Make your own stuff.

There’s something I need to tell you. I like to write positive messages and send them into the world, but I secretly feel cheated and offended when I am not given credit for what I have written. Well, maybe it’s not such a secret. But it’s something I feel a little funny discussing, for various reasons. In the summer, I made a flier that went with my 24-hour zine, Little Acorns #5, something like a permission slip to be weird. I debated with myself over whether or not to put my name on the flier. I wanted to share this message, but I didn’t necessarily want it to look like self-promotion. However, the last time I made a flier, somebody posted it on Tumblr without credit or permission, and I felt really icky about it, and last I checked, it’s been re-posted more than 3,000 times. I was also embarrassed that the flier was associated with the silliness of “girlvirus”, of which I have since removed myself. Credit was eventually added to the flier, and I get blog hits from it pretty much everyday, but it seems to have opened up no discussions at all, despite the amount of folks who seem to be really into it, and that makes me sad.

And so it happened again: I made a flier, and somebody, I don’t know who, scanned it and put it up on Tumblr without my permission, and I remained unaware until it had been re-posted more than 1,000 times. My sister told me about it when I came to Montréal to visit her, and when I checked it a few days later, it had been re-posted more than 2,000 times. [EDIT: As of April 2012, it has been re-tumbled nearly 10,000 times. I really hope that means that 10,000 wonderful things have been created from scratch!]

[Image: Scan of a yellow piece of paper with typewritten words that read, “You have permission to be weird! Or angry or confused or joyful or delighted or all of the above or none of the above. You have permission to feel however you feel. Your feelings are valid and understandable. Ask questions. Ask friends, acquaintances, strangers: How are you feeling today? What do you need? Ask yourself the same questions. Take care of yourself. We live in worlds that weren’t created for weirdos and rad folks like us, and we need to learn how to take care of ourselves and each other so we can survive and thrive and continue building better worlds.”]

My friend Kit kindly added proper credit, for which I am grateful, but I know that nobody really gives a fuck. It’s become just another image to post on the internet to show your friends how cool you are.

They wrote: LISTEN UP. This lovely flyer was created by MARANDA ELIZABETH, who also made this gem that has circulated Tumblr without credit. Quoi le fuck! How hard is it to give credit to the creators of art you love & appreciate? Stop stealing and taking credit for rad shit you wish you made, you jerks*! Goddammit!

I know it might not seem like a big deal, but when stuff like this happens, I start questioning why I bother making art at all. I don’t have a Tumblr account (therefore absolutely nothing I’ve made should be on there without my permission – when I make something that I want to be on Tumblr, I ask my sister to post it for me), but I look at those pages sometimes, and I see pretty things, but for the most part, it is an energy-suck, and I always end up feeling worse. To me, it seems like a place where you can show off what a radical manic pixie dream human spirit creative such & such you are by showing off stuff you like, not stuff you made. Not your owns words, your own art. And that makes me uncomfortable.

So yeah. The question of why I bother. The question of why I make anonymous fliers and then feel pissed when I don’t get credit. It’s something like this: I write the stories I wish had already been written, I write the stories I wish I found when I was a teenager so maybe I could have struggled a little less, or maybe I could have had someone to relate to, or maybe I wouldn’t have made such a mess, or maybe I’d be able to clean up that mess faster. And when I write, I want it to be read, but more than that, I want you to write (or make whatever kind of art it is you like to make or want to make or talk about making but never get around to). I don’t want to see my fliers posted a thousand times on the internet; I want you to be inspired to MAKE YOUR OWN STUFF. Write your own stories, make your own fliers, use your own words, illustrate your own pictures. Don’t show me something you like, show me something you made.

Somebody recently asked me if they could “remake” my flier and post it around their city. It’s nice that people like my words, but my answer is this:

Honestly, I am not okay with folks reprinting my work. A lot of what I write is meant to encourage others to find the guts to write their own stuff, not to copy mine (certainly not to “remake” it). The flier was actually scanned and posted online without my consent, by someone I don’t even know. I didn’t know my flier was online until it had been reposted more than 1000 times. It makes me feel really uncomfortable when somebody takes something like that with seemingly no thought or care for the person who created it. If you’re feeling inspired to make your own fliers with your own words and post them around town, that’s cool with me, I highly encourage you to do so, but I am absolutely not okay with you or anyone else making copies of something I have already taken the trouble to write myself. If you “love the message”, please take it as inspiration to create something of your own! I want folks to share their own stories, and to find & speak in their own words, not the words of someone else. I very much appreciate you asking first!! Please don’t let this discourage you from making your own stuff.

