I think every person wants to know that his or her life has been for a reason – that their life had not been a waste. They hope that they leave some kind of legacy behind.
Lots of people have a child to be a legacy for them. Someone that they leave behind when they leave the world. Others might never have that opportunity. So they may turn to lifeless things to carry their voice forever. Think of people like Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. Their names are forever etched into the history of mankind.
Nowadays, things change so rapidly, it is difficult to leave a mark. So many new things appear and then get replaced by the next thing within a year. Where are those people’s legacies?
More to the point, as a writer, I have an opportunity to make a mark that can last a long time. There are so many writers that get published these days however – with self-publishing and so on making a big impact – that standing out will be a hard thing to do.
But maybe that is less of the point than one would think. Maybe you don’t have to be the next Hemingway to leave a legacy behind.
If I have one dream that I cling to, it is that someday – possibly after I’m dead – someone will take a book I wrote and pass it to a friend, colleague or child and say, ‘Here is a book that is worth reading’. If I could change one person’s life for the better – even if it’s just giving a moment of pleasure in a world of dreariness – I will know that I’ve been successful at life and would be able to die happily.
This makes me think of that movie (I think it was 2012) where a point of chance put a small-time writer’s book on the list of a small group of books left after the world ends.
Knowing this, I can only go forth to put out my very best (nay, my very soul) into any novel I have any intention of getting published, for it might just be a book that will carry my legacy long after I’m gone.