My book of short stories is now available for free download at Smashwords ..... A collection of varied short stories that range from a fictional account of Byron's prisoner of Chillon, a totalitarian allegory set within a factory, a conceptualized description of baseball, a daring robbery caper in an historic Scottish castle, a futuristic advancement of Dante's Comedy, and a whimsical skit in an English club.
We all have various, often illustrious, stated aims when we sit down to write or tell other people about our writing. All of us want to “express ourselves” and “open our minds/hearts” and “contribute to meaningful discourse” …. And these are indeed noble aims! I share them myself as I think all of us who want to write do.
My reasons for desiring to write are no less illustrious. I confess that part of the reason I want to write is not only to converse with others, but to place myself in that conversation.
Yes, not a puny word! Immortality. Mankind has pined for immortality for eons. It is from this yearning to escape death that arises our ancient embrace of religion. A religion that promises us a form of life after death (albeit without much proof of such a thing, although that’s another discussion for another day ….)
While our physical human form is indeed transient, what survives of human physical presence is music, art, words. When I put words on a page (or a computer screen!) I am putting down a part of my mind. It is not my whole mind, but a bit, a moment’s thought. Beyond conveying a story or an idea, my deep-seated yearning to write is to leave part of my mind here on Earth after I’m gone. My desire to write is to express my mind not only to humans of the present, but of the future.
If my words are one day read by someone 200-300 years from now, I feel that I am, in a sense I will never appreciate after I am gone, living again. Part of me, those words and thoughts in my head, my feelings, my ideas, the music of my sentence and paragraph structure, will be living again.
When we look back on human history, think of how few individuals (rather than peoples or nations) are really remembered. Think of the thousands who marched in Alexander the Great’s armies? Who do we remember? One man, at the top (and perhaps scholars can spout off the names of a handful of generals).
The same happens with composing and writing. Who remembers the millions who have listened to Beethoven or Mahler? Who remembers the millions who have read the works of James Joyce? No, we remember the composer and the author.
In saying I want immortality, I mean I want to be a part of that ageless tradition of human thought. Not that I aspire to actually be in the highest ranks (such as Joyce or Vonnegut or Shakespeare), but rather when I write I want to be a part of the myriad human minds that have left their words – often anonymously – to posterity. To be a part of that growing group of minds which have expressed themselves not only to their contemporaries, but their near and distant descendants. I want those future beings to know me, in a partial sense.
I write not for fame or lucre. I write because I want my words to be read and heard and felt and … in a way …. I want to be there with my readers 200-300 years from now.