The Legacy Confabulation


Suggested Audio Jukebox:


[1] Eminem “Legacy”

[2] Alien Ant Farm “Movies”

[3] Stereophonics “Mr. Writer”

[4] Japan “Quiet Life”



Of all the words in the dictionary, few can even come close to boasting the significance of the word legacy. It is the ultimate gift to bequeath, the one thing that we all hope to leave behind when we go, and one of the chief driving forces behind me ever starting out writing under a pseudonym in the first place. My identity had been soundly compromised, leaving me questioning whether or not I was fit to so much as inhale oxygen, and I felt pretty much ready to throw in the towel. Something had to give and I was growing increasingly accustomed to the notion of that something being me, so stepping into the guise of Keeper of The Crimson Quill represented something of a final dice throw to me. Back then I would have been satisfied with a handful of stirring words to denote my imminent departure, a light that could flicker for a few precious moments after I received closure. That was before I truly learned what a legacy is and how to go about imparting one of my own.


Ultimately I will become little more than dust. When that day arrives, and I’m prepared for the come what may, I can now state with great assurance that I will still be alive and well. Writing the way that I have for the past three years has given more meaning to my existence than I could ever have dreamed, assisted me in recognizing and banishing numerous demons, and provided light to others when theirs too seemed all but extinguished. Integrity was the key word from the start as my own had been called into question and this presented my one opportunity to tell things how they really were. No more hiding beneath a mask of indifference, accepting my place in society, and refusing to embrace my very birthright. The term pseudonym itself suggests an alias of sorts and, to begin with, that is precisely how being Keeper felt to me. However, this proved far from a shroud of mystery, and instead, allowed me to reveal parts of myself I would never before have entertained.


When you consider the title Keeper of The Crimson Quill, it seems pretty mysterious. Perhaps a dashing superhero or illustrious enigma, but definitely someone of considerable eminence right? Instead, what I present to the Grueheads? A forty-one-year-old man-child whose favorite pastimes include spanking the monkey. No cuirass, gauntlets, or impenetrable armor and, indeed, the exact opposite. As naked as the day I was born, just as vulnerable, and every bit as flawed. There seemed no point in concealing another solitary thing about myself, and every reason to gift that to my readership, warts and all. At the time, I barely expected to make it through the month, so there seemed no harm in laying it all out there. Fuck mystery I thought, being elusive wasn’t what it was cracked up to be, and I would much rather just cut to the chase and say it how it is than join the leagues of pompous self-important scribes who don’t have the brass balls to truly stand up and be counted. It had to be all in, or else, what was it all about anyhoots?


I made no secret of my passion for film from the offset and approached it in a manner that few others seemed willing to negotiate. The soul is a piece of kit more precious than any other and I decided to reveal just how each movie resonates on an intimate level. No “professional bias”, no playing the shock jock just to come across all superior, others can do their worst but I certainly wasn’t about to take their sorry lead. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before I began to spread my wings some. If you’re going to do it, then you may as well give it your all right? Next up was introspective essays and these afforded me the chance to work through some of my own personal shit in a way that others could apply to their own hardship. I was starting to locate a voice that I had no idea even existed before then and it felt good to use it for the greater good. Folk started to comment that it was like I was inside their head and that pleased me massively as I needed that connection to be forged and fast. Without it, I would have spiralled ever deeper into my void. Instead, I felt like I was a part of something monumental.


This started as therapy and, having undergone six sessions with a shrink, I knew just how vital this was to my growth and that of others around me. My experience had been wonderful at highlighting my problems but left me with a whole host of demons to banish on my own time. That equates to half a dozen hours of soul-searching and this was nowhere near sufficient to reorganize a lifetime’s supply of bogus wiring. Thus I put in the legwork as Keeper and suddenly found a way of becoming the third person in all of this and I’m not speaking of a casual bystander or emotional umpire. This third person exists in all of us and their services are obtainable once we decipher their true identity. After so much personal conflict, we begin to learn how to distance ourselves from the skirmish and let these battles take care of themselves. Until that point of realization arrives, it is an exhaustive process and one that requires full investment. Familiarity helps here as, once we know what to expect, we can find and access our third person accordingly. Needless to say, we don’t have to look far.

