Would you sell your soul to the devil to be rich and famous in life, or would you be content with fame after your death?
While most of us might say that it’s not fame or fortune we seek, many spend untold energy and funds on marketing our writing, hopeful of reaching a few extra readers and recouping a few of those hard-earned dollars.
Most of us would say we have no desire to go down in history like some of these whose works were unknown or unrecognised in life, but lauded after death; including:
- Edgar Allan Poe (Writer)
- Emily Dickinson (Poet)
- Franz Kafka (Writer)
- Galileo Galilei (Scientist)
- Henry David Thoreau (Philosopher)
- Herman Melville (writer)
- John Keats (Poet)
- Oscar Wilde (writer)
- Stieg Larsson (writer)
- Vincent Van Gogh (Artist)
However, this article by Daniel Grant writing for the Huffington Post and this one on Quora both address the question of an artist’s posthumous fame and agree that, if you weren’t famous in life, you’re unlikely to be famous in death. Perhaps we’d better go for the fame and fortune while we live.
Why am I thinking about posthumous fame? It’s not that I’m thinking of dying and then being discovered anytime soon. No, it’s as a result of the flash fiction prompt set by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch this week.
Charli challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about someone unremembered. Is it a momentary lapse or a loss in time? Play with the tone — make it funny, moving, or eerie. Go where the prompt leads you!
This is how my story plays out.
A recluse, unremarkable and forgotten in life and unremembered in death, she’d lived in her own world hidden behind overhanging branches and overgrown gardens. Unseen for so long, newcomers didn’t know she existed, thinking it was simply undeveloped land.
One day, developers came and pushed down the trees and cleared the undergrowth. They paused at the sight of the tiny wooden structure their work revealed. Unsure how to proceed, they investigated. Though not art enthusiasts, they knew that what they discovered was something special. When the work was curated and exhibited in galleries worldwide, she was never unremembered again.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.