Monday Classroom: Iconic Giants & the Firsts – what do you wish your legacy to be?

All up inside my lil ole pea-headed brain, I was thinking about the creative endeavor, about where we’ve been and where we are and where we will go–and where we want to go, or think we want to go until we arrive and then we’re all “Huh? Whaaa?” Right?Riiighhht!  Then, I ponderificated about those who came before, and those who will be remembered for time immortal and beyond (or at least until the sun dies–yes, y’allses, the sun is going to die, but no worries, it’s still some millions of years away – of course, the core is cooling, and the poles could reverse – but don’t sell everything and bunker down–that’s also quite some time a’ways).

I wandered and wondered, who(else) will be most remembered twenty, thirty, forty, one-hundred, two-hundred years from now? Do we, anymore, have the ability to create Classics in literature, music, art, architecture? And I’m not talking about the absurd–the “fashion” that comes and goes and comes and goes and goes and comes and–Lawd! I’m dizzy! He’p me!  Or have the molds been cast and then placed behind thick glass to preserve them and we can only hope to find some spot of our own outside that glass ever-looking in, in an ever-expanding crowd of creativity and mimicry of creativity?

There was a time when writers, artists, architects, dancers, musicians, et cetera, made the rules and made the new, because they trod where no one else had ever been before–or perhaps, even, it was that they were smart enough to say LOOK AT ME first–thangs had to have a beginning, right? riighhht! Someone and something was a First, in the mostest uniqueneses of ways for which we may never see that First Unique again. The first car–well, dang, won’t be another first of those, even if we design the coolest cars on the planet and call them New–they are based on that First Car. And even in that First Car, how much of it was built upon the ideas of others: Firsts Parts–the wheel, an engine–and the parts that made up that engine, seats the people sit on and the materials to make those seats, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera! Even our stories have a long long long past–who told the very first story? And it was told again and again and it changed and morphed into more stories, and soon someone painted them on a cave, and then wrote it down, and then someone had the bright idea that, “I bet lots of people would like to hear this story, and to boot, I could make some money off’n it! wheeee doggies!”

It’s difficult now to find the places where no one has been, which is why there are “The Classics,” and why we have those literary (and other creative) giants/icons who are held up as larger than life, their images on cups and t-shirts and postage stamps, their works examples for those who follow or want to buck up against. One glance at an image and most know who they are. One mention of a phrase and one knows who said it, and it is deemed brilliant, never to be touched again by another – er, right?

Yes, y’all, we can create our own paths and someone may say, “Wow!” But are brilliant works and new paths sometimes swallowed by the glut of All That Out There Everywhere? Or are we becoming jaded because there’s just so much so

Don’t hide! Come on out and see the world

much so much SO MUCH SO MUCH SO MUCH SO MUCH — LAWDY BE IN A BUCKET I CAIN’T KEEPS UP!

Just what do you want from this writing/creative life? . . . think about this question and its/your answer a bit. The easy answer may be: I want my book published/on a best seller list/to make a million bucks/to be recognized by my peers/to be famous/to be loved/to be the best/to be the strongest-tallest-prettiest-smartest-richest—now take whatever answer comes to mind and dig a little further: what do you really want from this thing you are doing? Break it down, pull it apart, examine it. Turn it around, on its head, inside out and outside in. Whatever you come up with, that’s what you can work towards–and be prepared to be knocked down, or maybe have that “want” to change, or even–GASP!–to FAIL–whaaa? you may say; but but, If I never give up and try my best, I’ll get what I want, right? Nope, not always! But sheeee-it, no one ever finds out what they’s gonna git by doing nuttin!

Perhaps some of our iconic giants didn’t have to work so hard to be noticed? Perhaps they did their thang and it was deemed brilliant and unique and extree-ordinary and folkses flocked to see this New Thang – to buy it – to touch it – to be a part of it! Ohhhhhhhhhh lawdy! Shoot, I bet the first Band Wagon was so full it near to tipped over! I mean, don’t we’ses love to hop on Band Wagons–beware the Band Wagon, y’allses, for a Band Wagon is not a Cause– and it may not be the best answer to your own question.

