Recently, I had a conversation with someone who questioned my desire to write about our shared ancestors. How could I really know what a person went through and why? I think the real worry was that I would write something about a relative that would “ruin” their legacy.
All of this got me thinking about my own legacy. How would I feel if a hundred years from now one of my descendants were to write about me? My first thought was, “Well, I will be dead so I don’t see how I would care.” But then I thought, “Will my children care what someone says about me?” The answer is, probably, and I’m sure this was the feeling behind the expressed concern. But I can only believe that anyone that would take the time and energy to write about me would have a familial regard for my memory. And this is really the point of what bothered me about that conversation. This family member really doesn’t know me and therefore doesn’t know that the reason I write about my family is because I love them, even the ones I have never met, and I believe their story should be told. I might tell stories about the hard times and this may make relatives squeamish but I believe that the trials people go through and the way they make their way through it tells alot about a person’s character. My viewpoint as a writer is one of love and respect for my “characters.”
I love the legacy my ancestor’s have left me and I wouldn’t do anything to ruin or even blemish it. My only goal is to tell their story so that future generations can know about their strong American family. I hope that someday someone thinks my story, my legacy, is worth their time and energy to write down for future generations.