Here are some related things I don’t have time to talk about today, but am thinkng about, and maybe we can discuss them later:

- if folks are into the positive message, who cares who created it? At least it’s being read & shared?
– when one must remove themselves from a group such as girlvirus, how can their friends show solidarity & support?
– when did it become cool to scan stuff from zines and post them without credit? (this happens with a lot of old riot grrrl zines, and I think that is related to why folks seem to think it’s okay to scan more recent stuff as well)
– is an image on the internet more or less accessible than a paper zine, or is it accessible in different ways? What ways? At what point does a creator lose control of their own work? When does the creator have to accept that their work will be shared in ways that they are not necessarily okay with?
– shouldn’t I at least feel good that so many people like what I wrote and wanted to share it with their pals?
– isn’t it kinda cool that folks that still like my stuff when they don’t know it’s mine?
– maybe it did inspire a lotta folks to make their own stuff, and I just don’t know about it yet?

Creditedly Yours,

P.S.: Maybe I’m just bitter because I’m not “making a living” with my “art”? Who is anyway? What the fuck.

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27 Responses to Make your own stuff.

  1. Clotilde P. says:

    I received that flyer from you with the latest issue of Telegram Ma’am. I loved it, and I decided to leave it in the gas station of a small town that I sometimes pass through when traveling. There are teens in that town- kids I’ve seen, while passing through- that look like they could use some kind words in the face of the homophobic, racist rhetoric they are used to. I myself was one of those teens, always alone and afraid, bullied and made fun of for not fitting in. Finding this flyer would have given me a small bit of hope. We may be different, told that we’re “weird”, but there are always others like us in this world, even if we can’t see them. I was lucky enough to make it through those years, but some do not. A young girl in my old town killed herself a year ago yesterday. She was bullied, and “weird”, and alone.

    What you wrote on your flyer was validation for those of us who struggle with being different. Your words were kind, and much like a hug from some unseen friend. I am a bit sad to see that you are upset about those words being shared- but it is certainly your prerogative. I just hope that maybe you can see it from my perspective, but of course it’s okay if you don’t. I would suggest that you always sign your name to works that you’d like credit for. You said that a friend of yours called the people who were sharing this note (including me, I suppose, since I left it behind for another person to find) “jerks”. If anyone tried to pass that off as their own work, they most definitely WOULD be a jerk, but if they were passing it along, to someone who needed a kind word- is that really being a jerk?
    Someone taking credit for your own work is never okay, but I think it got shared so much because of a few reasons. It was a really nice message, it was impersonal, and it was given out as a flyer, which are things that are usually passed out and shared.

    Anyways, I love your work, and I really respect whatever feelings/decisions you have regarding your work, but I just wanted to maybe show you another point of view on this issue.

    take care!
    : )

    • I really appreciate everything you wrote here! I also leave fliers in random spots like public bathrooms and libraries and all sorts of places, for the same reasons you mentioned: I want folks who need these words to find them. And I wish I had found something like them when I was much younger (or that I could appreciate such things when I was younger). I’m really glad you shared the fliers, because that was my intention with sending more than one along with my zine packages: to get them out everywhere. I also have a long history of being bullied that I have not recovered from, and finding something like this would’ve been cool.

      I think maybe just posting them on the internet is what can, for me, take the magic out of such things. It’s too easy to find something online, re-post it, forget about it, whereas when I find something in person that I can hold in my hands, it is so much more special. I did want to scan the flier and post it online (but I don’t have a scanner or a printer) with tales of encouragement, and I feel ripped off that someone went ahead and scanned it without asking – even though it’s quite possible that they didn’t know who to ask anyway.

  2. Clotilde P. says:

    I think you are spot-on with what you said about things being shared over the internet. When works get passed along online, there is a tendency for the work to become separated from its creator, and then things become watered down and lose their original meaning.. and then people end up assuming it’s all public domain. It’s also super-frustrating when certain groups will take a message and co-opt it for their own use.
    I’m really glad you make the work that you make, though! I love leaving messages and gifts laying around for people to find, but I’ve never gotten my act together enough to put things out on a larger scale, as you do with your zines. Keep it up!

