Mortality and our fleeting legacy

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I've been tidying up my dad's house and found a bunch of books in a box. Each is an anthology that contain at least one short story by my mother (who was a writer and book reviewer).

She'd marked each book's index to highlight her story. No doubt she was very proud when these were published, especially when she was younger. Yet, here are the books - unseen until now - forgotten, ignored, inconsequential. I'm in the process of cataloguing them now to add to her scanty Wikipedia profile.

I think of all the recordings (unreleased) that I've done and realise that it's only of use to me - while I remain interested. Even if I did have something released it would make little difference.

Funny thing. We think we have something to say but it's all very temporary and, ultimately, it doesn't matter.

I don't mean for this to be heavy, just that I had such a strong sense of this while going through the anthologies. As Yesdog's sig says "It's all about fun people!"

(I'm assuming that he's saying to people that it's all about fun ... not that it's all about "fun people" :)
 

con struct

Platinum Member
It's a good thing to experience the immensity of this life we find ourselves in. Without mortality none of it would be so profound, you know. Life would be a real drag if we all lived forever.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Funny, now I understand when bassist Tony Levin said; "It's nice when you can just play your music and it goes out into the air". I think he meant what he does is just to be enjoyed right then and there. I feel the same way now. I've made horrid recordings of myself (probably still do) and it was only important to me then, at that time. It's not even important to me now - if it was I wouldn't be so embarrassed about them now. But I was proud of it back then - just as I'd be proud of something I made right now. But who knows how I'd feel about it in five or even seven years?

I think, more importantly, when I realized I'm not into drumming and music to become a star, but just how it makes me feel, when I realized all that, everything became more fun. I stopped taking everything so seriously and just did what I do and if it didn't work out, I was happy that I did it anyway. It's become much more important that I 'took that step outside the box' rather than failing at the attempt because I've realized not everyone can 'step outside the box' as easily as I can.

Kudos to you for cataloging your mother's work. My parents don't have anything to catalog, other than being the parents of three kids and making sure there was always a home to come to.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
It's a good thing to experience the immensity of this life we find ourselves in. Without mortality none of it would be so profound, you know. Life would be a real drag if we all lived forever.
Coincidentally, I'm currently reading Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles, where the vamps are all wrestling with the complexity of living forever (as long as they avoid the sun and fire) in different ways, trying to find a way for it to be meaningful and to reconcile themselves with the nightly murder they commit to stay alive ... which, for them, is equivalent to feeling the morality of a vegetarianism but needing to eat meat to stay alive.


Funny, now I understand when bassist Tony Levin said; "It's nice when you can just play your music and it goes out into the air". I think he meant what he does is just to be enjoyed right then and there. I feel the same way now.

... I stopped taking everything so seriously and just did what I do and if it didn't work out, I was happy that I did it anyway. It's become much more important that I 'took that step outside the box' rather than failing at the attempt because I've realized not everyone can 'step outside the box' as easily as I can.
Yes, music is ultimately about the moment. I've always been a recording freak, which is maybe like someone who spends all their holidays taking photos. It calls to mind this cartoon:



The cataloguing is a bigger job than I thought. I knew there was a collection of her stories published in 1967 but I did realise her work was so heavily anthologised - up to 33 so far, no counting periodicals and there are too many newspaper clippings to deal with. She wanted to write novels but she never had the knack (as she'd say "I'm a sprinter not a distance runner") so there's all these tidbits ... that have effectively gone into the ether ... just a bit slower than music.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I think most people above the subsistence level (and maybe some who aren't) want to think their lives have meaning. Some find it in religion, some in art. Some never find it, though they want to believe.

I think what it comes down to, is this; each of us means the world to a few people, more or less, but to the world, we mean nothing. That's probably fine.

Good on you, Polly, for cataloging your mom's work.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I think most people above the subsistence level (and maybe some who aren't) want to think their lives have meaning. Some find it in religion, some in art. Some never find it, though they want to believe.

I think what it comes down to, is this; each of us means the world to a few people, more or less, but to the world, we mean nothing. That's probably fine.

Good on you, Polly, for cataloging your mom's work.
What keeps you going is that those few people also mean the world to you, eh?
 

aydee

Platinum Member
...

and I thought I was the one with all the wierd zen threads.. ; )

I do get a sense of what you are feeling because I've experienced some of what you are going through.

Its easier to be philosophical as we get older but ultimately it is about 'playing your music' ( read metaphor for life ) .. So what is our legacy, then?

I wear an old Tshirt very proudly which has a man and his dog walking into the horizon and it says Dont Leave a Trace . Its an axiom that I'm getting more and more comfortable with. Ashes to ashes dust to dust.

