There’s a certain desire for egoism that I believe almost every human obtains. We want to be remembered and some of us will go to extremes to ensure that we are. Some of us, however, indulge in small acts to be remembered by, without understanding why we are doing it.
When I was much younger, I slept on a loft bed and I had bought a pen from Lorimers that contained invisible ink – the type that only showed up when a UV light was shone on it. One night, it occurred to me that I would not always be residing in that very room, that very house, or, even, that very town. I was right – since then, I’ve lived in four different homes and three different towns. For me, the room I was lying in was my room, and it always would be, no matter who resided in it. I wanted to brand it as mine, though; I wanted to claim it as my possession because simply feeling as if it was mine didn’t satisfy my need. At the very top of the wall, in invisible ink, I wrote my full name and the date. Most nights from then on, I would write messages along the wall in the same invisible ink and I would imagine that, one day, someone new would discover the messages and they would know of me. That concept still, to this day, baffles me that someone I have never met and will never meet and might never even know of might know of me. Of course, it’s very unlikely that a person entered that room with a UV torch and discovered my messages, but my young mind hadn’t considered that possibility. At the time, it seemed like a way that I would always be remembered and a way that the room would always, in some way, belong to me.
The beauty of my writing on the wall, however, is that it is very likely that it will exist for as long as that house exists; people may paint the walls different colours, wallpaper the walls, hang a picture over where I wrote, but for as long as that wall exists, so will my words.
George Orwell wrote an essay called Why I Write which explored the four possibilities as to why every writer might want to write: sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse and political purpose. Having read the essay and considered the four elements, I feel as if I too write for a bit of each of them.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve read my old blog or you know me in person, you’ll probably be aware of how passionate I can be. This is definitely the part of me that writes for political purpose; the desire to push the world in a certain direction. Likewise, this could be considered as being the part of me that writes for historical impulse, too.
I’m also a huge lover of words and poetry, and so I definitely write for the aesthetic of words; the arrangement, sound and sight of each word.
That leaves sheer egoism; the desire to be talked about, remembered after death, to seem clever. Of course, like every person, there’s a part of me that does want to be remembered. I suppose that, subconsciously, that could contribute to why I write.
So many people write, act, live to be remembered but the truth is simple: you may be remembered, but you will never be remembered forever. You may touch the world remarkably or you may leave a mark in just one person’s life yet, either way, you will be forgotten. One day, the leaves will all have fallen and the seasons will not continue to grace our Earth because this planet, along with every living creature, will be swallowed by our Sun or destroyed in some other magnificent, or not-so-magnificent, way and all we have left will be seized by obliteration.
By all means, fight for what you believe in and try to make a difference; don’t stop trying to impact other people. But stop if you’re only doing it to be remembered. The life you are given is yours, treat it how you wish, I’m not here to preach about that, but don’t for a second believe that striving to be remembered will ever fulfill your happiness if you’re not prepared to be let down. If you are given the choice between catering for your needs of enjoyment or being present at an appointment you are dreading, ask yourself which you’re going to remember on your death bed. What do you want to remember in your dying moments?
This is an attempt at free writing. I have used a muse and written from it. It may not follow a logical structure or be written in great prose, but that is the beauty of just writing. If you found this post thought provoking in any way, please leave a comment down below or consider sharing or liking.