The Missing Legacy

I’ve said this before, but I get jealous when I see someone who’s created something on an ongoing basis, and realize that even if I’ve wanted to do a thing for years, I haven’t been, so there’s no legacy.

I like the Accidental Tech Podcast, which I’ve seen described as “a tech show we accidentally created while trying to do a car show.” Doesn’t sound very serious, right? It’s a podcast that spun off of another podcast… but now it’s got 354 episodes, running for almost seven years.

What was I doing seven years ago? Thinking about creating things and sharing them with the world, sure… but not doing it, or not keeping up with it.

And I’ve spoken before about the blogs with decade-long archives, and I recently saw this great video about beeple, who’s posted a piece of digital art every day, without fail, for over a decade.

When you’re driven to make things, but you don’t make things, it eats away at you. The way I always wear through the right knee of my jeans after a few years—don’t ask me what’s so different between my right and left knees, but it’s always the right one—your spirit is eroding inside you when you let that creative energy stay pent up, or spend it on pursuits, outlets, that leave nothing in their wake but exhausted time and attention.

When asked about regret I’ll say I’m not into it, because it has such little utility: you can’t change the past, so imagining what it might be like if you had made any given decision (cross the street, take the job, flirt with the attractive person) differently is just an exercise of pure fantasy… and I’d rather channel that energy into writing novels1.

So, there, that’s a perfect example: spend your time fantasizing, or spend your time making things and sharing them with the world. Only one of those leaves a legacy behind, and maybe that’s what I long for above anything else: something I can look at, let alone show to everyone else, and say, “See? I existed. I dreamed, and I gave form to my dreams, and now you can dream them, too.”

  1. There’s something else here I’ve been meaning to write about, coming off of 127 hours of Skyrim over the last month or so: why it’s so much easier, and so dangerous, to play around in someone else’s “fantasy sandbox” instead of playing in my own.

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D.J. Jacobson

Becoming a novelist, and documenting the journey.