I think there’s always been a part of me that’s wanted to leave a lasting legacy on this earth. I think I’ve always been aware of my own mortality: what’s going to happen to me when I die? I know that’s answered theologically with the Catholic idea of the afterlife (heaven, purgatory, or—God-forbid—hell) but I’ve always wondered what will happen to me, my name, and the legacy I’ve left (if any) when I’m gone.
I used to want to affect the world positively by a political means and then be remembered for it. Despite the cynicism of my later years, I grew up genuinely believing that the world could be changed for the better on a wide and grand scale. Growing up and learning more about politics, and the realities of politics, kind of put a damper on that. It was even more discouraging for me to pursue politics when I realised that what the world wants, and what a politician needs to cater to in order to be elected, and what God wants (and by extension, what my ethics dictate) are two different things. It’s a reality that a staunchly Catholic politician who adheres to the pro-life stance, traditionalist view of marriage, and religious devotion (in general) will probably not prosper compared to his opposition when considering the current state of society.
What I grew to realise was that I could also affect the world through what I write. That’s a big part of why I’m going into journalism. The logic has always been to use what I’m good at as a career and journalism seems like the most practical. Recently I’ve been considering pursuing Catholic journalism, to write with a view that (for the most part) won’t be contrary to what the Church teaches (and what I’m supposed to espouse). That’s a pretty cut-and-dry solution to the question of affecting the world.
But I think the dreamer in me will always want to leave an artistic legacy instead of a plainly intellectual one. Since I was young I’ve been told that my writing was good (even if I don’t think so). Really working on my writing the last few years, both in terms of prose and poetry, has strengthened my creativity. I know for a lot of writers, our dream careers are to live within our means and churn out book after book after book after book. But that’s not exactly the most practical of dreams so we settle for pragmatism; I’m going to settle for journalism. That isn’t to say we can’t still write on the side; nobody’s going to stop the creativity. That is to say, rather, that the full devotion of our passion and talents goes to something we may not completely have our hearts in. (Though I hope I can write day-in and day-out and love the job.)
I know that my prose could use some work and my poetry could stand to be improved but one of the dreams I’m always going to have in the back of my head is to be remembered for my creative writing. I want that work to be of enough artistic merit that kids study it in school. I want it to be around and read years, decades, centuries after I’m gone. I think the summation of it is that i don’t want to be forgotten. It’s a lofty dream but one I want to be realised nonetheless. If I make it as a great Catholic journalist and writer, that’s great. If I live my life well according to Catholicism and pleasing to God, that’s even better. But I think I will always dream to be remembered as a creative writer, no matter what else God has planned for me.
(October 15 for September 21, 2012)