Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Hmm. What will people remember about me after I'm gone?

Picasso, all those pictures he created -- Rodin. his  sculpture -- is "The Kiss" his legacy?

Shakespeare -- comedies, tragedies, all those plays about Kings.   Beethoven symphonies, concertos, umpteen works of music?

I danced.

Sometimes, in an entranced state of energy, where I was not aware of ME,  but within each moment, the feeling of the movement in relation to the music was out -- out and beyond the stage, in the air, in the theater, in the audience.

How do I know that?    I just know it.

I tried to do a lot of other things with my husband -- off and on Broadway plays, a school, and some  community projects that happened, but went nowhere, except that got me into writing more and more.

Sometimes, when I was writing WOMAN OF THE CENTURY, that thereness, that intense being on the moment at the moment was there.   I wasn't writing about an idea, the idea was writing itself.    How do I know that?  Because I remember those places in my book, where I was in the world I had been creating, and I knew.  I wasn't Emily the writer, I was there at the moment, in the place, in the space, in the mind, and heart of someone who'd gone back in time and was there in the scene.

Occasionally, in relationships with dancers I've worked with, I have had that sense of utter communication  -- that I was saying something to the soul of the person with whom I was sharing a moment in his life and my life.

I've even  had that powerful sense of touching, reaching, being deeply, intensely close to someone, a tech person  I've been working with,  on the phone.

What is this on the moment stuff -- this utter communication -- an idea writing itself, a movement I was doing burning itself into the minds of people who were watching me so they feel as if they're dancing?

These feelings, these remembered moments -- why are they so important?  Because, after I am no longer a living person on the earth, I think I will become part of another person who is still alive, and here in the now, and my moment that's part of them will affect what they see, hear, touch, feel, sense, think.

The legacy of Einstein is strong. The magic sound that Horowitz  created,  the doings of Ghandi, Martin Luther King... FDR,  JFK, RFK -- that's the legacy of famous people who have said or done  something that affected you in your life.

So,  what is my legacy?   I'm thinking  it's what I communicated to some people about themselves.  that I saw them; really saw who they were and gave them that -- "She saw me -- she knew me, she knows me!" --  a very strong sense that they were perceived.

I am not thrilled about that.   But I think that's what will be remembered after I am gone. I gave some people recognition   that makes them like themselves, respect themselves more for what they are, and gives them a legacy to pass onto their children.

Wait a minute. what about our  building ...
Isn't that a legacy?    The building that my mom bought for us is -- isn't that  something our son will inherit?

My rings -- they are real jewels --  they certainly cost enough.

My 80 carat Amethyst ring with it's cluster of Diamonds, my 40 carat Acquamarine covers two fingers,  the cluster of Opals and Diamonds.

Oh my goodness, my 6.5 carat Emerald.

My paintings --  my favorite orange city  -- people have wanted to buy it, and .. gee I have at least 16 other paintings ...

And.  my books ...

If all this stuff my legacy, it's an okay pile.  I just wish there was more --more deeds, more tangible  doings that could be remembered, replayed, and enjoyed, but ...  Well, I danced, and wrote, painted, and oh my, tried all sots of big deal fizzling  projects with my husband, and parented ... our son will enjoy the legacy of  building full of things he can pass on to others with stories about his mom and his dad.  


Larry Enright said...

You've done much to be happy about, and have filled your life with good things. Don't stop now. There are more days and more good things to come.

Anonymous said...

