“Who lives? Who dies? Who tells your story?”-Hamilton: An American Musical.
What is your legacy? What is mine? What is anyone’s? How will history judge us once our bones have disintegrated into dust?
Some people have no interest in if and how people will remember them. They move through their lives, do their work, and have no concern with the opinions of others and whether they will be remembered.
God, I wish I was one of this people.
I’m ashamed to say I’ve got a bit of an ego. I want to have a great legacy. I just don’t know what I should be remembered as. Even worse? I can’t control others’ opinions of me, not in the present or future.
How will history remember me long after I’m gone? I know how I’d like to be remembered and can try to mold myself in that image, but then, will they remember me for who I really am and what I really believe in, or will my memory be of whatever I have crafted myself as?
My biggest problem in my quest for glory is how to be remembered by others without losing myself in the process. As a writer, I know there are techniques and tricks to captivate an audiences attention. Some of these tricks are more practical, ways to refine and clarify the language of the piece to create an understandable work. Yet, there are several techniques writers can learn to appeal to their audiences. While these techniques aren’t inherently a bad thing, they can sometimes force an author to mask their own voice in favor of audience approval.
To be recognized, you sometimes have to forget yourself.
The best example I can use to better explain myself about this is my paper writing habits in college. I would start to write as naturally as I could, but I learned that I could earn the better grades if I just wrote to each teacher’s particular style. This professor wanted the paragraphs structured this way. This professor wanted shorter sentences. This one wanted phrasing this way. I got decent writing grades because I wrote to their rubrics, not to my own style.
I wrote to please, not for me.
Then, I come to the question, do I want to be remembered if the me they all remember isn’t really me? Am I willing to modulate my voice to be more pleasantly melodic to the memories of others if I can’t recognize it myself? I’ve always believed in authorial intent and integrity. When I write, I want my audience to hear my voice and my words as they are. Whether it’s appealing to others or not, my writing retains myself in it so long as I write honestly. I can look back at my old writing and remember myself.
Though despite this difference between integrity and legacy, I’m not the one who would be doing the remembering anyway.
Whether I leave a stain upon the fabric of history or am washed away by time, I know one thing for certain.
“You have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story.”-Hamilton: An American Musical.