Do writers dream of gilded monuments?

by Stella

Every writer wonders whether their work will hold up over time. You can’t help but wonder why some things get better and better, others seem dated, and some outright laughable. Why some are canonized, others gain cult status, and others fade away. Cue the wavy fantasy dissolve...

As I peer through the haze to see into the future, I find the grass growing thick and green, the sky showing blue and clear, the air smelling sharp and clean, and chocolate is common currency. In this tranquil but never boring utopia, anthologists argue over whether to organize my haikus chronologically or thematically. Poor school children sigh in frustration as they’re forced to read countless lines which seem meaningless. Miserable college students stumble over paper topics such as “Subjectivity and Selfhood in Seventeen Syllables,” “Stella Carter: Subversion or Conformity.”

Film festivals celebrate my twenty or so films, ten of which have already been remade and are screened in conjunction. Panelists question why they still find something to relate to in my work, or perhaps question whether my work had ill-effect on succeeding writing generations. The latest documentary will try to reconstruct a script I never finished, perhaps capturing another author trying to finish it for me, relating his or her own artistic struggle. Theaters will have midnight screenings of an odd film that did alright with critics and flopped at the box office, but has become a cult hit over time. Some people wonder how it was overlooked in the first place, and see the rest of my more loudly hailed work as obviously inferior. There are afternoon matinees of old favorites with iconic scenes, and lines which have become well-worn catchphrases.

Cut to an alternative futuristic landscape where hovercrafts weave in and out of the smog, past the gigantic neon billboards; a future in which nothing of mine will be left save a single haiku. My surname will be long forgotten. I will just be Stella and her little haiku. In between dysphoric drinking binges, the jaded will puzzle over it. Do these seventeen syllables encapsulate what has been lost, inspiring people with nostalgia for a time faded and gone? Perhaps my first name is forgotten and only the nondescript Carter remains. Was I man, woman, cyborg, super-intelligent cat? It will have to remain a mystery. At least until my diary is discovered with some dozen or so haikus that I scribbled in its margins. Except I never wrote the diary; it’s someone else’s brilliant hoax to exert their power over the masses.

Dissolve back to reality. Cue the thematic pensive music.

Write and enjoy it.

Fade to black.


Anonymous said...

I am new to your site.
I really like it. thanks

Terry Finley

Mike French said...


Great article.

You will of course be remembered as a famous writer who first broke into the public realm as part of the Fab 5 writing team at The View From Here!

Terry : Hi, welcome to the magazine, glad you like the site. I see you are a short story writer have you had anything published?

Unknown said...

Stella, sometimes you can just tell. Some people are immortal. If someone wants to bet me, I'm betting you're work will become a mainstay of whatever civilization persists.

Stella said...

Terry - welcome!

Mike - well obviously, but I didn't want to mention it and sound like I was bragging :))

Kathleen - that's sweet of you, but I'm not making any predictions :)

Anonymous said...

Nice piece, Stella. And I particularly like the manner in which you wake us to reality: 'Write and enjoy it.'

Good advice.

Stella said...

That's me, Paul - tethering everyone to reality ;)