The Immortality of Writers

I have a post in the works for this blog (I swear!) although it’s not quite ready yet. In the meantime, I’m going to leave a few words of wisdom that will hopefully inspire me to actually write:

If you would only accomplish this, becoming expert in writing: Those writers of knowledge from the time of events after the gods, those who foretold the future, their names have become fixed for eternity, though they are gone, they have completed their lifespan, and all their kin are forgotten.

They did not make for themselves a chapel of copper, or a stela for it of iron from the sky. They did not manage to leave heirs, from their children, to pronounce their names, but they have achieved heirs out of writings, out of the teachings in those.

The doors of their chapels are undone, Their ka-priests have gone. Their tombstones are smeared with mud, their tombs are forgotten, but their names are read out on their scrolls, written when they were young. Being remembered makes them, to the limits of eternity.

A man is dead, his corpse is in the ground: when all his family are laid in the earth, It is writing that lets him be remembered, in the mouth of the reciter of the formula. Scrolls are more useful than a built house, than chapels on the west, they are more perfect than palace towers, longer-lasting than a monument in a temple.

–Papyrus Chester Beatty IV, “The Immortality of Writers”

From UCL (originally from Lichteim 1976)