I wrote this a couple years ago but it’s still very true.
My grandmother is ninety-three, and I am thirty-five, and my mother’s age is one I’ll not reveal, or she may thump me. As I get nearer to my thirty-sixth year I start to wonder what virtues, and habits, and passions will I pass down to future generations? Will I be yet another forgotten worker bee, part of the landscape? Or if I am remembered at all, will there be some bright spark that others might find good to see?
My grandmother still writes in a fine classical Palmer hand, in a style that predates the current D’Nealian version and was popularized in the late 1900s. Until a week ago, I wrote in a not so fine and brutally pragmatic print hand. It was readable, but never had a pretense of elegance. Is this what I want to have when I am ninety-three? Or sixty, even? Will I rather have eighty or ninety years of practice writing in something that is not fair to look on, or fifty five years of practice in lovely penmanship? I know the choice I am making now.
The same goes for books. Will I tell future generations of the works of Shelley, and Tennyson, and Kipling, and Lafcadio Hearn, and Robert Heinlein, and Larry Niven, and Jerry Pournelle, and Shakespeare, and Samuel Clemens, and Miyamoto Musashi? Or will the only books I know be Harry Potter, Star Trek or Star Wars novels, and modern fantasy? The website Project Gutenberg is a priceless portal to many immortal works from all around the world. It’s also free, which is rather important as well.
Will I start a Work of Noble Note? Will the others, in my generation, do the same? What will their choices be?
And what of you? I’ve covered two things I’d like to take to the future. What things from the past would you like to pass forward? What’s worthwhile to you? I’d love to hear it.