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
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?