Someone recently asked me what I wanted my legacy to be as a writer. This is an incredibly tough question to answer. I’ve been pretty stumped over the past couple of weeks about this question, but I think that I am finally ready to answer it. But before I do, I want to talk about a couple of other writers who have left writing legacies in their wake.
One of my favourite writer’s, Michael Crichton, definitely did. Mr Crichton is well known for writing ER, Jurassic Park, and State of Fear. But his legacy is not all the cheery noble roses for a diseased writer. Atmospheric Scientists around the world are up in arms over Michael Crichton’s book, State of Fear. The book is set against the backdrop of Global Warming, and even though the book is a complete work of fiction, for people who have read the book, (e.g. G.W. Bush) it dismisses a lot of the scientific theory and study behind Global Warming. This book is written so convincingly that people will believe what they read within the pages. The man even uses allegorical characters in his work, so that this book is more than appealing to the average reader. Everyone has an opinion on Global Warming these days, and through the use of allegorical characters, he represents each major body of opinion. And I think I have found Michael Crichton’s lasting legacy as a writer. His incredible ability to write well researched and believable novels, that the masses follow down to the written word – regardless of the fictional aspects. (Please note: I am not one of these people. I do recognise fiction for what it is, and I form my own opinions based on facts. I’m a scientist’s daughter; it’s how I was raised.)
Jane Austen, one of world’s most loved female authors has a lasting legacy that has followed her throughout the years. Most people would probably say that her lasting legacy is to have written six complete novels based on the romantic notions between society classes in the 18th century. Quite right, it is what she did. All of her books are written with an incredibly dry humoured approach to this notion. And the really amusing thing is that now – in the 21st century, some of us really believe that English life was actually like that back in the 18th century. Some of it, yes, but much of it – no. Our inner romantic often misses Miss Austen’s humorous approach to writing and her characters. This is because we are so focused on the romantic outcome. But I would say that Jane Austen’s lasting legacy as a writer is this: She wrote with humour, wit, and compassion – to give hope, joy, and laughter to women of similar situation to her own. Everyone took themselves so very seriously… I guess she wanted to provide a bit of light relief. (But in reality, she was actually taking the micky out of everyone she knew. Naughty Jane! J She really does make me laugh.)
After reading all these different legacies that writers have left behind them, I have finally come to the conclusion about what knowledge I want to impart with generations of beings to come. Do not take life so seriously. If you cannot laugh at yourself, or at our race, then it’s just not worth it. Perhaps by writing characters that have been to hell and back might actually encourage readers to lighten up on themselves. But I also want my readers to learn something from my books, whether it’s redirecting their moral compass or just that life is what you make of it. So, that’s what I want my legacy to be. Nothing bad, just truth. People’s misconceptions of my work are their own. And I’ll stand by that.
So what about you guys? Answer the hard question… what do you want your writing legacy to be?