NOTHING LASTS FOREVER – so the saying goes. Although generally true, some things last longer than others; sun burn versus nuclear fallout for example… Well, what about writing? Potentially it can last centuries and millennia. Although I find it hard to imagine a future civilisation finding a 2000 year old copy of The Shining perfectly intact, unless we opt to mummify Stephen King upon his death, burying him in a custom-built tomb in Maine, the inner chambers guarded by multiple copies of his best sellers.
Writing has a shelf life, literal and other. Something that scares me is the impermanence of writing. Every blogger knows, as soon as a poem, a story or just a post is put up, within a day, the chances of it being read decrease drastically. That’s scary. And on a grander scale it’s that same terror that strikes when thinking about releasing a book. Once it is done and out there, in a sense it becomes irrelevant until the next book. Like the big build up to a match, once it is finished, that’s it. Legend and glory have to be written once again. And again, and again. The conveyor belt doesn’t stop for anyone. So releasing a piece of writing is empty in a multitude of ways as soon as it is passed over to the public.
As a writer you get one shot with a book or story. People do not come back to it (very rarely). Writing is the most disposable of media in some respects. Music and film are easy to review, to re-listen to and re-watch requiring a different level of attention. Only the oddities re-read a book. And that’s why, somewhere deep inside, I have learned to let go of the emotional attachment. Maybe three years ago I did when before instant gratification was my downfall, but with age comes wisdom or at least some lessons learnt and although the impermananza saddens me, I’m ok with it. On to the next story. And so on. Until dust, until pixels degrade.