Legacy

haven’t been around on My Day At SFNovelists very regularly. My bad, I apologise. I have the 5th of the month, and I should really keep up with this. But every so often one gets ambushed by other stuff at a crucial moment, crises intervene, life happens. or (yes it happens occasionally) you just hit an empty-well moment and the hour of the blog approacheth and you sit and stare at an empty page and wish and hope and try like hell but nothing coherent comes to mind. So rather than ramble about something silly and inconsequential you just watch the moment slide past, and think to yourself, “next month, for sure”.

Well, here we are. It is July 5, and it is My Day – and in more ways than one. Today is my birthday. And it’s a milestone one – it’s half a century of life and living, which is worth a moment of reflection, maybe. It’s all compounded by the fact that I am watching my father dying from metastatic lung cancer at age 79, and looking back over THAT life, over those shared memories, and perhaps it is inevitable to also look ahead to my own inevitable time of departure still to come in the fullness fo time.

The questions that come cluster around that concept word right up there in the title – legacy. Questions like, who am I today? Who have I been so far in my life? Who will I be tomorrow… next month… next year… five years from now? Where did i come from? Where am I headed? What have I done that is worthy of memory? What have I been, what can I still become, what can I never be again…?

Starting from that last, this is the time of one’s life where one kind of crosses over the hump and begins the downhill journey on the other side – few people eve today live until 100, so you’re well past the mid point of your potential lifespan at this age and *fully half of it is behind you now*. Looking into a rear view mirror with 20-20 hindsight is always tempting, but increasingly futile by now. There are definitely things that you can never be at this age – you’ll never be a “prodigy”, you’ll never be “an overnight success” at anything, chances are that you’ve spent too many years already working at whatever you wanted to accomplish and even something that may LOOK like an overnight success won’t be. There are too many stairs you’ve climbed to get to the top, and you know it – you weren’t just dumped on top of a mountain by one of TOlkien’s magic eagles that come to the rescue whenever some protagonist gets backed up against a wall, you CLIMBED that damned mountain one step at a time, and boy, do your legs and your back and your wildly beating heart know it. Your body is older; so is your spirit. They feel these exertions.

Who am I? What am I?

I am a daughter – and may soon join the mutltifarious ranks of daughters-who-no-longer-have-a-living-father who are already out there in droves – but I’ve never yet been oneĀ  of them and it will be a new and painful scar to show and to share. I am a wife. I am a cat-mom. I am, and have always been, a writer.

My legacy, such as it is, will revolve around that last. When I go into that good night myself, in the end, it will not be with a child of my body left behind to grieve and to remember – I may have been a daughter but I have none of my own and nobody out there will sit the vigil at my side like I am doing with my parent. Nobody out there will mourn me as the closest of family, as a loss of blood kin. When it comes, it will come upon me alone in the dark. And if anyone will remember me, it will be through the words I have left behind.

I’ve had enough response to those, by now, that I know there there will be *some* who will remember me with pleasure or even with love. It’s all I can hope for. At this point in my life and career, barring something truly extraodrinary, I am what I am and I will be no more than that – I won’t suddenly turn into a phenomenon of an exploding worldwide fame and that’s okay. But on this birthday – a little elegiac, because of the circumstances in which it is unfolding, I will say that I am grateful for the opportunities which I *have* been given, for the readers who *have* read my stories, for the ability to give something of a certain indefinable value to those who have picked up my books and whom those books have moved to laugh, or to cry, or to think about something that they hadn’t quite thought about before. Like the Bee Gees once put it in a song, it’s only words – and words are all I have to take your heart away… and for those who gave me theirs, temporarily enough sometimes before they went off to find new favourite things to read, I say today, thank you. YOU are my legacy. The people who have read my words will remember the woman who wrote them. Somewhere. Somewhen. My name will be a ghost butterfly, landing gently every so often on the edge of someone’s mind or memory and something will be stirred – something that, if put into words, would coalesce into, “oh, yes, that – I loved that. I remember that.”

To readers: thank you for being out there.

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  1. 1. mishael

Author Information

Alma Alexander

Alma Alexander is a novelist, short story writer and anthologist whose books include High Fantasy ("Hidden Quen""Changer of Days"), historical fantasy ("Secrets of Jin Shei", "Embers of Heaven"), contemporary fantasy ("Midnight at Spanish gardens") and YA (the Worldweavers series, the Were Chronicles). She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two cats. Visit site.

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