Original content can be hard to come by....

Coming up with something new and exciting to put on a blog each and every day is ... well, darned near impossible. At least it is here at A Reader's Respite. That's why I ignore deadlines and only post when the mood strikes.

Evidently not all blog writers operate by this creed.

Neale Donald Walsch, best-selling author of "Conversations with God," said Tuesday that he unwittingly passed off another writer's Christmas anecdote as his own in a recent blog post.

As a result, Walsch's blog on the spirituality Web site Beliefnet.com has been shut down. The Web site said in a statement that Walsch had failed to properly credit and attribute material from another author.

Walsch had written about what he described as his son's holiday concert two decades ago in which children were to hold up letters spelling "Christmas Love." One of the children held the "m" upside down, so the audience got the message "Christwas Love," according to the retelling.

Author Candy Chand said in an interview Tuesday that she stumbled onto Walsch's post when she ran "Christmas Love" through an Internet search engine. She immediately recognized her own words, from her story based on her son's kindergarten Christmas pageant. She contacted Walsch and Beliefnet.

The story first appeared in a spiritual magazine in 1999, and was later anthologized. Chand said she copyrighted the story in 2005, in part because it had appeared on the Internet uncredited. The story was published as the illustrated book "Christmas Love" for this past Christmas, she said.

Walsch wrote on his blog Tuesday he was "truly mystified" about what happened and apologized. He said he had been telling the story for years in public talks and "somewhere along the way, internalized it as my own experience."

*The above story comes from the Associated Press and you can view the entire story here. That's called crediting your source information, see?

So the moral of the story is....we all suck at coming up with fascinating original content day in and day out.

But on the bright side, did you know there's a book available? How timely is that?


  1. I don't think it would have been so bad if he hadn't passed it off as something his kid had done. Come on now, how can you be "truly mystified" when you lie outright?

    If he had simply told the story as an anecdote, he could have issued an apology/credit the source and likely that would have most likely been the end of it.

  2. I think this is simply another reason why we (as bloggers) need to be so careful to tell where we get our information by including the book/author/page for quotes, like in the Teaser Tuesday posts.

    :) Great find!


  3. haha...some people do need to read that book. I wonder how an accomplished author can steal someone else's words, did he think no one will find out? what about his own conscience? Wierd.

  4. Well in this case it was pretty obvious that he stole her story. But I've also heard of the kind of plagiarism that often happens without the person knowing; such as writers who read a multitude of books and then end up writing a thought or sentence that isn't their own, and they don't even realize it.

  5. This is a lot like that young woman who wrote a novel (something about Opal Mehta, I think) a couple years ago and then it turned out that she had copied entire passages from one of her favorite authors...then she claimed it was unintentional and that she must have internalized the author's writing because she read it so often and loved it so much.

    Riiiiiight. Internalized entire passages and then didn't realize that you copied them into your book from one of your favorite books? Puh-lease.

  6. What a lame excuse he used! Can you really tell someone else's story so long that you think it's yours?! Strange!

  7. Meg - gotta agree on that one. For some reason any kind of untruthfulness that you drag a child into makes it that much worse!

    Wendi - yes, agreed. The Tuesday Teaser posts are a great way to keep in practice with it.

    Violet - truth to be told, I don't put much stock in people's conscious anymore. Sad isn't it? But to put something on the internet and think you'll get away with it is crazy.

    Lucy - now that would be more understandable if it was a sentence. After all, there are only a finite number of ways to express a thought. I wonder what happens in a case like you describe though? Hmmmm.

    Rebecca - I'm going to start "internalizing" Gone with the Wind and we'll see how that turns out. HA.

    Amy - you *know* what I think, bwahahaahha.

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  9. Worrying about a lack of original content keeping you up at night? Let your fears be allayed, for I have the solution!

    Okay, just kidding, but I did tag you for the bookshelf meme:


    In case you don't have anything better :)

    Happy Reading!

  10. GalleyCat has a bit up saying that readers are lashing out at the woman who claimed the copyright violation! Here's the link:


  11. Something weird is going on with the link, I'm trying again:


  12. Wooo! I think I'll be sharing this story with my all-too-willing-to-plagiarize beginning writing students!!

  13. I saw this in Shelf Awareness yesterday and I was stunned. I met Walsch (briefly) a year ago (almost to the day) in Ashland, OR, where my husband & I stopped for 10 days on our road-trip honeymoon. He was hosting a workshop in the hotel we stayed in. My husband was recommending Emmett Fox books to the girl behind the counter, and Walsch, waiting for the elevator, said, "After my books, Fox is the best." Or something like that. It was really funny at the time, because we didn't know who he was till he was in the elevator.


Fire away!