Yes, it’s another blog post inspired by Hamilton. It’s probably not going to be the kind of post you expect.
I’ve been resistant about getting into Hamilton because frankly I couldn’t see the attraction. I get that the Founding Fathers are revered, almost mythologized, figures in American history but for an outsider they’re just another set of historical characters. I’m generally a fan of the Rock Opera genre and I’ve been growing more and more curious about just why exactly it’s such a huge success among all my American friends. But it took Melanie Meadors’s post What the Geek Is Up With Hamilton: An American Musical? to actually move me to listen to it. Two hours and twenty two minutes later I was a weeping mess. The hours and twenty three minutes later I started over. That minute in between was getting another bag of tissues (we don’t use boxes for tissues in Finland) and a hug from my partner. I’ve been obsessed about it ever since.
But I’m not going to write another analysis of Hamilton, there have already been enough of those and I’m not nearly smart enough to top the people who’ve written them. Instead, what I want to talk about is the end. This is where it gets spoilery for the people people who might be concerned about the thing. But since it’s based in history, I don’t have a problem saying that Hamilton dies at 49, shot in a duel. The following number (and don’t worry, I’m not going into details) asks the things that so utterly destroyed me:
But when you’re gone, who remembers your name?
Who keeps your flame?
Who tells your story?
Let’s face it, we’re none of us getting out of here alive and I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t at least want to be thought of kindly after they pass. I don’t know about you (I can guess, though) but I want to leave a legacy of some sort before I die. And holy fuck does that sound pompous as all get out but there’s really no other way to put it. I will never have children so my legacy will have to be in the things I create during my all-too brief time on this Earth.
I wake up at five on weekdays because that’s the only way for me to write with my day job. A lot of people tell me that I’m mad for doing that. And I don’t begrudge them that. I would have told myself that I’m mad for doing that only a year or two ago. I am not, nor have I ever been, a morning person. I don’t think that’s likely to ever change. Whenever I get the chance, I stay up till 2 or 3 AM then sleep at least until noon. If I have breakfast by 3 PM, I consider the day a win.
But the thing is, my clock is ticking. I turned 35 this year. The current life expectation for women in Finland is 83 years. Given the fact that there’s been a lot of cancer in my general family tree, I’m unlikely to live even that long. But let’s say I live till 83. That leaves me 48 years to create something worth remembering. And that sounds like such a long time. But lately it’s not just the days that keep flying by, it’s weeks and even months. It takes me about a year at this point to write a novel. So, optimistically speaking, that’d be 46 books in my lifetime, publishing is a slow machinery after all. And maybe that’s enough. I don’t know. I hope so.
I’m running out of time. I’m running, and my time’s up
Wise up. Eyes up
I don’t know who’ll tell my story. But at the end of the day, I’d like to have a story worth telling.