  3. you are totally hitting the nail on the head with this. i’m on tumblr but i go back and forth between wanting to be there or not. there are a handful of other people i follow and engage with who feel it is of the utmost importance to credit things (like your sister, kit, sexartandpolitics, foxesinbreeches, batarde to name a few)

    i think a huge part of it is this endless cycle i feel the internet is moving more towards: a constant stream of short tweets on twitter, posting uncredited images you find “inspirational” on tumblr, updating all the time in short bursts that are difficult to find years later. in fact, participating in those online spaces has meant i have to literally change the way i used the internet – my hand cramps from so much scrolling! for real! it’s disturbing, really. in short i’m trying to prioritize which web spaces i value – focusing more on my “real” blog on wordpress, and when i am using tumblr making sure i post with credit, always.

    i think part of the reason people do strip or post without credit is either because they don’t know how, or they don’t see it as important. this is the part that makes me, and many others, rage. the artist who made it, the context, the year, the medium, etc all changes the way i see a piece of art. it is frustrating to see that people are, like you say, stealing a merit badge of “quirky” rather than earning it, you know?

    PHEW! i could go on and on about this but in the end i present you with this by the always wonderful kate beaton:

    p.s. we met really briefly at expozine! i felt kind of overwhelmed and shy but it was really nice to meet you face to face.

    • Yeah, I go back and forth on whether or not to be on just about any website! I find it strange that participation on so many “social networking” websites requires a character limit, and the passivity of re-blogging and “liking” and whatnot sort of confounds me, even though I participate in it as well (i.e.: I “like” things on Facebook without contributing to a conversation, and I usually forget what I’ve “liked” within about five minutes). I like being able to communicate with more than 140 characters or whatever. I’m also learning to prioritize which sites I am more interested in interacting through, and letting the other ones ago. Actually, that’s a new post altogether: unlearning internet habits and getting back into real life! Thank you for everything you said; I’m writing as an outsider of Tumblr since I’ve never had an account, and it’s good to hear from folks who do use it as well, and can critique it.

      I remember meeting you at Expozine; I was also overwhelmed and shy, as usual.

      P.S.: Kate Beaton link missing?!

  4. Mariana says:

    You inspired me! I’ve always wanted to create my own fliers or misc. art! When I was living in Toronto, I saw it in many forms but never felt inspired. I know you were also speaking bitterly about others sharing your art without permission and I respect that. But right now, I ‘m on rough draft of my first positive message flier and hope it put it around my neighborhood soon! Thanks!

  5. K. says:

    I’m here (ironically?) via tumblr. I’m a tumblr user & have been for several years, but have very mixed feelings about tumblr as a blogging platform. I have met some amazing folks through tumblr and have been introduced to a lot of great art, music, and writing that I might not have found out about otherwise (when people are thoughtful enough to credit work appropriately), but I’ve also encountered a lot on tumblr that I really don’t care for. I feel like in certain tumblr circles, people are working very hard to curate a “cool” online persona that’s made up primarily of scans from early 90’s riot grrrl zines, photos of Courtney Love, and sloganistic political content (“Riot not diet!” “Queer as in fuck you!” etc.) — yeah, I like a lot of that stuff, but I’m always, always frustrated to see it presented out of context by folks who are not open to interrogating it. I see A LOT of resistance on tumblr when I, for example, reblog a “riot grrrl” era photo of a band like Bikini Kill with commentary about the pervasive whiteness of riot grrrl or transmisogyny in “progressive” feminist communities & that troubles me, because we need to be able to problematize the things we love & acknowledging that the things we like are flawed is an important part of keeping things in check.

    Related more directly to the issue of crediting content — it seems like on tumblr it’s, for some people, a badge of “coolness” to be able to ID something without credit. I’ve seen people reblog uncredited images (usually film stills) and say, “Wow, this looks awesome! What’s it from?” only to have a bunch of people pile on them and say “Oh my god, I can’t believe you don’t know Picnic at Hanging Rock or whatever,” which is fucked up. With regard to zines in particular, it’s my sense that a large portion of the people reblogging zine scans without credit are not active members of the zine community. It seems almost like some people think that zine content just appears over on image aggregating sites like ffffound or weheartit and has no actual “point of origin.” With digital archives of zines becoming more well-stocked, it seems like the uncredited circulation of zine pages is becoming more and more prominent. As a zinester, this is troubling to me. I know that at some point you have to let go & you can’t control every single copy of your zine that makes its way out into the world, but I don’t like the thought of someone scanning something of mine & recirculating it online without my permission. (Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, though?)

