The Anti-Legacy List

By Julie, still waiting for this New England winter to kick in

Last week I posted this in the Wicked Authors Facebook group:

I have added a “please don’t let this ever happen to me” to my life list. Please don’t ever let Keith Morrison read aloud a journal entry or love letter I wrote. Of course, for that to happen there would need to be a Dateline episode about me or my life, so it would be a pile on of misery. In other news, I got Peacock so that I could watch Poker Face (loved it from episode 2 on), and now I’m addicted to Dateline. I do like Keith Morrison episodes, but when he reads a diary entry it feels so personal.

Since then, I’ve been thinking about what I’d like my legacy not to be. Now there’s plenty of time for living, and lots will happen, but still. Here are four more “please don’t let this be someone’s memory of me”:

“She was a terrible cook.” To date that could not be said, but I’ve gotten out of practice. And I’ve made a couple of “I know how to make this” recipes lately that have been utter failures.

“She never laughs.” I have a good sense of humor, and am pretty funny. But the same could be said of so many others who, as they age, lose the laughter. (Thinking of beloved relatives here.) I pray that never happens.

“She was the main character of a tabloid story.” The Boston Globe, my local paper, recently ran an article about a couple who’s been married for many years, have a ton of money, lots of real estate, and are going through an awful divorce. Details in the article were cringe-worthy. I watched Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street, and recognized a few of the names mentioned. I can’t help but think how terrible being the main character of a scandal would be. Of course the crime writer in me thinks about that in a different way.

“She ran out of food at a dinner/party/event.” Does anyone else have that fear? My friend David and I used to buy extra bags of chips and hide them just in case we needed to add something to the bowl towards the end of the night. Better people leave with leftovers than leave hungry.

I’m sure the list will grow. Thinking about it certainly clarifies how I want to live over the next few years.

May Keith Morrison never narrate any of our life stories.

Friends, do you have a “please don’t let this be my legacy” list?

17 Thoughts

  1. I’m right with you with the running out of food at a party/dinner item, Julie! And I’m happy to report I had lots of people laughing over and over when I performed my dark short crime fiction “Bye-by, Jojo” at a Noir in the Bar event last night (who knew a story about murder could end up funny with the right delivery?).

    I could add to an anti-legacy list, “She refused to help when a friend asked,” and “She stopped trying in her later books.” Nobody wants to be THAT author.

  2. Great thought provoker, Julie. I’m with Edith on “She refused to help with a friend asked.” Of course, there are times when it just isn’t possible, but I would never refuse to help just because it was difficult or inconvenient. Along with that would be, “She didn’t care about anyone but herself.”

  3. Although I love to cook/bake and nothing makes me happier than to share the bounty of my kitchen, I do hope that that’s not the only thing of me that I’m remembered for. I’d hope my legacy was not about me being standoffish, uncaring, or selfish or that the world was better off with me not in it.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. I agree about truly what’s important being the legacy, and adhere to that as well. That said, there are still stories told of parties that ran out of food forty years later, and we all laugh. I was hoping this post would be a laugh as well.

  4. “She didn’t know how to have fun” or “She never bought the nice shoes.” The last is a more general comment about money. Don’t be wasteful, but “life’s too short. Buy the shoes.”

  5. I’m nodding my head at all suggestions and would like to add, “She only showed up.” I’d hate to be the one who didn’t participate and pitch in!

  6. I love this notion, though I admit I haven’t thought about it before. I think the one thing I wouldn’t want my legacy to be is, “She was dull.”

  7. I don’t ever want anyone to ever say that I was not a forgiving person. I want to be remembered as someone who was always kind to everyone, including the ones who were not good to me.

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