I have come to believe that the living moment, the here and the now, is the only truth that I can old on to, and everything else is just notes in the air. People who believe otherwise are chasing life's many shaggy dogs, including the desperate need to be relevant, meaningful, impactful, rich whatever...
Perhaps I say this is with the advatage of some hindsight, having some 50 odd years under my belt and after one has fought many of lifes battles, some won, some lost and some drawn.

As Bo said, creating a home that feels warm and inviting always, is Nobel Prize- worthy in my silly opinion too. I know you are an admirer of Geoge Carlin and his take on who we are as a species and our role on this planet is highly self indulgent and arrogant.

Accomplishment is what it is in the end. The need to evaluate ourselves. But by what rule do we measure? Paul McCartney, Steve Jobbs or Bo's parents. They all created something that someone else drew inspiration and strength from. Who judges?

As for your music, I think it lives in you, the person and not on your disk drive, or your recordings. Its the people you touch through any medium.

As a kid, my world was transformed forever, not only beause I heard the Beatles, Zepplin, or any of the big 'game changers'. It changed because I heard Paul Nye play a major 7th arpeggio in a cheap dive I'd snuck into in NYC.

I dont know what became of Paul Nye or what his legacy was, but I know for sure that I am a part of it.
And he doesnt know that.

...
 
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bobdadruma

Platinum Member
People talk about leaving your mark on the world but I like the "Good Camper" slogan that says that you should use the campground and enjoy it but leave everything as you found it for the next guy.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
In our lives, we are constantly influenced by what has happened or been said in the past, as well as being influnced by what is happening and being said alonside our day to day lives.

As an exemple, what my parents have taught me, gave me (as an education as well as their view on life) will remains with me until I die, the same apply to some school teachers, my best friends, the best musicians I've played with, they all influenced my life one way or another. These "absorbed" influences within ourselves are then "transmitted" to the next generation, whatever it's done conciously or un-counciously.

Now this applied to my parents and as it is to my daughter, they have and are being influenced by the past and the present moments of their lives.

I tend to think that the legacy of people who have passed away are living within us today, and I believe that my legacy, once I'm gone, will live in my daughter and her children (she hasn't got any yet) and through the people I've touched one way or another with sufficient impact to change their view on a given subject for the rest of their life.

(The cataloguing is a bigger job than I thought...) Good on you to do this for you mom and good luck with it.... :))
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
What keeps you going is that those few people also mean the world to you, eh?
It sure helps keep me going sometimes, Bo!

I'm not much for having a detailed, well thought-out philosophy of life, (I'm open, pay attention, and assimilate what I learn, but I have NOTHING figured out yet!) but it seems to me that the life force has to come from within - some people, with all the love and support in the world just don't make it, while others, under the most awful circumstances, survive and even thrive.

Speaking only for myself, I know there are times when knowing someone else needs and loves me helps me face things in life I probably wouldn't otherwise choose to face. But I also don't have the "live to serve" personality either - like Polly, I do things that please me and let me express myself. I just don't entertain any illusions that they are going to have any long-lasting legacy. Those things are for me and the people around me who enjoy them, and they are for now.

And now it's time for me to wade back out - I feel the waters lapping at my chin, and I'm not very tall! lol
 

Toolate

Platinum Member
“We are but a moment’s sunlight fading in the grass”
- Chet Powers – “Get Together” (The Youngbloods)

I used to really believe this was the sum of our timeon earth until my father passed away. His funeral was standing room only (600+ people) and it became clear to me that each of us has an effect on others that is not temporary so, in some way, we all contribute to the dirction of mankind. Sort of heavy and sappy but it is really true. Life is short and just a speck of dust in terms of the history of the earth but we all matter to someone.

Music/drumming have inspred me every day to make the most of my time here and since his passing I have really been making a point of making the most of my time and every hour for that matter.

Dont let grass grow under your feet. If you want to do something, go do it. You have forever to be dead and just a short while to live.

(please interpret this in a positive mannerr- it really is a simple set of rules to live by)
 

PQleyR

Platinum Member
Imagine trying to live without changing anything. You'd never be able to walk on a lawn.

I don't think anything stays the same, really. So we are all part of that change, whether we think we are or not.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
At least we do something that can be recorded and preserved for the enjoyment of future generations, something no insurance salesman could say. I think it's important to record. I made a thread about this about a year ago, basically stating that uploading recordings here on the internet, is a way to start a legacy. My great great grandchildren will be able to listen to me, my voice, my work, and have something tangible that they can go to, and access at anytime if they are interested. My descendants...the only thing that may survive is pictures, which are a great thing too. But recording yourself in the present year...is like a time capsule. The things we take for granted now (Oh man, I was dragging on that tune) will be fondly looked back upon for their historical context.

