George Harrison’s son Dhani inducted Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year and gave a speech that made me think.
If you are not a music fan there is a good chance you might recognize some of ELO’s music but have no idea what band performs those songs.
There is also a good chance you wouldn’t know Dhani’s father was part of The Beatles which in some ways would be like meeting William or Harry and not knowing many people know them as Prince William/Harry.
Anyhoo as I was watching the show and thinking about what ELO songs I like best it made me wonder about the legacy we leave and that every day there are people who read my words and never come back.
What impression are they left with? What thoughts do they have?
We like to think we have control and that we can dictate “the last words you’ll ever see from me” but we can’t.
Does It Matter?
Should we care what people think about our words and ability to manipulate and master them?
If you are a novelist or any sort of professional writer the answer probably should be yes or so I have heard people argue.
But I am not convinced that is smart, wise or useful.
If you spend too much time thinking about what others think or feel about your words you put yourself in a position where you might be more cautious about writing.
You set yourself up to question and challenge your word flow in ways that might not benefit you because you end up spending too much time trying to come up with perfection and not enough with performance.
If you are a fan of raw material like I am too much thought is the kiss of death.
The magic lies in just writing and letting the words flow freely.
Don’t mistake this to say you shouldn’t work hard to produce a high quality product because that is not it either.
You want something meaningful, worthwhile and significant.
Writing should scare you. It should make you feel naked and exposed, maybe not every time but some time.
Do that and you’ll readers rooting for you, or if not rooting, reading and that is worth something.
I have probably written about 50,000 words or so during the past week or so and based upon comments and reactions I know I have been misunderstood.
Can’t say I am pleased or that I am surprised by it because it is part of the package.
When you don’t engage in a verbal dialogue in which people can see your face and hear your voice you are bound to find misunderstanding.
It happens even when you are face to face with people so there is really no reason to expect it not to happen here.
But sometimes I am surprised by how far off the mark people are. Sometimes I look at a comment or email and wonder if they speak English as a second language or were drunk.
Eventually I circle back to my writing and read it again to see if maybe I missed something. When you are really close to your work and or are writing about things you know well sometimes you miss things.
Sometimes you lack perspective.
But not always.
Sometimes all it would take is a conversation and clarity would be claimed.
Would be nice if life were really that easy, wouldn’t it. 🙂