CCFA Contest

March 6, 2008

Today I wrote a piece for the “Share your UC story” contest being put on by Procter & Gamble and the Crohn’s Colitis Foundation of America. The contest is based on the belief that people do have fulfilling lives after being diagnosed with, and living with, Crohn’s (which I have) and Ulcerative Colitis.

Here’s the link for entry.

Because the rules of the contest state that my submission cannot be previously published, I’m at a loss. I want badly to share it with you, but want to ensure that I follow the contest rules precisely. That means if I post the submission here I have published it and therefore disqualified myself.

If you didn’t understand that distinction, here’s a tiny primer on copyright and publishing. And down the bottom I’ve pulled an excerpt from my entry—something that IS allowed.

Whether you want to believe it or not, the very words you’re reading here electronically have the same legal protection as the words that appear in any John Grisham novel or any video that appears in a major motion picture. Creative expression is protected by copyright the moment it is put into a ‘fixed’ form. By writing my thoughts here, or recording them on tape, or even putting them in an email to a friend, those words immediately are considered copyrighted.

Publishing is a tiny bit more complicated, but very similar. A piece of writing is considered to be published when it is made available in a fixed format for an audience other than the original creator. This is simplified, but semantically correct.

If I were being realistic, there’s probably nobody on the judging committee at the contest who would wander by this site and read my entry. Many magazines also ignore prior publication of submitted materials if the earlier publication was in a tiny paper or magazine that none of its readers ever see.

So, I’m being overly careful with this, but will post the entire entry once the contest has closed.

Here’s the excerpt…

I choose to experience my life, not be a hostage to my body’s vicious complaints and frustrating physiology. I choose to be happy. Therefore, I am in control of my UC.

The rest of the piece is about 140 words explaining my journey through life having Crohn’s and the ways in which I have coped. If you’ve got a story like that, go enter. Or just share it here in the comments.