A Thousand Little Lies

Have you ever heard of Q. R Markham?  If you haven’t, you probably will.

You see, Mr. Markham (which is the pen name for the author Qunitan Rowan) is a plagiarizer.  And I’m not talking about the little borrowing of things here and there…no, if only…the truth is, it’s much deeper than that.  Quintan Rowan plagiarized an entire novel.  He took all the works that ever inspired him to begin with, mashed them up and served them up under the title “Assassin of Secrets”.  And no, he’s not some new Indie who simply didn’t know better..Rowan owns a bookstore in Brooklyn, NY (Spoonbill and Sugartown)…and the book, well, it was published by Little, Brown.

The story of this unfolds like Russian Nesting Dolls.  From the novel itself which, from the very first pages, copies nearly verbatim the works of others, dribbling down to the interviews he did where he passed off quotes of others as his own.  I’m not going to go into the gory details of this disgusting breech of trust and blunt dishonesty…but rather share my reaction to it.

When I came home this evening and told Mark what I’d learned about this–the whole story–he sort of shrugged like it was no big deal.  Then, he kind of laughed and referenced James Fry.

And it was in that moment I understood the difference in weight and balance. He couldn’t see what I saw in this. For me, what Quintan Rowan (and yes, I refuse to use his pen name…because really…what’s the point?  what did he pen?) did was take everything I did, everything we all do, and spit on it.  He’s not an author–he doesn’t deserve to be published.  While it may be funny–highlighting the gaps in traditional publishing, making a martyr of this “author”–for me, it’s just sad.

I don’t know why Rowan did what he did.  I can take my guesses, throw them at the wall, and wait to see what sticks. Maybe he was tired of the hoops and the jumping, maybe the rejections were piling up and he felt broken, maybe he wanted to see just how far this could go, maybe he has entitlement issue.  Who knows.  But what I do know for certain is that he was given an opportunity and he wasted it.  It wasn’t a rightfully earned placed on the book shelves, he piggy-backed off the work of others.  But still, he had a chance.  He could have done what we all do–he could have worked hard, taken the lumps of rejection, pushed passed it, found a way to make the literary world for him in his terms…but he didn’t.  What a shame.

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