Leaving a Legacy.

March 2, 2020

Leaving a Legacy.

May 29, 2023

Many of you resonated with my post yesterday about legacy, entitled “I Am What Survives Me.” I thought I would follow up with Susan Orlean’s masterful “The Library Book,” which offers this exquisite rumination on the subject of legacy. Enjoy.

“The idea of being forgotten is terrifying. I fear not just that I, personally, will be forgotten but that we are all doomed to being forgotten; that the sum of life is ultimately nothing; that we experience joy and disappointment and aches and delights and loss, make our little mark on the world, and then we vanish, and the mark is erased, and it is as if we never existed. If you gaze into that bleakness even for a moment, the sum of life becomes null and void, because if nothing lasts nothing matters. Everything we experience unfolds without a pattern, and life is just a baffling occurrence, a scattering of notes with no melody.

But if something you learn or observe or imagine can be set down and saved, and if you can see your life reflected in previous lives, and can imagine it reflected in subsequent ones, you can begin to discover order and harmony. You know that you are a part of a larger story that has shape and purpose—a tangible, familiar past and a constantly refreshed future. We are all whispering in a tin can on a string, but we are heard, so we whisper the message into the next tin can and the next string. Writing a book is an act of sheer defiance. It is a declaration that you believe in the persistence of memory.”

There are also some great films about leaving a legacy. Check out Schindler’s List, My Life Without Me, It’s a Wonderful Life and Coco.

Do you have any favorite films or books on the subject?

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