Friday, October 31, 2008

Shooting for Immortality


Sure, I'd like people to notice when I die. That would be nice. I can't explain why really, since I'd have to already be dead for people to notice that I was dead. But...still, as irrational as it may be, I'd still like to leave some sort of lasting legacy to the planet.

My achievements so far, I think, have been fairly meager. Yes, I have had some success at radio, but that seems like a long time ago. I'm grateful for it...but in some way, it just doesn't seem like enough.

What would be enough? One thing might be some cool phrase that I invent, which enters common speech and just goes on forever. I thought for a few seconds this past week that I'd finally come up with a good candidate; but four seconds later, after a Google search, I discovered that it was already in common usage. I must have heard it but just not remembered (the phrase was, "who you are is more important than what you know").

There is one phrase I think I might actually have invented which seems to express something true - or at least true to some extent - and which might be a good candidate. It came to me when I appeared on Global TV a few years ago commenting on the Canadian federal election, and in particular, Liberal Party candidate Paul Martin's shambolic campaign. The phrase was, "if you can't run a campaign, you can't run a country". Yes, it was in Canada - but it was on national TV.

Now - I have run a google search on my phrase, and interestingly, what few usages of it all post-date my appearance. Could it be...?

I hope so (even though if I'm not credited, it will be as if I'd never come up with it anyhow). But in the absence of some cool aphorism or slogan or word known as my own coinage, I suppose I should concentrate on what legacy I am leaving for my kids. God knows I've tried...and I did get what for me was a nice "atta boy" one day a couple of weeks ago from my ten year old daughter, Lady Lu (once again, hip-hop nickname).

She said, "Daddy, it's fall again - and that means it's time for all our fall family rituals. Like stew. We have to start making our stews again! With the bread bowls!".

WOW. Someone noticed; someone remembered; someone appreciated; someone saw the stew as more than the stew; someone saw it as 'sacred family ritual'. That's what I was shooting for! Cool!

And so it was that last night, I took Sno-Cone and Lady Lu and Peaches out to the little local grocery store, and we bought chicken, and barley, and bean mix, and lentils, and potatoes, and we washed everything up, and threw it all into the crockpot along with some rosemary and basil and a bay leaf...and today, I picked up some sourdough bread bowls...And tonight, we turned off all the lights, and lit a fire and a bunch of candles, and all gathered round the table to eat our super-duper chicken stew out of our very own sourdough bread bowls, just like we do every couple of weeks every fall, and we drank a special punch that Skinny Dip made...And afterwards, we all gathered in the living room, and I taught all the little kids an old Kinks song about a witch called "Wicked Annabella" (Halloween and all), and then we finished by reading "Hansel and Gretel". And my story sort of went awry - I ended up doing a Bullwinkle imitation for Hansel's voice, and a Rocky imitation for Gretel's, and all sorts of other things which I think only little kids might find hilarious...and we all went to bed feeling cozy and happy...and I dare to hope that maybe they will remember some part of tonight, forever...

And now that I think about it...if they do, it will be far more than enough. :)

34 comments:

~Jen~ said...

Now I want bread bowl stew.....

Hey, have you ever considered that your writing about politics/religion/current events/family on this blog is a legacy of sorts? I mean u may not have the readership of Matthew Good's blog (yet) but...it is clear you have things worth sharing to share and things to say that we all benefit from hearing...

But you are right, when it comes down to it a simple comment from a child about ritualistic bread bowls puts it all into perspective and makes the rest seem silly.

lewis said...

You are one of the most insightful eclectic bloggers around. Too bad you don't blog more often.

I stumbled upon your blog after stumbling upon your "Love, Lost and Found." I am not, nor have I ever been, a Mormon but the human drama was captivating. You - my blogger friend - have a future in writing. I am looking forward to reading the book you are writing. I predict you will be remembered as a great writer who also had a hit song in the 90s.

Greg Watson said...

You know Tal, I think one of the biggest challenges for guys like you and me is how to deal with this legacy business. Both of us have grown up under the way heavy shadow of legendary fathers (yours in music, mine in journalism/TV) who will leave a huge, perhaps somewhat timeless legacy. And regardless of what our respective relationshipos with our respective dads may be, that shadow lingers always in the backmind of our psyches. How are we supposed to confront that kind of thing? How can we achieve meaningfulness (in terms of this legacy stuff) with such a large soundtrack playing in our backgrounds? It can be a tough challenge to face.

As for me, like 99% of the world's population, I will leave no legacy. And I am at peace with that. Finally.

As for you, well, if you ask me, this is a perfect legacy: "Someone noticed; someone remembered; someone appreciated; someone saw the stew as more than the stew; someone saw it as 'sacred family ritual'. That's what I was shooting for! Cool!"

