I read a great deal. And widely.
There's something magical about reading old anthologies of short stories. Stories from a different world, a different time. Often written in a different style to modern writing, with language, situations and events that simply wouldn't fly today. They seem quirky, out of place, as though from an alternate history. But I love them for this reason. And there's a joy in discovering a particularly brilliant short story by an author I've never heard of before. I look them up, and sometimes there is no further information to be found.
And then I get to wondering. Did they write anything else, or were they prolific but only had one story published? Maybe they had other stories published in magazines not readily available? And what did they do outside their writing life? Maybe they only live on through that one written piece.
Last week, this was on my mind when I was walking through a cemetery. This is local, and I often take a short cut through it. I see the names on the gravestones, some going back centuries and none of which I recognise, and continue on. But this time I wondered about them. Who were they? How did they live their lives? Were they happy?
The next day I saw a quote which seemed apt. "One day, someone will mention your name for the final time and then you'll be forgotten."
I've tried to find the source for this, but it appears to be a variation on a quote attributed to Banksy, "They say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing, and a second time when somebody says your name for the last time." And take that a step further, and it appears to be an articulation of an ancient Egyptian saying. And who said it originally? Ironically, we have no idea.
Will I be remembered? For a while, I guess. Not as long as others who have fame. Maybe in a hundred years or more someone will stumble across one of my publications, enjoy it, and jump on the then version of the internet to try and find out about me. With so much data out there now, it's possible they will know more about me than I do. They may even read this.
Hello, future reader!
But ultimately, does it matter if we're remembered? Does it change anything? We won't know.
All we can do is our best, and to try to leave the world a slightly better place.