    • Don’t even get me started on slogans! And riot grrrl! One of my biggest pet peeves is slogans presented without criticism and stories and all sorts of other things (like ‘Consent is sexy’, for example, or ‘Every girl is a riot grrrl’). It takes so much less effort to post a slogan somebody else made up than it does to deconstruct the messages and create your own. I can appreciate folks getting into feminism and listening to / reading riot grrrl stuff, but to ignore the white privilege and trans ignorance prevelant in these movements is lazy and embarrassing (and is perpetuating the same ignorance still in many “feminist” and even “queer-friendly” circles). My first experiences with Tumblr were of seeing all these scans of zines and stuff, and it was just like, ‘What a bore.’

      “I know that at some point you have to let go & you can’t control every single copy of your zine that makes its way out into the world, but I don’t like the thought of someone scanning something of mine & recirculating it online without my permission.”


  6. Mariana says:

    I made my own stuff!! For the first time!!! Very exciting! Can’t wait to post them around my neighborhood!

  7. I also don’t think the people who circulate writing and art without giving due credit don’t realize they are kind of hurting themselves in the process. I mean, if you read this flyer (which is wonderful, by the way) and it really hits you in the heart in a good way, don’t you want to know who wrote it so you can seek out more of their work? Doesn’t it occur to the auto-rebloggers that they can go to the wellspring and find more inspiration if they know who the wellspring is?

    Plus, I think the way internet culture has worked to divorce art and writing from its creators has been another way in which art and writing has been seriously devalued, and I don’t just mean in the financial sense. I mean in the sense that people seem to take it for granted that this beautiful, resonant stuff exists without the efforts of a person who is actually doing the creation, like it just spontaneously generates from out of nowhere.

    Anyway, great post. I hope it does inspire people to make their own things. I make my own things as it is, and your writing has inspired me to do even more of that!

    • I meant to respond to your comment earlier, but I’ve been pretty sick lately. Anyway.

      So true! When I find something that really ‘speaks to me’ or whatever, I want to find out more about that artist, I want to learn about them and see more of their work. It’s not enough just to post it somewhere and move on. I think one reason Tumblr doesn’t appeal to me is because, if I’m pals with someone (whether that be on the internet or in real life or whatever), I am way more interested in seeing what they themselves are creating, rather than seeing stuff they like by somebody else – even though that can be cool in smaller doses. And I would rather have good conversations about those things, than look at them for a moment, then move onto the next. If Tumblr became a community where folks where sharing their own artsy stuff, I wouldn’t be so cranky about it. I so agree with everything you’ve said about internet culture separting art from its creators.

      After whining about this on the internetz, I have had a chance to calm down and accept things. The flier has nearly 5,000 notes now, which kind of blows me away, and even though I’ve been pretty annoyed by the situation, I do still think it’s way rad that 5,000 people out there like something I wrote, and want to share it with their friends. It does encourage me to keep on writing, but certainly gives me a lot to think about re: credit, and how I want my stuff to be perceived and whatnot. I hope its encouraged a lot of others to make their own stuff, too.

  8. ciara says:

    stuff i have written has shown up on tumblr tons of times, often with tons of reblogs, & sometimes with really fucked up commentary. i really dislike tumblr. BUT. i don’t care if people want to post my shit there. mostly the stuff people put there that is mine is stuff from my blog, so they almost always include links, so i am getting credit…& sometimes people follow the links & leave me stupid/fucked up comments. whatever. it’s not like i don’t know that that’s what most people use the internet for in the first place.

    i don’t have a lot of experience with people scanning stuff i made & posting it…but if someone did scan something i had made anonymously…it’s anonymous. i’m not going to fault someone for not giving credit. especially in a situation where it is being reblogged thousands of times…there’s just NO WAY for all those rebloggers to know that you made the flyer in question. unless the very first person to scan & post it said, “this flyer was created by maranda elizabeth, here’s a link,” & everyone else who reblogged after that made sure to include that sentence, & everyone made sure to read the sentence instead of just being like, “ooh, pretty flyer!” *reblog*

