Having different names can be inspirational. I, for example, have used many names from Seeker to Pilgrim to Perpetua. Then there is Grace.
I have posted “Plant your own garden, decorate your own soul” twice. The poem has been an inspiration to so many. However, it has been attributed to so many names such as Jorge Luis Borges, Shakespeare and Veronica Shoffstall.
Grace found the poem posted in three different occasions at Ravenous Butterflies in Facebook attributed to Veronica Shoffstall. In the first post, Grace being ungraceful commented insisting that it was written by Borges. A Ronnie Shoffstall was inspired to reply that she and Veronica are the same. Still Grace is skeptic
On the second post, a quote showed up in Ravenous Butterflies:
So plant your own gardens and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for some to bring you flowers.” ~ Jorge Luis Borges
Grace commented: Kindly give us the full quote of Jose Luis Borge. And Butterflies obliged attributing it to Borges.
Pandemonium ensued that Veronica Shoffstall is the author commented by many.
Therefore, Butterflies changed the author to Shoffstall. Fair enough since it was originally posted as Shoffstall.
Enter Grace commenting again since she is so inspired by this poetry attaching it to her photos as an avid gardener.
“Ravenous Butterflies, what made you change the name of the writer from Borges to Shoffstall.”
Grace is the ability to redefine the boundaries of possibility. ~ MANNING MARABLE
The following is the conversation in Ravenous Butterflies third post between Grace Siglos and Ronnie Shoffstall (in italic).
RS: because Veronica A. Shoffstall is the author of this poem. Sr. Borges wrote a different poem, and someone (who would get pimples and hemorrhoids) taked my poem onto it.
GS: word for word added a few lines, wart and all, I suppose anyone can call it theirs. Just like I said, I wish the dead could speak. ( GS and RS had a previous conversation before in the first post).
RS: So do I, my fried. So Do I.
GS: unfortunately Jorge Lois Borges died when the poetry showed up written in English.
RS: Like I said, if you really want to know, do some honest research with the facts I’ve provided. Otherwise, please don’t spread misinformation. It’s hurting me.
GS: I am not spreading misinformation and I am not the only one that is questioning the validity of the poetry. I am hurting as well.
RS: So check it out. Satisfy yourself.
GS: hahaha … not buying your response. YOU have to provide th facts since it’s in your name.
RS: I have done. I will do again and again. *First published in The Ivy, yearbook of SUNY Mohawk Valley. 1972 Yearbook was late, so it was delivered in a boxed edition, with my poem beautifully printed on a piece of parchment.
This must have made this easy to copy, distribute, or hang on refrigerator doors. It made its way around the SUNY system and eventually showed up without my name.
By December 1982, it had found its way to the syndicated Ann Landers Advice Column. My mother was a dedicated Ann Fan and called me, all excited, when my poem appeared in the column, someone asking who wrote it. I was in contact with Ann Landers office at the Chicago Tribune, and Ms. Landers posted my poem many times afterward, correctly and properly attributed, calling it, in her book WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE, one of her most requested items.
Since then it has been published in more than 40 books, ranging from a Jewish book of advice, a quilters manual, a lesbian live novel, and a Christian marriage manual, and in several novels. It was even recited in its entirety in a played called, NANTUCKET SLEIGH RIDE, by John Guarre. Each of those authors found me, researched me, and requested my consent. An excellent calligrapher. Sherry Locker, markets my poem and gives me a percentage of the profits to the Polycystic Kidney Foundation, a disease my brother, sister, dad, aunt and uncles, as well as myself, all experience(d).
People started showing up claiming this poem, changing this poem, or asking my permission to corroborate on a better version of my poem. Several have been given permission to set it to music. I haven’t made as much money from this poem (maybe $500 since 1982?) as I’ve spent to defend it, with a lawyer who told me it would be like “gathering feathers in the wind”. So now I depend on angels who know the truth about this poem’s creator and defend the truth.
You asked for this, Grace Siglos. I hope I don’t have to say all this again. I don’t know who makes up a story like this, but if it sounds MORE LIKELY TO YOU that I would put my name in the work of a FAMOUS poet, then you are certainly have freedom of belief. You are one of those blasted feathers in the wind.
GS: thank you. You should do more that this and write to the copyright powers to clear your name. Plus post it on your FB and your blog site. If I am the real writer, I wouldn’t be mad and start name calling but be thankful that this piece of poetry is associated with famous writer. It’s all a blessing similar to Madame Currie’s invention and became a Nobel Prize Winner.
RS: Grace, I think the only thing I called you was a feather in the wind. I apologize if my tone was filled with frustration and indignance but I’ve been dealing with this a very long time. I don’t have children so this poem is my only thing that will outlive me. I rarely ask for money, usually a signed copy of the book (I have KISS ME LIKE A STRANGER, by Gene Wilder!) or tickets to the play by Mr. Guarre (it sucked btw). Anyway I appreciate that you a seeker of truth — I belong to the Baha’i Faith and we’re big on that. And I’m an American, which at least proclaims itself to be. So I did not mean to offend you and I’m sorry if I did. I was just frustrated . And since you forced me to write all this out, I’ll save it so I don’t have to keep doing it. So thank you, Grace.
GS: I can understand your frustration. My background is mostly validation on facts, figures, science, legal and strength of materials. I have strong faith as well. You still have time to send notification without costing you to clear confusion as I mentioned above. BTW, thanks for visiting my site.
If any consolation to you, the Spanish community vehemently saying this is not the work of Borges or Shakespeare but yours. I doubt Shakespeare wrote this. Gosh, you’re famous amongst these literary writers. I suppose people are looking for Veronica and not Ronnie where the confusion lies.
RS: It’s crazy. Jorge Luis Borges has books of poetry, he’s got biographers! He’s an esteemed, productive poet! It boggles my mind that there is any confusion at all. I guess I should be honored, but it really makes a problem for me, particularly because it is already in so many books and publications. I hate that anyone thinks I’M the plagiarist.
GS: Just like I said the confusion lies on the name between Ronnie and Veronica. Hope you pinned a note on your FB and blog sites that Ronnie/Veronica is the same person.
In the meantime, Grace found the yearbook with the poetry, provided it to Butterflies that is was written by Ronnie Shoffstall and change the name to clear the confusion.
RS: Thank you, but my name is Veronica. Ronnie is a pretty standard abbreviation. Please don’t change my name. Ronnie is what my friends call me. It’s my “home name”. As far as the bank, the government, my insurance companies, and other matters of importance, I’m Veronica. If you are my friend you can call me Ronnie, but Veronica wrote the poem, copyrighted the poem, and attributed to the poem. None of my important papers say Ronnie. I doubt that my nickname was the problem. But thank you for your concern.
GS: To end this on a good note. Here’s the message I received from Centro Jorge Luis Borges Biblioteca Nacional Mariano Moreno Republica Argentina:
I am writing to you in order to answer mail that I send you above the message.
By this means, I have to say that the text that you have sent us does not belong to Jorge Luis Borges and of course is not part of his Complete Works.
I think, is just a fake text that apparently appears in a page of googlereads (goodreads) as many others.