I’ve written a few novels over the years. I’m a compulsive writer.
Always have been.
When I wasn’t writing a detailed diary, I’d be working on science fiction or fantasy novels.
Apart from one book, I consider all my stuff from the 80s and 90s to be really cringe worthy, however at the time I had dreams of being published and wanted to know how to make my work copyright.
As the net just wasn’t around back in those days (and I refused to buy a modem until they became reliable and used something more advanced than KERMIT as software, I didn’t have the means to find this out very easily.
I asked several people I knew, but they didn’t know. I asked people at work, and a couple of friends (my friend Paul) and a lady called Karin. We played Dungeon and Dragons with her and her husband every second weekend or so. (Got to love the old pen and paper games!)
It was during one of those sessions that Paul asked Karin on my behalf if she could find out about copyright since she worked for a law firm as a secretary. She said that she would do that for me.
Around three weeks later, a letter from a law firm called Law Partners Barristers & Solicitors arrived in the mail. The envelope was addressed directly to me. I stared at it in puzzlement and wondered what it was about. I opened it up and found a Client Newsletter for Winter 1989.
To the best of my knowledge, I wasn’t a client and neither was anyone else I knew. There was no note of explanation attached and it certainly wasn’t advertisement. Later on in my bedroom, for some reason, I picked it up once more. I had the nagging feeling that I should know something in connection with law firms. Then the penny dropped: Karin. It could only be her. I skimmed the newsletter and sure enough, on page three was a column entitled: Protecting Your Ideas.
In the second paragraph it went on to read:
If you are the author of any artistic or literary work, such as design drawings for a prototype of an invention, you automatically have a right to copyright or the exclusive right to use of the work.
To protect this right, you must mark your work ’copyright’, use the symbol ©, name the author/owner and state the year first published. A witness’s signature is also a good idea. Copyright generally exists for a period of 50 years after the author of the work dies.
Well that was the information I needed. Knowing the type of personality she was, I thought it was typical of Karin not to include some sort of note. She obviously thought that If I didn’t read the leaflet, I would be my own fault!
I rang up Paul the next day and told him about it. Then the day after, he rang me at work.
He said: Karin and Anthony just came in to (his place of) work. I thanked her for the letter she sent you on behalf of you which I felt was the right thing to do. She said ‘What letter?’
The letter you sent Gary or got someone to send to Gary about Copyright.’
‘I never sent him anything.’ she told me.
“What!” I practically screeched. “That’s impossible!”
“Well that’s what she said.”
“Was she joking?”
“No. She was serious.”
And in my experience, Karin wasn’t exactly a person who was thick on humour or did much joking. She tended to be very forthright.
So I asked everybody over the next few days if it was they who sent the letter. Everyone denied it and most people didn’t even know I was trying to Copyright my book, anyway. Karin confirmed that it wasn’t her when I saw her, claiming that she wouldn’t send something to me, she would just give it.
And that made sense, as it was much easier to just pass it on rather than go to the trouble of finding my address and posting it out, and it wasn’t as though she had arranged for that information to be in their newsletter so she could give it to me.
I’ve never received another newsletter from this firm, nor did I ever find out why my name suddenly appeared on their distribution list for just that one time.
As far as synchronicities go, that one has always been beyond me.