I saw the video of Randy Pausch when he gave “The Last Lecture” announcing he was doing so with an “engineering problem in his body: ten tumors on his liver.” It moved me like few things I have ever witnessed. All of that made it all the more meaningful that I would receive this book from my son Steve and my ‘daughter-in-love’, Kelli. But imagine my surprise and delight to find it inscribed by Jeffrey Zaslow who wrote the book for Randy Pausch as he experienced his last year of life. It says:
I hope you find inspiration in these pages. Keep writing.
Jeffrey Zaslow (written in indecipherable script like most authors.)
As I began to read the introduction by Randy Pausch explaining his situation and how he chose Jeffrey Zaslow to formalize his thoughts and stories for the book, I was struck by so many things, but in particular, this passage.
“These lectures are routinely videotaped. I knew what I was doing that day. Under the ruse of giving an academic lecture, I was trying to put myself into a bottle that would one day wash up on the beach for my children. If I was a painter I would have painted for them. If I was a musician, I would have composed music. I am a lecturer, so I lectured”. Randy Pausch: The Last Lecture.
I felt so validated reading that, and was “at one” with the phrase; “trying to put myself into a bottle that would one day wash up on the beach for my children.” I have written thirteen books/novels and a personal family legacy story book which contains 66 stories which are translated from oral history of our family from the 1930’s to present day. Few family members have the time or inclination to read them all now. They are busy living their lives and creating their own stories. However, it is my belief, or hope, that in years to come, they will “know me” and the work that I did through these books which are the only “inheritance” I shall be able to leave of any value.
Like Randy Pausch, I am a writer, so I too have written myself into a bottle and pray it washes up in the lives of my children and grandchildren, and all those who follow. Thank you Randy Pausch for the inspiration, and Jeffrey Zaslow for the tool and encouragement.