I am especially careful when using other people’s words or images, because I’ve had my work snatched without permission before. A few years ago an anthology of Idaho writers was published, in which 13 short vignettes I’d written were used not only without permission, but without attribution. Adding insult to injury, they were credited in the index to another writer. We settled.
I’m thinking of this right now because I’m seeking permission to use a Paul Simon quote as an epigraph in my latest novel. You’ve seen them. These are the pithy little quotes at the beginning of a novel that the novelist wants to include because they bear some relationship to the story. Sometimes they may even be the inspiration for the story.
In my case, I remembered the lyric line after I’d finished the novel. It’s the perfect introduction, so I’m eager to use it. With permission.
I could probably quote it here without fear of repercussion, but I won’t. As I said, I’m careful.
So, my people (me) are now working with Paul Simon’s people (Paul Simon’s people) to obtain that permission. Wish me luck. Buy one of his albums.