In A Scandal in Bohemia, in an early scene, Dr. Watson says, “I think I had better go, Holmes.” And Sherlock Holmes replies, “Not a bit, Doctor. Stay where you are. I am lost without my Boswell.”
Of course, he means how helpful Watson is to him with his cases and as a scribe recounting them. But James Boswell, who Sherlock Holmes refers to, was a diarist and author best known for writing the biography of one of his contemporaries, the English literary figure Samuel Johnson. Some claim (certainly at the time it was true) it was the greatest biography written in the English language. Boswell’s surname has passed into the English language as a term (Boswell, Boswellian, Boswellism) for a constant companion and observer, especially one who records those observations in print.
Think about the stories you tell of your life and experience. The bits and pieces you weave for family and friends (perhaps even spun as whole cloth).
Without having them written down are they truly saved for posterity?
Are they fully captured and presented in a way that really tells your story?
Or are they all in your head or just rough notes or perhaps closeted away so they will never truly become THE STORY you want others to know. And when you pass on what will happen to your story? Unless put into a readable narrative, it will always only reach as far as your voice or that of someone ‘recounting’ what you’ve told them. Ultimately, they—the stories and the people—will fade away. Gone forever. ‘Lost without your Boswell…’
If you want your stories and the tales of your life to last, write them down. Publish them whether privately for family only or if you think it commercially appealing then make it publicly available.
Your life stories—the words that make them real—are ‘part and parcel’ of the legacy you genuinely leave behind. And as Byron said:
“Words are things; and a small drop of ink, like the falling dew upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.”
Write yours down, don’t let your story be lost.
[Information on James Boswell from Wikipedia]