I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work…I want to achieve immortality through not dying —Woody Allen
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. —Eleanor Roosevelt
Walking with a much younger friend the other day, I shared the news that I am developing a web presence. My sister Nanci, a web designer visiting from British Columbia, was organizing my HLP columns and composing a website. “I never thought of you as narcissistic” was my friend’s response. It gave me pause.
Granted, I subject old friends and former neighbors to my struggles and missteps on a monthly basis, but my portrayals rarely cast me in a positive light. Of the seven deadly sins I mostly exhibit sloth, impulsivity, and a tenuous relationship between cause and effect. I do not crave attention, but rather serve as a cautionary tale. I hope for, if not universality, at least a faint recognition. My goal is to write about the important issues of the day, like garage sales, the conspiracy of objects, and what happens if you have nine dogs over for Christmas dinner. Heady stuff.
Do my columns merely serve as a buffer between real estate ads in a community newspaper, or are they, as one reader suggested, a desperate cry for help? The real question is Are they worth preserving? I am not talking Smithsonian, but JoAnne is tired of the boxes of newspapers that I seem incapable of discarding or organizing. (An aside: the word fire hazard is tossed around entirely too blithely in contemporary culture.)
I have written more than three hundred columns since 1980 and a compromise seems to be storing them in “The Cloud,” not in the basement, which we don’t have. Nanci to the rescue. She has searched for themes, added photos, and put together through wizardry and hard work a web site. Might a book publisher or Hollywood literary type decide that my collected columns would make a best seller and a vehicle for Ben Stiller? I am more likely to attract a bored actuary from Dayton.
As to the original charge of self absorption, I fear my motives are even more grandiose. I do not paint, sculpt, or create in any meaningful way. My website may be more like a futile grasp for immortality. I get no money for clicks or visitors, but humor me and check it out at sanduponthewaters.net.
Tom H. Cook is grateful to The Hill and Lake Press for untold patience and friendship.