    this reminds me of the occasional debates that rage over people reselling zines. i used to be like, “no reselling EVER! what are you…a monster?!?” but i recognize now that it’s just impossible to wield that kind of control over something you make. even if you write in your zine, “don’t resell this,” people are not necessarily going to notice that, & people who do are not necessarily going to honor it, & at the end of the day, this is all honor code stuff anyway & there’s no way to enforce anything & it might just be a waste of emotion to get upset about it. & that goes double (triple!) for something that is produced anonymously. even if people WANTED to credit you, they can’t because they don’t know who made it. it’s nice that your friend spread the word, but if i was some 15-year-old tumblina who just reblogged a cute flyer i liked & then i saw the post…i’d feel like shit. like there was some secret, exclusive club out there full of people who just magically KNOW that this flyer was made by maranda elizabeth, & i’m just some dumb loser who didn’t know that & crossed a line by reposting without credit. & that would probably (if i was 15) make me feel defensive, & that would make me feel like i needed to lash out, & a vicious cycle is born.

    i totally feel your frustration. but for my part, i find it helpful to take some deep breaths & think, “okay, at the end of the day, i’ll probably be happier & healthier if i just construe this as a compliment & move on with my day.” in the future, if you want credit for what you make/do, put your name on it. if your goal is just to make something you hope will touch people or inspire them & you don’t care if they know you made it, be anonymous. but don’t get upset then when people don’t know you made it.

    • I’ve had some time to calm down and accept the whole thing, and writing this rant has helped me deal with it and move on. It mostly just bothers me that it bothers me. Because, logically, yeah, I can say, ‘This flier was made anonymously. How can you credit something that has no name on it?’ I guess it just weirded me out that someone would take the time to scan it and post it online, and I feel like the internet takes some of the magic out of the message (for me personally, because I have weird internet issues – clearly others are finding good stuff in it if they’re sharing it all over the place). I like making fliers and notes with the intention of sending them to friends and zinesters, leaving them on coffeeshop tables and in bathrooms, hiding them between the pages of books and whatnot, because these things seem more meaningful and wonderful to me when they are stumbled upon randomly and can be held in your hands. But now that I’ve written about it, and had more time to think about it and everything, I actually just think it’s pretty rad that something I wrote has been reblogged nearly five thousand times. And I hope it is encouraging others to make their own stuff and to think about and act upon the things I wrote about. (But secretly I wish it resulted in 5,000 zine sales, ha.) Anyway, I definitely put my name on the next batch of photocopies.

  9. Lars says:

    This is definitely a really interesting set of questions. I love your work. It inspires me to do more making and less “liking” and for that I am so grateful to you. There are so many young queer people who are into looking cool and having “radical” politics but don’t do shit about living up to their “aesthetic.” I do think that in order to have a thoughtful engagement with something you care about, you have to take some steps to go beyond looking at it or listening to it and make it your own. On Tumblr, or in the larger young person universe, people are cultivating their image as their art. I would say who cares, not everyone’s into art, but these people act like they are, and that’s annoying.

    Personally, I do want people to read my zines and I don’t mind if it’s distributed via the internet (though much of my material isn’t available online, so maybe I’m speaking preemptively) because my zine is personal-political, speaking of my experiences as a nonnormative trans* person. And as I feel underrepresented in conversations about trans*/queer people, I do want people to read it, but in context. I guess it’s tricky. It is awesome that so many people have access to radical thinking through the internet, but this medium which allows for wide distribution and exposure also lends itself to decontextualization, and essentially turning art into an accessory.

    I would love to hear your thoughts about the questions you posed at the end of this post. I’m thinking about them myself more and more lately and will perhaps take them up in some writing of my own.


  10. alyssa says:

    i just wanted you to know that i found your site through the flyer that ended up credited to you on tumblr, and i had seen the other without credit and spent forever trying to find the source. i’m very sorry to hear that this occurred without your permission, that wasn’t very nice for someone to do. however, i wanted to tell you that those fliers inspired me to write a zine on anxiety & self care (and it’s been a really cathartic experience thus far). just wanted to say thank you for inspiring me to find a healthy way to cope.

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  12. Carrie says:

    One of the things that stuck out for me is this question you asked “when did it become cool to scan stuff from zines and post them without credit? (this happens with a lot of old riot grrrl zines, and I think that is related to why folks seem to think it’s okay to scan more recent stuff as well)”

    I first became aware of zines when I was in high school, in the early 90s — around the same time we were learning to properly cite academic papers: give credit for full quotations used in a paper, but also give credit to ideas that are not quoted verbatim. And zines completely perplexed me, as they seemed to borrow random quotes and copyrighted images ALL THE TIME. So, I would argue that scanning, reproducing, and sharing them without credit is a huge part of what a zine is. It has just become easier, with the internet, to reproduce on a larger scale.