Playing makes me temporarily happy, but having recordings of my playing gives me real long lasting pleasure. I am so grateful for all the recordings I have, it's a musical timeline of my life. Preserving a whole night of music, the memories, the atmosphere, the people...everything....is something I am very keen on doing. I want to preserve my efforts. I am grateful that what we do is easily preserved. Many professions cannot say that. Sure I am an electrician, and I can say, hey I rewired that house. But no one see's my wiring. Whereas my recordings...my mark is all over that recording.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
At least we do something that can be recorded and preserved for the enjoyment of future generations, something no insurance salesman could say.

...The things we take for granted now (Oh man, I was dragging on that tune) will be fondly looked back upon for their historical context.
Not so sure about that, Larry. It seems to me that after we die almost all of it disappears into the ether, unless you're John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Buddy Rich etc. For most of us, our recordings' lifespan is pretty well the same as our own.

Your grandkids will only care up to the point of "Oh, Grandpa Larry was a drummer. Cool" (or they'll ask "What's a drummer?"). Then there's a good chance that they'll hear two bars of your music, get bored, and move on.

I've tried reading mum's stories and, while I can tell they are very well written, it's not a style I enjoy.


Playing makes me temporarily happy
I think this is 99% of the point of playing.


, but having recordings of my playing gives me real long lasting pleasure. I am so grateful for all the recordings I have, it's a musical timeline of my life. Preserving a whole night of music, the memories, the atmosphere, the people...everything....is something I am very keen on doing. I want to preserve my efforts. I am grateful that what we do is easily preserved.
Yes, long lasting pleasure that lasts the distance of our life span ...
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I think what it comes down to, is this; each of us means the world to a few people, more or less, but to the world, we mean nothing. That's probably fine.
Well said.

I actually wonder if things haven't changed with the advent of the interwebs. I mean, I have stuff on YouTube that will probably still exist in some shape or form that subsequent generations can access. If my grandkids want to see their grandpa play the drums, they'll be able to, assuming technology or legislation doesn't subtract what's currently available.

This isn't like 30 years ago where it was a big deal to have a recording of yourself and it involved something you couldn't distribute without having a record deal. Anybody can upload media to the internet and it becomes essentially public property.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I actually wonder if things haven't changed with the advent of the interwebs. I mean, I have stuff on YouTube that will probably still exist in some shape or form that subsequent generations can access.
I think that was the case a decade ago but now there's so much material out there that each unknown item fades into increasing anonymity. If I wasn't on this site the number of hits for each of my YouTube vids would be under 10.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
I think that was the case a decade ago but now there's so much material out there that each unknown item fades into increasing anonymity. If I wasn't on this site the number of hits for each of my YouTube vids would be under 10.
I watched one of your video the other day, and girl, I was scared, not by the music, the video started with the face of a girl upside down with horrible make up and green hair, scary nightmare stuff.. ;-))
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I think that was the case a decade ago but now there's so much material out there that each unknown item fades into increasing anonymity. If I wasn't on this site the number of hits for each of my YouTube vids would be under 10.
I guess I'm not so much talking about my music becoming important or recognized outside my immediately circle, but rather that something isn't necessarily going to be relegated to sitting in a box that might never be opened again after I die. That was the thing I zeroed in on from your OP.

People search their family trees to trace their roots all the time using genealogy sites. I just mean that anyone interested in my family lineage could find more about me online in a few minutes than our parents' generation could with months of painstaking research. Including, "Didn't he play the drums? Let's look. Oh, yeah. There he is. That was his band. Wow, his left hand is amazing!"

Okay, I may have taken liberties with some of that dialogue :)
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Not so sure about that, Larry. It seems to me that after we die almost all of it disappears into the ether, unless you're John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Buddy Rich etc. For most of us, our recordings' lifespan is pretty well the same as our own.

Don't understand this or agree with it. Recordings won't delete themselves from the net when I die

Your grandkids will only care up to the point of "Oh, Grandpa Larry was a drummer. Cool" (or they'll ask "What's a drummer?"). Then there's a good chance that they'll hear two bars of your music, get bored, and move on.

So you're saying my music is boring? lol JK. Were you bored cataloging your Mom's writings? Even if they do get bored, at least they can actually see what I was like, how I moved, my expressions, and a hundred other nuances

I've tried reading mum's stories and, while I can tell they are very well written, it's not a style I enjoy.




I think this is 99% of the point of playing.

Disagree here too, I play for the music and the others. Being happy is a side effect


Yes, long lasting pleasure that lasts the distance of our life span ...
Again, recordings on the internet, assuming they stay there, will outlast me. Don't understand your logic here
 
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