If You Would Not Be Forgotten As Soon As You’re Dead and Rotten

I don’t know if Benjamin Franklin had it right when it comes to fiction writing.

Does writing something ‘worth reading’ prolong life and memory beyond the years of our physical lives? Yes, we know of Shakespeare today, but what about a thousand years from now? Would he still be remembered? Besides, did he really write because he wanted to get as close to immortality as possible? What were his motivations for writing?

To do something ‘worth writing about’ is again a dubious thing. What is worth writing about? Do writers write only of great adventures, achievements, of lives lived in the limelight?

According to me, everything we do is worth writing about…all our gestures, eccentricities, deformities, sins, ugliness, just as much as our joys, our triumphs, and all the beauties of human nature and existence. No matter how big or small, human lives deserve to be written about in all their glorious and humiliating detail—because that is what gives us life beyond life–a celebration of our existence upon this earth each moment of the finite time we’re given.

So, I’d rather write not to make myself immortal, but to make the life of my times live beyond me–to celebrate life as it is around me today, in all its positive and negative aspects, across the entire spectrum of society, see it for what it really is and mirror its reality for the coming generations. (Perhaps, this is why when I go to museums I’m as impressed by a humble brass tobacco grinder as a beautifully worked jade bracelet– both transport me to the times their owners lived. I do think Fiction is a different, and somewhat more authentic, telling of History.)

Besides, when I write fiction, I’m not aware of reasons and motives beyond the immediate one: I want to say something, and will keep trying to say it in the best way I can, mostly because the voices in my head won’t shut up. Once my work is out of my hands, it is on its own, and its readers would decide its life and death, quite irrespective of me, or my longevity beyond my death.

What is your take on this? Do you write to live beyond your natural span, so you aren’t forgotten? And if you’re not a writer, do you strive to live in such a way that you’re written about? Any other views on what Mr. Franklin had to say?

I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet me up @damyantig !


Add Yours
  1. Tracy Jo

    I love this quote. It is inspiring to me and is saying…to push yourself to live your best life. Great post too…love your thoughts on it. I write because something deep inside me is pushing me to and for once…I am listening to the push. 🙂

  2. Jennifer Macfarlan

    Plato mentioned the same thing, about writing to become immortal. It's catching to me because it's a way to always be a part of other's lives. I may not be a writer but if it happens with my research I'd be pleased.

  3. Annalisa Crawford

    Hi Damyanti, thanks for visiting my blog. The Gym Instructor blog is just for fun – my writing blog annalisacrawford.blogspot.com is the one taking part in the A-Z challenge.

    In amswer to the question you asked in this post, I would love to be remembered beyond my lifetime, but I think only a certain type of fiction will move easily from generation to generation, and I don't think I write that kind.

  4. Stephen Tremp

    I've honestly never wondered about this. Great question though. Maybe one day people will say my writing was before its time as wormholes become an every day part of people's lives.

  5. V. Furnas

    I don't write for immortality I write because I have too.

    Looking forward to reading more of your post. Found my way here by way of A to Z.

  6. Kittie Howard

    I love this quote. I began blogging to record stories for two nieces who could care less about their family's deep history. They don't know about this blog. Hopefully, one day they won't be as materialistic and, well, the stories will be there.

  7. Anna Smith

    Your post was lovely and I agree with what Miranda said. Whenever I write it's purely for enjoyment, and I hope others enjoy reading it. I like that when we write we can create different worlds and go to places that are not possible in the real world.

  8. Arlee Bird

    Right now I'm writing in hopes of making some income and to share with others. If people read my writing after I'm long gone then that's an added benefit. But whether or not one is widely read and highly regarded in some future time probably depends on the recognition they received during life.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  9. Miranda Hardy

    I have this quote taped to my computer. I interpret it a little differently and apply it to my writing. Either write something worth reading (and it should be well written and inspiring) or do something worth writing (be the best person you can and help out when possible). I'm not wanting to be immortal, but I want to make an impact, even if on only one person.