Casual conversations about our own death seem socially unacceptable. But if I am honest, my death is something that has consistently come to mind recently. It probably has to do with the influx of religion-themed literature I have been reading lately thanks to my curious mind. For instance, I learned that there are thousands of religions out there, many of which claim some sort of life after death. And with this and other supernatural claims, it is no surprise that there are skeptics. Claims range from eternal paradise and eternal torture to reincarnation into other life forms. There are claims of purgatory and claims of simply sleeping forever. Despite these differences, there is one thing that all people–regardless of belief or non-belief–can agree on when it comes to life after death. And I don’t think many of us realize it.
It hit me as I was thinking about the pieces I have written, the writing that I have in progress, and the experience of leaving it all behind after I die. I daydreamed about loved ones rummaging through my notebooks, finding songs, poems, stories, and journal entries that would reaffirm their memories of me while unraveling the layers of myself that they weren’t aware of. Then, I imagined my public work continuing to do what it did while I was alive. If the piece comforted readers while I was alive, it would continue to comfort them when I’d die. If the piece was thought-provoking, it would continue to provoke thought. And if the piece made some people uncomfortable, it would continue to arouse discomfort. After considering this, it made me realize something.
Whatever the case may be, my work will outlive me. And by creating while I am alive, I am hacking my morality.
I’m not sure if many of us writers realize that by writing right now, we are extending our lifespans. So long as the earth persists, the work that we create has the potential to last almost countless lifetimes. And with the creation of the blogosphere and the ease with which blogs can be created, our immortalization can extend beyond physical pages.
I know that feelings of inadequacy or even plain old procrastination can hinder us from beginning the work that we hope to complete. But knowing that our work acts as a stepping stone towards building our legacies can be motivating. There is a sense of wholeness that we, as writers, feel when we create. For many of us, writing helps us feel more alive. And it is amazing to think that writing’s current life-giving ability extends beyond the limited time that we have on earth.
If you were looking for a sign to go forward with that story or concept that has been ruminating in your mind, this is it. If you simply needed a boost to write again, this is also it. However this post speaks to you, I hope that it leads you to create. After all, you are not guaranteed much time.