Google just opened up it’s e-bookstore today. And while the required app doesn’t seem to be available in the US yet (even though it says it is), I already know what book will be my first download: Eight Days Out by my great-grandfather Merrick Abner Richardson. It’s an absolutely scintillating read (not), one of three “novels” that, so the story goes, he paid a vanity press to publish a few hundred copies way back at the turn of the 20th Century. Imagine what he coulda done with Lulu.
The cool part about this is not that his great-great grandkids (and beyond) will in some way be changed by his words. They won’t. The cool part is simply that another very small part of their personal history has been captured. It’s a thin slice of who they are, a piece of their DNA that will be preserved. And in some way, even though this isn’t a monumental work of fiction or a classic by any stretch, that makes me feel good.
It’s not lost on me that when I blog (or, in recent terms, don’t blog) or save a picture or put up a Tweet that I’m adding in some way to my own legacy, one that I can write and share in more amazing ways simply because I have the privilege of living at this moment. I don’t know if my kids or grandkids will ever take the time and effort to read or look at some of this stuff. I’m not much expecting them to. But they could. Whatever the technology they’re playing with in their adulthood, I’m guessing most of this will be pretty much a mouse click away. I’ve written about this before, but I know at some point I want to spend more time creating content specifically for them. Historical narratives, advice videos, favorite jokes. I share all that stuff with them now, in real life, but as someone who has been without a mother for almost 30 years now, I know how amazing it would be to see her and listen to her and keep learning from her, even though she may not be around. Not every day, but once in a while
When silly stuff like finding my great-grandfather’s fairly insipid prose preserved in a Google e-book happens, I’m reminded how amazing this moment is. In a world of serious struggle and argument and change, it’s nice to be reminded.
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