And, as you say: "And now that I think about it...if they do, it will be far more than enough."

That's perfection, man, perfection. Good on you!

Anonymous said...

Are you and Tracy getting divorced?

Tal said...

Well...

I am extremely touched by your comments...I would love to believe that what I write touches people. (And I wonder sometimes how to get my blog more out there, though I don't really have much of an idea how to.)

I will try to write more then, amigos, if you pass links around! :)

This one seems to have struck a chord so I'll leave it up for a few days. And then I'll start writing more often.

See ya!

T.

Tal said...

Jen, Lewis, and Greg - any suggestions for how to get more blog readership, presuming it warrants it? Email me directly if you want.

Thanks again for the comments.

T.

Anonymous said...

You do have a talent for writing Tal.What is your book about and when can we expect it in the stores?

~Jen~ said...

Well...getting blog rolled helps. I will put you up on my blog roll so anyone reading mine has the link to yours, etc.

Also...when you read other ppls blogs and comment that leaves a direct link to yours...it seems that the community aspect of blogging helps as well.

I will mention it in my next months column if you are okay with that. I write monthly for BC Musician Magazine and was planning to write about you anyway so I can definitely plug the blog, I wasn't sure you wanted exposure but if you do it can't hurt.

Anonymous said...

As a famous athiest actor said(who had 10 children)"Children are the legacy you leave behind.
If you raise good children who become good adults,then if you do nothing else, that is enough."

Greg Watson said...

Oh,I don't think I could give any good advice on getting a blog out there. My own blog died a death of inattention. I suppose the ideal thing is to post a lot; daily if possible, tell everyone you know about, and just proselytize the heck out of it.

Anonymous said...

Ask Jane Farries Not My Dog.

June

rachael said...

Hi there, I don't speak up very often, I usually just read from the peanut gallery, but today I just had to post......

I am glad you came to the conclusion that the impact you have on your own family is ultimately the most important thing to hold on to.

Having said that, I would like to throw my two cents in regarding your music.

You know how people often say that smelling a familiar smell, or hearing a song can bring back memories and feelings? Music in particular, is SO powerful for people, hearing certain songs for instance, can instantly bring me right to a place and time in my life, that I might have otherwise forgotten.

Whether it is 1 or 100 songs, if you have written something that has touched people musically, you have done something magical, and far more than most people ever manage to do.

I for one have vivid memories of singing She's so High, over and over again, in my kitchen while making dinner for my family, in the car, while doing laundry, etc. It was so joyful to lose myself in the song while chopping and cutting and doing chores, it brightened my day.

That song is in my list of favorite songs of all time in fact, and has been part of my Favorites list on my You Tube channel, since I began it.

However you may quantify your own success, pls remember that for the regular listener and fan, we don't even consider charts, reviews, or dollars earned, we think about the way a song made us feel, and you sir, created some magic.

I recall how different you sounded at the time that song came out, and there is no doubt that you influenced musicians who came up behind you. Whether it is evident to you or not, you made an impact that will not be forgotten. I am only one person, but I think its safe to say that I might just speak for many others.

Thats all I wanted to say.

Cheers. Rach

rachael said...

As for getting your blog out there, I agree with an earlier comment, get out and connect with other bloggers, it seems to be a positive and supportive community.

It works for me on You Tube, I connect with people all the time there, and as a result, I have a few videos with several thousand views and friends from all over the world.

Asking for help in spreading the word, smart. Its a small thing, but I just included your blog on my website showcase page where I have a section of links to other music sites and blogs.

I will add the link to my name/URL in this post, so you can view the page if you choose to.

Ok then, back to the peanut gallery I go. :)

lewis said...

Once the election is over, I plan on writing an post on thought provoking bloggers. Be forewarned, your readership will jump by two or three people; assuming all of my regular readers actually click on the link to your blog.

~Jen~ said...

could you hear the sigh of relief worldwide last night?

WHAT A RIDE!
This is the 1st time as an adult I feel like I have had some faith in humanity restored....

Now for the messy climb out of a large pit...Mr O has his work cut out for him,

lewis said...

Large pit, yes.

Climb out or dig deeper? We will see.

lily said...

What a ride, indeed! Americans must feel proud again, rightly so!

The Homely Animal said...

This is nice. We all hope for it I guess

Su-Lin said...

The odds, so to speak, aren't all that great for each and every individual to be remembered. It's even less likely, if we're talking long term rememberance. At this point I could write something about the biological legacy you have left--but none of us really knows if anything we do will be of "significance". And, I would wager that "significance" is a highly subjective thing. Sorry if that's cliched.

