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March 23, 2013

Not so long ago immortality was difficult if not impossible to achieve; the luxury of the famous, the conqueror, the film star, the hero and the best selling author.

Alexander The Great named cities after himself, and his tactics are still used in modern military academies. The pharaoh Ramesses II erected temples and pyramids, shamelessly scrubbing out his predecessor’s names. And of course there is Shakespeare, Dickens, Tolkoen, and The presidents whose faces glour down from mount Rushmore.

Let us not forget the sporting greats whose images survive on film and in print. The boxers, the golfers, the rugby players. Even the people who just run around a bit – the footballers and athletes of note are immortalised.

Mr Disney froze himself, Michael Jackson frightened himself to death and Marilyn Monroe just over did it. Elvis over-elvissed himself to oblivion, and numerous kings died in various entertaining and ghastly ways.

And we come to the famous composers whose music still swells from concert halls and speakers the world over. Their souls preserved on sheet music and in recordings. And the classic singers, Nat King Cole, Jonny Mathis, Jim Reeves, Louis Armstrong to name but a few.

But immortality is now freely available. I noticed this just today when I was on the internet. It seems that like you, I can be another Ramesses or Alexander, Homer or Plato. Not on the same scale of course, but in the same ball park.

This afternoon I was on Yahoo groups, looking at the pending business regarding new members. I lazily clicked on a link labelled “messages.” Now, I get my group messages through e-mail so I clean forgot that all the messages are stored online. So, with a half-hearted click of the mouse, (actually a press of the enter key) I went back in time and was able to read messages from five years ago. This gave me a fascinating, if somewhat melancholy snapshot into what was happening in our lives back then. It reminded me of the challenges, the situations, the emotional landscape in which we walked, and most importantly it showed me just how much the group had changed, the people altered by time and experience. This trot down memory lane was doubly interesting as many of the people talked about guide dogs that are now either retired or no longer with us.

I moderate a list, I have a website, a Twitter account, two Facebook pages, a blog, a page on Author’s den where I place some fiction. I have a book published, various plays for stage, radio and screen in various states of completion. I will add to my output, hopefully get more fiction and non-fiction published. All this points to immortality. To some degree my name will prowl the internet long after I am gone. I am not erecting a pyramid, putting up a temple, naming a city, I am carving my name from the bedrock of words. Words that will not weather, crumble or erode.

I am not unique, a great many people have a presence online or on paper, albeit through social media sites. This means that Jo public has a chance, that he or she can have their own tomb in their version of the Valley Of The Kings, the Silicon Valley of heroes, the virtual vault, the hallowed chambers that echo with the sound of a zillion key strokes, the words gathering their energy, shooting through the ether and settling in their sarcophagi of cached sentences.

So, do me a favour, next time you go to a second-hand bookshop and notice a dog-eared book by an author you have never heard of, hold the book, flick through it. Glance at all the pages, marvel at all the words; for every word is a moment in a life, an expression of spirit. Every letter is a tiny window into somebody’s heart, somebody’s life. To you it may just look like an old book, but to the writer it was special, a place in time, a crack at immortality, a sigh of infinity, a smile from the grave.

As mentioned above:

Twitter @Meddryn
Facebook: BJ Edwards Books
My site:
My fiction:
My non-fiction:

From → Culture, Humanity, Society

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