By Bill Storie
One of my very favorite writers is the Irishman Oscar Wilde. He lived between 1854 and 1900.
He wrote some of the most profound and moving words mankind has ever seen assembled. He also wrote hundreds of very poignant quotes – many of them with more than a dash of humor. And of course his plays – “The Importance of Being Earnest” ; “The Picture of Dorian Gray” ; and many more.
I was reading a letter of his a few days ago and it struck me that when he wrote it – well over 100 years ago – I wonder if he ever thought that someday, in the far distant future, a Scotsman, living in Bermuda, now retired and a writer of sorts himself, would be reading it.
I wonder if he wrote with the intention, perhaps hope, that for evermore, someone might lift up his work and read it. I believe he wanted to be recognized in society and life in general, and I believe he was a bit of a showman, an exhibitionist if you will. So, I’m quite sure that when he put pen to paper he did so with the belief that it would be read by many people. That was his plan and after all, in many instances, that’s what he got paid for.
But, did he ever imagine that his words would be read by people not yet born. Generations not yet born. Centuries on. Countries around the world. Translated into various languages. Movies made.
I don’t think so.
But it is a chilling thought that words we write today might be read for years to come by new people in new places. Is it possible that articles we write in the Olderhood Blog (like this masterpiece !!) may be read next century?
Don’t get worked up ……… I don’t think that my writings will be read next century far less next week. I’m certainly not getting carried away with myself. Chill.
However, it remains a fact that this article will be archived somewhere in the Internet Space on some server machine and retained for a long time. And if Google continues with its incessant search engine upgrades, where one day, we won’t even have to type it in, we’ll just think about something and Google will churn up 22 million responses. Then maybe one day, a long, long time from now, a person sitting in a coffee shop in Manila will think, “I fancy reading some nice stories today”, and this article, by Bill Storie, will be delivered to him.
Hey, if Oscar can dream, so can I.
I believe that the written word is still the main platform of communication (and always will be). The spoken word can only get to a limited number of people at one time, unless you are James Bond of course. But the written word is king.
Last week we ran an article from our Olderhood columnist Bob Lowry – who just happens to be America’s pre-eminent retirement blogger. He wrote a great article – it was seen by over 17,000 people through our Facebook Page. That’s a big number.
I reckon that Bob’s article has a wee bit better chance of being read next century than mine.
So, has it ever occurred to you that whatever you write today, whether mainline published or not, that those words will live forever?
Have you ever found old papers in the house?
Say, you found a love letter written by your great grandfather to your great grandmother, would you read it? Of course you would. But spare a thought for your great grandad – when he wrote it he was adamant that it was for her eyes ONLY and absolutely no-one else. Yet she kept it (you can still smell the perfume can’t you?). And here over 100 years later, his great granddaughter is reading those same words. Would he be upset do you think? Gives you the chills a wee bit doesn’t it?
Oh well, that’s me for this week.
I think I’ll stop now and go write a play for posterity.
I shall call it, “Storie goes Wilde”
By Bill Storie