But, it isn't all doom and gloom. Recently, I found myself reacquainted with people I haven't seen in 20 years. We were all great friends, but after 20 years, I'd assumed that I was a fleeting memory. However, it turns out that, while I wasn't always present in their minds, I was remembered. Even more surprisingly, I was remembered fondly. What is the gist of the story? Well, something about how you never really know what resonates with other people, but somehow it happens, usually in the most benign way.

susan said...

For someone who worked with you and had the privilege to get to know you to some extent you will be remembered as an affable, intelligent and genuine person who is fun to talk with.

For someone who has listened through your CDs many times, you will be remembered as a singer/song writer whose songs are full of emotion and meaningful lyrics that make people think. I love She Is So High just like millions have but I really love If You Sleep. I don’t understand why it has not been played more.

For someone who has seen how you interact with some of your children, you will be remembered as a great father of eight well-taught children.

To a working parent, how you have been able to balance between your family life with a houseful of young children at your young age, a performing art career and studying fulltime towards a graduate degree is really inspirational.

I think you will be remembered as a down-to-earth celebrity.

~Jen~ said...

EIGHT KIDS!!
I had NO idea!

Tosca said...

makes you wonder what the purpose of life is.Why go to all the trouble of bothering to leave a legacy if there is no life after death or accountability?

Pali Mama said...

Ahwwww! Good story.

Anonymous said...

If you and Tracy divorce, will she take the kids back to England?

~Jen~ said...

Perhaps you should be questioning him in private about such personal issues?...unless of course you are purposefully trying to be a crass asshole...either way, you have succeeded.

JulieAnn said...

Hi Tal,

I ran across your blog via MSP (I'm on their blogroll as well). I enjoy your writing very much. I also understand the desire to leave the proverbial footprint once we depart from here and go...wherever we go--or don't go. I thought having a published novel would make me immortal, so that's what I did. Funny thing is, I'm also an artist--I paint. That will surely make me immortal, I thought.

Funny, though; when my kids talk about me to other people/their friends, they say none of these things. I've overheard them. They say, "You are gonna love my mom--she is so cool."

So if being 'cool' is my legacy, so be it. I watch as my kids act with little idiosyncratic mannerisms that are just like me and I see my legacy: one day, they will be 'the coolest mom' too.

In terms of readership, I had a blog that got about 200 unique hits per month. I have started it up again under a new blog address (I had some pesky stalkers). I had that kind of readership because I read and commented on blogs that I thought were insightful and interesting. They would invariably ask to add me to their blog roll and I would add them and wah-lah...a blog was born.

You are quite famous in the exmo community--you should do fine. Oh, loved you in Religulous--tell Bill G and Mel 'hi' for me and Kent W if you see them. We hung out at the 2007 exmo in their room for a spell. Had a blast.

Okay, enough hijacking....keep writing. It's good for the soul.

peace

JulieAnn

Anonymous said...

Jen,you think he's wonderful,don't you? Ask Tracy and hundreds of others if he's so wonderful.Just sayin'.

~Jen~ said...

I don't know him from a hole in the ground...what I do know is this isn't the forum for the soap opera.
If you are so hell bent on being rude to him email him directly so he can tell you to go fuck your hat.

lewis said...

Exactly, Jen. What the hell is wrong with people? Posting that kind of crap on someone's blog is, at the least, in poor taste. Maybe Tal should moderate the comments.

Patsy O said...

Moderating leads to "suck up comments only" allowed though,which is the last thing Tal would want as he likes the truth to be told.

June said...

You so handsome Tal....

B. said...

I wish I could get this many comments on my blog, sheesh...
Anyways, I've checked in on this/your blog a couple of times. I like it, I like the way that you write. I like that you speak your mind and state opinions, opinions that instigate thought.
in regards to this post- I have to say that I believe we all touch people in ways we might never even know. It might not be the great line, piece of art, song etc. however, it might be a compliment you pay a stranger who is having a hard day, or a kind gesture that impacts another person. I believe that these moments add up to something, and when we are always looking for the big moments, we miss those opportunities that are right in front of us...

Ben Abba said...

I am not sure what the purpose of this blog is but if you are interested in some research on real immortals living among us, check out my main blog at Ben-Abba.com, my podcast channel at Achieving-Immortality.com, and my new book Secrets of an Immortal - An Eyewitness Account of 2,800 Years of History.

anne said...

You've already left more of a mark than most people can ever hope to.

I recently lost a dear friend to cancer. He was only turning 40. Incredible at his job, he was one of the most sought after session and support musicians in the industry. But while he is well known for being extremely talented in his field, I've noticed that the things that people are remembering are not necessarily his long illustrious list of gigs and credits but rather his warmth, kindness, humour, compassion for others, inclusive nature and generosity of spirit. Observing the mass outpouring of grief over the last week it seems to me at least, that the things that most people remember are not just the things that one has achieved but rather, they remember how you made them feel.