Hi Em. Legacy is a tricky problem. I was speaking with my husband about that just the other day.
All religious considerations aside, my feeling is that we will live on in the memories of people who knew us, until they die.
My mother, from the photo albums she left behind, knew people that I don't know. Until she died, my mother's knowledge of those people existed. If I had had the albums before she died, I could have asked her about those unknowns.I have always been attracted to old photo albums and wondered who the people were and mourned not knowing them.
But after we die, and after the people who knew us die, we become unknowns.
Unless we leave some kind of written record. But even tax or census records written in copperscript, years later, don't really tell much about the people named. You will experience this if you try to research your ancestors.
And do people who are dead really care about being famous or remembered? I think it's a desire only of the living.
We do not want to be forgotten.
But look at the earth's history. Zillions of living organisms have come and gone on this planet. And likely other planets throughout the universe. We don't know the name, favourite colour, entertainment, or loved ones of most of them.
When I was twelve, we had a very beautiful little pony. She got sick, so we brought her home and she stayed in our garage.
One morning my sister woke me up early and said,"I think Mary is dead."
I rushed out of bed and ran to the garage to see beautiful Mary, lying in the hay, eyes open, not breathing.
The transition from life to death had taken one heartbeat. She wasn't yet cold. But she was as dead as if she had died a million years ago. There was no going back.
That's what I learned when I was twelve.
That all the fossilized bones you see in museums, all the names of people you see on gravestones, all the people whose paintings you admire or words you read; these creatures and people were once as alive as you are.
This may seem self evident, but it's a truth I think we don't perceive deeply.
Because if they can die, we can die.
And we will.
The magic you describe when you danced, I used to feel when I painted.
I would listen to music, and the music would go into my ears, straight down my arm, and into my paint brush without the intervention of any conscious thought. I was one with everything.
Maybe that's what happens when we die.
I often feel that I am getting closer and closer to understanding the mystery, to being one with everything.
That time is not yet, and until then I shall be writing.
I look back on some of the poems and short stories I've written with great satisfaction.
And whether or not we are ever appreciated, or remembered, I think the ability to create, and enjoy life, is our legacy.
Louise Sorensen
louise3anne twitter

Carola said...

I think your legacy is your uniqueness. You have had a tremendous influence on me—especially when I was a child. I can’t describe it exactly: a sense of magic and beauty and imagination, all surrounded by incredible grace (not surprising since you are a dancer). There is an aura that I can still feel that is Emily. It’s got an auburn tinge to it, probably because of your hair, but it is light and fairy-like, and it will never go away as long as I live.

Anonymous said...

Em, besides all that you mentioned in your blog, you have touched more people's lives through Facebook and Twitter and of course through this wonderful blog that you have created.

For me you will always be an incredibly special lady and above all a truly dear friend.

From Linda Phillips aka Anonymous

Billy Ray Chitwood said...


My legacy is whatever the hearts and minds that have mingled with my own will say it is. My legacy is my books. My deeds, my sins, they're among the many lines written there --- some between the lines...

Billy Ray

Don said...

I loved your post. I talked with Judy Collins yesterday and asked her the exact question. My interview with her will be up on Soundcloud in a day or so and you can hear how she says she gave everything she had, just like it seems, you did. www.soundcloud.com/interviewer-1. I've also starting an interviewing website called "Conversus" that will let people be a little better known by friends, family and the wider world.

Unknown said...

Wow!Big question. My most important legacy I think would have to be my family. My husband and my kids.

I have raised five children. My eldest son was in the army and went to Afghanistan, His sister became a single mother at eighteen, she raised her son by herself for the first nine years of his life while still building a decent career for herself. She now has a wonderful partner who loves her son and they are expecting their first baby. My third child a boy was the naughtiest child EVER. I used to wonder that either of us would ever survive his childhood but he has grown into a lovely man. My fourth child, a girl is at university studying business and commerce. In her own gentle but intelligent way she will change the world I think. My fifth child, a boy was a gift from God. Never in a million years did I think I’d give birth again in my forties but he has given my husband and I so much pleasure. We are so caught up with doing everything the right way when we raise our children that we don’t always stop to enjoy them. We enjoy our last child a lot.Too soon to know what he will be yet but he will be one thing...he is and will be loved.

Now my husband, because he is wonderful. When we were younger he sometimes worked three jobs so that I could be a stay at home mother for my children. He thought it was worth it and he loved us all.

I have done a lot of other things but my family (including three grandchildren and one on the way) is what Im most proud of so I guess that would be my legacy.