Discover more from What Makes Great Writing?
How to Make Enemies for No Good Reason
And of course, this is inspired by the very public Twitter fight among writers that broke out last week.
I’ll spare you the details. You’ve probably seen it.
If not, you don’t need to.
The crux of the war was this: Popular Writer 1 accused Popular Writer 2 of copying his ideas verbatim. Popular Writer 3 pointed out that Popular Writer 1 committed similar sins, which were documented previously on Twitter because half of Twitter is gunpowder and the other half is gasoline, and if you introduce a spark, a wildfire of rage ignites within minutes.
For the record, I’m half-convinced the fight was staged. A WWF smackdown. A Tupac-Biggie rivalry, recreated for scandal and attention. A marketing hack.
In case it’s not, my reaction:
At the end, your legacy is what you leave in others.
Some will give you credit. Who cares? You’ll be dead.
Some will take the credit. Who cares? You’ll be dead.
Some will come to the same ideas and may or may not be influenced by you, and therefore may or may not even acknowledge the need to give credit (a phenomenon that our online communities seem to have forgotten is possible).
Who cares? You’ll be dead.
And while alive, you own nothing. Not money. Not ideas. Not in your house. Not in your coffin. The purpose of accumulation (wealth or knowledge) is to give it away, either now or later or by force when you’re dead.
If you feel that the ideas, insights, or stories you leave in others are worthy of transferring to another person, another culture, or another generation, why would the credit matter more than the idea?
For that matter, why would the volume of distribution matter more than the idea?
“I’m not sure if what I have to say is worth writing. Most of the world will never see it!”
Is it worth raising your children?
Is it worth comforting your spouse?
Is it worth caring for your Alzheimer’s-ridden grandmother?
Is it worth playing soccer with your nephews, while they want to and while you can?
Much of what we do will never pass further than our inner circle.
When I say “it’s hotter than a Piggly Wiggly parking lot on the 4th of July,” I don’t always credit my wife, even though she’s the one I heard it from first. And my wife doesn’t always credit her mother. And her mother doesn’t always credit her father. We just say it. The passing of time validates the utility of the analogy. Credit evaporates. Values remain.
Some of my dad’s values have passed on to me. They will pass to my wife and theoretical children and the small amount of people who bother to read work that is intentionally (to the best of my ability) reasonable, logical, empathetic, and fair.
I understand many of you will say: “But I want to make a dent in the universe! I want to be remembered!”
To which my response is:
Much love as always <3