Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ    Attic   

Re: CHAT: facing your own mortality (as a conlanger)

From:ROGER MILLS <rfmilly@...>
Date:Saturday, August 9, 2008, 17:45
Jan van Steenbergen wrote:

(snipping much that is relevant, and in line with my own beliefs)
> >It's a slightly different story with my music. Nothing of it has ever been >published, although >most of it has been performed. I haven't made any arrangements regarding >this; all I can >hope is that when I'm gone my family will take care of it and make sure >that it's being >performed every once in a while - IMO that's a much better way of >commemorating a person >than visiting a grave. > > >If you have web pages that you want to stay online after you can > >no longer pay the hosting bill, what options are available? The > >Wayback Machine at doesn't catch everything and it might > >not be around forever. > >I have to admit that this thought has occurred to me sometimes. Well, I >suppose my domain >at will stay around for a while. But nothing lasts forever, and >there will be a day when >it's ultimately gone. As for all my Wenedyk/RTC stuff, I would certainly >hope someone else >would make sure my work stays around for another while. > >What worries me more is actually this: how is the world going to find out >that I'm dead?
I plan to leave instructions with a friend, to use my computer and links to send out notices to this list and my various alumni orgs. At my age it could happen any time, heavens forfend!! My great-grandfather lived to 99, I'd like to do so too, if only to see whether the world can avoid the FUBAR state that it seems to be headed for... if not, one might want to exit sooner.
>All that is pure theory, of course, because I can't think of a publishing >house that would be >waiting for my stuff to publish it!
That's probably the case with much of my research in Indonesian languages; I have a lot that isnt organized enough to warrant publishing, but it might give some future grad student a few ideas, or save a lot of scut work (annotated dictionaries in Xerox copies, various semi-finished articles). These too I think could be forwarded to a colleague, who can then save or delete as he/she sees fit.
> > >Is it arrogant to want some of your ideas to live on after you die? > >Not at all! For me, it's crucial. After I'm dead, all that stays of me are >two things: the >memories people have about me, and my work. The latter would be my very >tiny imprint in >world history - one way to achieve immortality.
As I recall, there's a prayer in Jewish liturgy (at least in the Engl. version I've heard) that "they are not gone, they live on in the hearts and minds of those who loved them". As for one's work, you are entirely correct. Some of my (mercenary) relatives don't see the point of my having written a PhD diss. that maybe 6 people in the entire world have read (it always surprises me when I see it cited, it was never published). And who knows, in 50 years, someone may utterly refute everything I wrote!! Whenever I mention trying to get something published in a journal, they ask, how much will you get paid? AS IF, haha. How about 10 off-prints, big deal. The point for me is, it's enough to have contributed to the world's body of knowledge. I do feel that conlanging, too, is a contribution of sorts, even if most of it flowers in obscurity. I often think of the young Dutch linguist S. J. Esser, who did so much excellent work in Celebes languages in the 1930s. Like many, he was interned in a concentration camp by the Japanese, and died there in the 1940s, he may have been 40 at the most. His work still stands and is greatly respected, but he could have done so much more..... One thinks too of Olivier Messiaen, who composed that magnificent "Quartet for the End of Time" while interned during WW II. He at least survived, as does the work.