Sunday, September 19, 2010

My Legacy!?

Shannon started off the blog chain with this question:

Imagine this: when you're gone, readers will remember your writing most for just one of these things: your characters, your plots, your settings, or your style. Which one (only one!) would you prefer over the rest? Why?

Okay, wow.


I mean any question that begins with "when you're gone" is a pretty big question already. But then even once I've wrap my head around the whole dead and gone thing, I also have to imagine that at some point before I've shuffled off this mortal coil - not only will I be published, but that this book or books will also be remembered as being good for something other than lining the bird cage.

I gotta say this question makes all the self-doubt parts of my brain light up like a pinball machine.

But let's put that aside.

And let's also not think about the fact that no matter how much I love books, (so much so that once again - after I'm gone - if someone did the math they would calculate that I'd probably spent a good quarter of my life inside of them) I am not very good at specifically remembering each individual one. The ones I love - I remember bits and pieces. The ones I really hate - I remember bits and pieces. Most though fall into the middle, and those I pretty much forget completely.

But (not to get all philosophical on you here, I mean really, this is a pretty simple question and I'm here turning it into this whole existential what's gonna be left of me after I die whole big dramatic thing. sorry, i get that way sometimes.) maybe it's more than what's remembered or forgotten. And more than writing a book that's treasured instead of sold at the next garage sale - or in this new digital age - maybe it would just be deleted out of existence (deleted out of existence? that's a bit much, right? I know, bring mortality into the equation and suddenly it's all over-the-top statements and quoting Hamlet. again, I apologize.)?

Maybe it's about what Shannon (who I would not blame if she is right now rolling her eyes and saying a heartfelt "oye" at where I have dragged her truly excellent question.) wrote about in her post about getting lost in books. And getting lost is what I love about reading. For Shannon it was setting - being able to take someone to another place. But for me, I need to get out of my own head. My own head gives me headaches (if you are still reading this post, you might be getting one too.). Books put me in someone else's head. In someone else's life.

And I guess that after all this my answer is actually quite simple (it usually is once you dig past all the nonsense). Characters. I want my characters to be my legacy. Even if they're not really remembered at all, in the moment, when the words - whether on paper or screen - are in front of your eyes, I want my characters to be alive... even after I'm not.

So what about you? Ready to contemplate your own epilogue? What would you have your written legacy be?

And to keep following this blog chain (which if it's true what they say about things you post on the Internet being there forever, this chain will still be here long after we're gone. geez talk about a legacy.) please check out Amanda's blog next.


  1. It's tough to contemplate your mortality, isn't it? That's good enough reason for quoting Hamlet. I'm with you on wanting to be remembered for my characters, but I'll go into more detail in my own post on this topic.

  2. Awesome, Kate!

    BTW, my first draft of the question started with "Imagine you're dead." I thought that might be too jolting. ;)

  3. LOL, simply awesome. Where you think you're rambling, I think you're hilariously awesome! Great answer!

  4. Yeah, it is an existential nightmare to think about what you leave behind!

    Great post! I, too, hope my characters stick with the reader.

  5. OMG - I go on vacation and come back to THIS blog chain?!? I thought you answered beautifully btw :)

  6. Love your answer - and I get all philosophical too, so no worries!

  7. I liked reading your thought process. Great answer!

  8. I think this is a fantastic answer. I love the rambly bits. Especially how books put you in other people's heads.