I have written about legacies we writers leave when we've gone, but the bottom line is - if you don't write it no one will ever find it in the future. Today I found a living example of this phenomenon.
J R R Tolkien
An American Tolkien scholar (wouldn't it be gratifying to find an Atkinson scholar!!!!) wrote to Abingdon School researching some of Tolkien's poetry. He had heard that some of his work written in the 1930s had been lost and decided to try and discover its whereabouts.
It turned out that Professor Tolkien, of Oxford University, had written two poems that were included in the schools 1936 annual which Tolkien referred to as the Abingdon Chronicle. The first was 'The Shadow Man' written about four years previously and the second a Christmas offering entitled simply 'Noel'.
Both of these works were written long before he had his crashing success with the Hobbit.
The Shadow Man
There was a man who dwelt alone
beneath the moon in shadow.
He sat as long as lasting stone,
and yet he had no shadow.
The owls, they perched upon his head
beneath the moon of summer;
They wiped their beaks and thought him dead,
who sat there dumb all summer.
I have thoroughly enjoyed all that I've read by J R R Tolkien including his Revolting Rhymes. A brilliantly talented man.
So what do writers leave behind these days?
Well usually there are websites, blogs, YouTube accounts, and of course published works. Life was simpler when Dickens was producing his articles for his own magazines. Of course, the major difference is that many more people can 'publish' their thoughts on Facebook, Twitter and more. So what likelihood a scholar studying work such as mine - slim to negligible I would say. That is not due to any false modesty or anything like that but more to do with the sheer volume of stuff out there. You would probably have to be a celebrity (whatever you think that means) to entice academics to consider your work.
Does that mean you should stop writing?
If your like me then that would never happen. Writing has become a huge part of my life and I'm thankful for that. A word of warning - don't enter into this writing world unless you are prepared to give it loads of your time.
If you do I can promise you a whole gamut of emotions and the enjoyment of entering worlds you never knew existed, but then once inside you may never find the way out again.