Users are the Who of Legacy Tools, but no matter whether you are Living Your Legacy Now so family and friends will have great stories about you, or you are writing or recording personal and family history for posterity, you need to know who your audience is. But you cannot know the future. Whether you see this as a conundrum or koan, your perspective will shape what you produce.
My Story, Told By Others
If you are truly living life to the fullest and taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, you will not have time record your escapades. And that may be okay if you truly do not care about any other person’s reality after you are gone. Do what you can to maximize or exemplify what you care about. Or you may just want to tell amazing stories to your kids, grand kids, or younger people you care about through the grand tradition of oral history. Tell lots of stories and let others remember or retell them if they are so moved.
It is all about who you think the user will be?
Can you be certain?
Maybe you have learned lessons and witnessed events that were life-changing or historic in nature. You want to pass on what you know about these things.
In this case you probably want to consider the type of person for whom you want to pass on these things. These may or may not be family descendants. Perhaps you were there at the Battle of Seattle when the WTO met in Seattle, Washington in 1999, and you have untold stories of what happened there that shed new light on how the violence escalated.
With this type of story you will have to determine if you are talking to a politically well-informed person, whether that person has a perspective grounded in left or right-wing politics, or a NW U.S. regional historian. Different bits of data are apt to emerge when you speak to these different people. Imagine the person to whom you want to tell the story and imagine telling it to them, even if that person does not yet exist.
If you are telling a story of your life on the farm, a memoir of life as you grew up that is peppered with family members, you will tell a different story dependent upon whether you are telling it to children or adults. You will want to ask yourself questions such as:
- Does the person for who I am crafting this story know what a tractor is? Or a plow? Is the difference between a heifer and a bull important to the story? Has this person likely to have ever been on a farm?
- Perhaps you were assaulted in a barn. If you are creating an account of this event so as to help others in a family or community understand the negative culture that permeated your life and that of your siblings, you will be writing for adults, but you still may want to put in a warning that some scenes might be disturbing for some individuals.
- Do I need to include images to convey meaning? Does a blue print or architectural drawing of the pastoral setting of house and out-buildings concisely convey what it would take chapters to describe?
For whom are you creating legacy? The answer will change the nature of legacy.