Ore Legar Populi

That quotation from Ovid (who must have been incredibly annoying as a person, but damn his poetry was good) roughly translates as something like "I shall be read on the lips of the people" - a pretty classic and incredibly elegant statement of writing for posterity, and one that got me thinking.

These days, ask people about writing for posterity and they'll probably say that it's a bit arrogant. Some will laugh. Some will shuffle away nervously, afraid of being contaminated by anything remotely unconventional. Some clever cynic or another will let out a bitter cackle and point out that everything crumbles and decays eventually - people, governments, societies, even paper and ink - so there's no point in writing for future generations.

I'll admit, some of those criticisms do sting. I'd hate to be arrogant or big-headed, and likewise, if everything is going to crumble (and it is - it doesn't help that I think we're in real danger of all dying from a nuclear war), writing for posterity becomes a bit pointless, doesn't it? I'm no Ovid and I never will be; neither am I a tortured, uniquely talented soul. I am a disgustingly bourgeois and overprivileged little shit, with nothing remarkable to distinguish me from any other person, certainly not my desire legi ore populi, to be read on the lips of the people. I am no popular poet, no bestselling writer, no academic. Just some idiot sitting around scribbling.

And yet...well...I write for a lot of reasons: enjoyment, expression, a stubborn belief that my opinions are equal to anyone else's, and more besides - but they are all secondary to a central reason, and an arrogant one.

When I was a child, I was a huge history nerd, and one of my dreams was to leave something behind for historians to look at. That, in truth, inspired me to write - the idea that one day someone would read my scrawlings and understand what it was like to live in the early 21st century, the idea that my thoughts and feelings would help future generations to understand the people of the past.

Oh, I've developed this idea over the years, had points branching out from it - but at the root of things I want my writing to live on. I want some discerning eye to look over it and put it in its proper place, in amongst the thoughts, feelings, ideas of so many others. Not quite ore legar populi, but pretty close.