    When I was living in Montreal (~ 6 years ago) I bought a zine about female reproductive health, for my sister, who has always had problematic menstrual cycles. It seemed pretty cool as I leafed through it, then I brought it home and looked at it more closely and it had some really bad, potentially harmful advice. Non-credited. Where did this person GET this horrible information? I still gave the zine to my sister, but with the caveat that it was for entertainment — and I think I left sticky notes pointing out the potentially harmful advice. (Traditionally published material has bad advice too: Inga Muscio’s CUNT is celebrated by so many, but it also contains some really ill-advised and poorly researched information).

    Around that same time, my next door neighbour was working for one of the local universities in the sexual health department, and she gave me a copy of what looked like a zine until I realized it was a fully photocopied book by a well-known sex writer. I was in library school at the time and was trying to wrap my head around copyright issues, and asked her how her department got copyright access to be able to produce the book in its entirety (published in the 1970s, in the States, definitely still held by copyright), as they freely handed out copies of this photocopied book to their clients. My neighbour was completely, 100% clueless about copyright law. She had no idea she was doing anything wrong. She saw it as sharing valuable, alternative, sex-positive information. Which it was, but it was also 100% illegal and could have given that university a LOT of problems.

    So that’s a long winded way of saying that (from my experience with zines going back over 20 years), I don’t think that reproducing images without the creator’s consent is anything new, or recently cool, to zines or zine culture at all. I think that people are all very different: not all zine makers/readers are the same, just as not all feminists are the same, or all genderqueer folks are the same. I firmly believe that a whole lot of people have no clue about copyright laws and that it isn’t only not cool to reproduce without credit, it’s an actual crime, punishable with jail time and big-time fines. And I also firmly believe that a lot of people don’t give a shit about intellectual property rights. But I’m glad you give a shit.

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  15. Rhino says:

    OK but if I find a flyer somewhere and it has no author/website/anything name on it, and I like the flyer a lot – I don’t see why I shouldn’t post it. Claiming to have made it is wrong, of course, that goes without question. Situation could be easily solved by writing “Author unknown, please add credit if you know who made this”. Because honestly – how can someone know who made it if it doesn’t have a name on it and was found in some random public place?
    There is a HUGE difference between people claiming to have made your shit (and even getting something out of it) and people posting your shit without credit because they have no way of knowing who made it. And I have no way of knowing who made a piece of paper I found unless it has their name/link on it.
    For example people post pics of street art all the time – mostly they have no way of knowing who painted what, and I think it’s reasonable to conclude that’s fine as long as they don’t pretend that THEY created it (which some people unfortunately do, and they deserve a harsh call-out).

  16. Hi. Just wanted to let you know I used this image in a post and linked to your blog awhile back, where I found it originally. Here’s my original post I hope it drove traffic to your site because of course artists should be given credit! And, by the way, it’s a really lovely, inspiring image. I’m glad to have found it, even if you didn’t “mean” for it to be shared.

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  18. Koko says:

    I run a self help group of sorts which has a fan page on facebook. It is for people within a similar social setting to myself, who suffer from various mental health problems.

    A friend had posted your flier. I thought the words were beautiful and were exactly what the groups “fans” need occasionally to give them that boost to their unique and wonderful ways, and that being themselves is absolutely perfect. It had no credit, I had no idea where it came from – I just liked the message. I never claimed I made it in any way.

    I am sorry that you feel your art has been diluted by social media. And I definitely feel it is wrong that people claim your work, which is poetic to a t, is their own. As an occasional artist, this would cause me great pain. I do think however, that without social media, I would have never stumbled across this little gem, and therefore none of my group would have either, and that would be very sad indeed.

    I suppose when you leave little pieces about for people to discover, you are essentially setting them free to be explored and passed on. If people find an anonymous message they love, I imagine they want everyone in the world to love it too. I have no reason to think their action is malicious or is in any way an attack on your personal work. I agree with some responders who suggest that you do in future credit work, so when people find their little gift, and want to share it with others, they know who to thank. I would have if I had known.

    Similarly, if you prefer it to be a one off treasure, then perhaps find a way to say to that on them, without detracting from your message,

    Either way, I loved it. I needed it, and it touched me.

    Much love x

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