Just as civilizations are built and then built upon and built upon again and again, so it is with language and music and art. There was the creating of new ways. And now, we build upon those “ways” — we have “rules” and “before us’ses” we follow because they were called “This is Important: Pay Attention!” and we build on those, and sometimes we throw them out, and sometimes we morph them, and sometimes we break the rules and the norm gently or even ungently. Language, art, the creative endeavor, is a living breathing thing, a malleable thing. Isn’t it? What about we create Our Own History. Our Own Way. Our Own Legacy. Sometimes even Good Enough is enough, right? Right? You tell me.

Who will find their face on a cup? Who will be caricatured on a t-shirt? Who, if anyone, will be our icons and giants in the future before the sun dies or poles reverse?–lawd! Or as we individuals die–what will we pass on to those who look to us?
What is your legacy, or what do you wish your legacy to be? To yourself, your kids, your grandkids, your friends, family, to the world?

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14 thoughts on “Monday Classroom: Iconic Giants & the Firsts – what do you wish your legacy to be?

    • I love that – yes.

      I think about my granddaughter and step-grandchildren – what do I want to leave behind so that she/they are proud- and more important, so she/they can learn.

      I hope what I leave behind is: “I did my best at least 85% of the time” Laughing! :-D

  1. Kat,
    Now there is a weighty question. I don’t do much thinking about my legacy, but I would like others to remember me as a writer who explored the complex dynamics of families and relationships and breathed life into characters who will be with us long after I am gone. How’s that sound?

  2. Lol, I try and pretend that I never think about this sort of thing, but I do, I do! Hum…so I’m pretty sure I would be especially sad if the characters and stories in my books were ever completely forgotten and left on some moldering pile. To those who knew/know me, I’d feel satisfied and very blessed to simply be remembered as an ordinary person passing through, memorable for sincerity in living my truth as I know it–honestly, passionately, fearlessly–and not just as some loud mouth talking-the-talk-yakkety-yak!

    The problem is I’d better not die tomorrow if I’m hoping to accomplish this, because I’m still a work in progress and haven’t fully gotten to that place yet :-)

    • OMG _ I think of this == “what if I die before I finish this book!” – I don’t as much as I did while I was writing the Graces Trilogy – i needed to finish that – the idea of that as an incomplete work – lawd! But still, I think of this while working on something and often think “I wonder if someone will finish it for me ” :-D

  3. Money would be nice, recognition would be nice (I do get some now). I would like my grandchildren to be able to read my books (when they are older, some of my stories are gross and squishy), and to hear them tell their friends, “My MoMo wrote this!” I doubt my stories will change the world, but even if just one story makes someone sit up and notice, or if a scary story gives someone a nightmare or inspires them to raise a hand and say, “Yes!” then my work here is done.

  4. Wow!

    I want them to say I made them laugh and that I loved them unconditionally. How cool would that be? And wouldn’t it be great if some of my genes swam down the DNA chain and linked into my grandchild or great great grandchild and they said – ‘God, that expression reminds me of Christine.’ Which means that part of me actually lived on forever. Sheesh, how scary is that?

    As for writing. Again, I’d like to be remembered for bringing a smile to a sad face. A tired face that life had beaten down and needed a pick me up. That I’d written a place to escape to for a few hours of fun and frolics. I don’t do sad or abuse or violence because there’s enough of that being belched out by the box sitting in the corner or on the wall (TV) of every home.

    Great post, Oh Wonderful One!

    • Oh! I am always so tickled (that’s an old person’s word, isn’t it? haw!) when my granddaughter does some expression that reminds me of me — or that she loves “frocks” (rocks) – omg! ME! :-D

  5. I absolutely love this post as I’ve been grabbling with one of the questions you posed: “Just what do you want from this writing/creative life?”

    My post today relates perfectly and I think as a writer and a teacher and a magazine editor you’ll appreciate it.

    And who DID tell the first story!?

    • Oh, I will come by and check it out!

      I wonder that too – and what was it “about” –and did they fudge the truth a bit, making it the first “fiction” ! :-D

  6. Fab post! Gets the brain to thinkin’ for sure. I want to leave to my girls and new granddaughter (in Sept) kindness, honesty, love…I want to leave to them my love of the arts, music, cooking, gardening, home, family, etc. I want to leave them the knowledge of where they come from, my past, my mother, my grandmother, my greatgrandmother…It is rich in the zest for nature and beauty and living life to the fullest! I want them to be happy and fulfilled. I/we raised our girls to be strong, independent women. Not afraid to go out in the world and make a path for themselves, whether they have a partner or not. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve pushed that too hard but they are strong and independent women, mission accomplished.

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