beds, rather than a marble bed covered by a thin, cotton mat.
Perhaps most of all, we were looking forward to being back in our own house with our own routines. Our baby Benjamin has been sick for the past three weeks, and he desperately needs to be back on his own sleeping and eating schedule so that he can recover.
I was also more than ready to go online. My mother-in-law does not have an Internet connection, so we had to use an Internet café.
The last time I’d had a chance to go was to post my story “The Letter” for the weekly challenge (Betrayal). After that, Benjamin was too sick to take out or to leave. So I couldn’t view the comments people left under the story, or post an article for this week’s challenge (Discipleship).
When I did go online, however, I felt a stab in my heart. Because in the comments section under the story I’d posted, a couple of people suggested that I may have submitted someone else’s writing as my own. (see “The Letter”, “Betrayal’).
For an entire week, for the world to see, was the insinuation that I had plagiarized. And because I had failed to go online, I hadn’t been able to address the speculation.
I have felt a stab in the gut for the last twenty-four hours. As writers, we write from our hearts. For people to suggest, especially in a public forum, that the expression of my soul was not authentic felt incredibly violating.
But I also felt my dream being threatened, because I hope that the Lord will use the gift of writing He has given me in the lives of others.
If I am branded as a plagiarizer, how will anyone be able to take my work seriously?
For this reason, I have chosen to use this week’s article to answer the implication that I may have posted someone else’s writing.
I feel that if I express more about what’s on my heart related to Clancy, it will become quite evident that “The Letter” is indeed my own, original work.
The character Clancy is based on a true, living person, although he hasn’t made the same redemptive choices Clancy is making. In fact, he remains bitter and is on Death Row.
The real Clancy’s family has not cut him off completely. They contact him occasionally, although they are very hurt by what he has chosen to do with his life.
The real Clancy is not twenty-five (see “Clancy’s Choice”, “Directions”).
He is in his mid-thirties.
The real Clancy was adopted. He had Fetal Alcohol Syndrome as a child, and his parents, though they loved him, did not know how to cope with him. And when they felt he became too far out of control, they put him in a Christian Boys’ Home. I have written stories about Clancy that I have not posted yet, including an account of the time he was sent away, and the circumstances surrounding it.
The process of writing this sequence of stories is my way of attempting to see what may have happened if Clancy had made different choices.
The growth Clancy is experiencing reflects the growth which, by God’s grace, I have experienced myself through my own trying life circumstances and relationships.
I can only give snapshots of Clancy’s life in a 750-word article, but Clancy’s conclusions aren’t meant to be pat answers, nor are they intended to discount his pain. In real life, we have to be free to process the pain before we can overcome it. And that can take many years and much love from caring people.
And yet, by God’s grace, I am seeing positive results to the growth God has brought me through. I believe that is worth writing about, to give glory to God and His amazing ways, and to be an encouragement to others.
So I hope this serves to relieve any doubts anyone might have about the authenticity of Clancy.