Third Person 1988-9 by John Stezaker born 1949

The individual in question is the same one that has been fighting tooth and nail to ensure equilibrium all this time. I am no longer required to devote all my attention to such melee; thus stepping back from the fray is far less troublesome. Suddenly, I have time on my hands, and a more tranquil vantage from which to make that count. Taking a look at oneself is not always an easy endeavor as we tend not to always like what we see. However, it is critical to overcoming obstacles, as they need to be identified to have any hope of surpassing them. This is where the third person comes in handy as they can identify every sign and trigger, then ring any changes necessary to keep moving forward. We all tread water at some point, often for years at a time, but currents can only hold us for so long. I know of my weaknesses, have focused a great deal of the last few years to familiarizing myself to them, and have reached a point where I’m comfortable with the intelligence. They won’t go away overnight, indeed, they’ll always be a part of me. However, I’m also now far more aware of my strengths and how to access them. Thus, I can facilitate the third person.


Suddenly I felt ready to begin working on fiction and, lo-and-behold, found myself another niche. This is a great indicator of where you are at personally as it’s not simply a case of identifying your quirks and, instead, creating something totally free from confine. Boundaries are non-existent here as there is no limit to what you can achieve when telling a tale from scratch. I dabbled with numerous styles and soon learned the art of writing dialogue. While often there is a large part of me in the characters I create, it also affords me the chance to step out of my skin entirely. When you consider that I had felt a prisoner in my own shell for so long, the benefits here were incalculable. You see, my greatest strength is human insight, and I pride myself on being non-judgemental. This is a precious tool when introducing other pawns to the game as you can make them multifaceted, thus keeping your readership on their toes. Whether each protagonist is considered a good egg or bad to the bone is a decision that I choose not to make. But I will search for those grey areas and exploit them for all they’re worth.


I came of age after the birth of Technicolor and find black and white somewhat drab if I’m honest. Color plays a humongous role in what I scribe and the freedom this provides is unquestionable. There is no reason whatsoever to waste even a solitary word and this has become my only requisite when writing. Regardless of whatever my elected angle, I am always to involve my audience and never once fritter prose needlessly. In just over three years as a scribe, I have published over 1300 works, and spent just as much time revitalizing the old as I have coming up with new. All the while I have been learning new tools, becoming comfortable in my style, and attempting to pay this shit forward at every given opportunity. Fuck keeping that to myself, I’d rather put it back out there, and do something of a public service in the process. This, my beloved friends, has been and continues to be my true legacy. One day I shall depart my mortal shell and, when that day comes, the Rivers of Grue will still be running passionately. Of that I am very much convinced.


It is well documented that being creative is both a blessing and curse. I get that logic as it has proved the latter for me on occasions too numerous to mention. However, I’m far more interested in the former. I spent twenty years subscribing to false idols, spending my 9-5 hours greasing some other bastard’s gears, and came away feeling little more than a ghost in the machine. Now I can inspire and, most critically, empower on my own set of exclusive terms and, if ever I have felt blessed, then my tenure as Keeper has provided such divine sanction. Not everything I scribe will be for everyone and I’m comfortable with that as it’s all ultimately subjective. But it only takes a solitary fuse to become sparked to justify my decision a thousand fold. There is no set trajectory and I aim to remain unpredictable with my output as every individual piece presents an opportunity to ignite further and together we reap every last dividend. That has been my goal unerringly throughout my term as Keeper as I’m no soloist. Granted, it may seem that way and, to the uninitiated, I may appear some sort of megalomaniac. But it really couldn’t be farther from the truth.


It may surprise you to learn that I am a particularly shy and reserved individual. Ego is something that stopped interesting me a long time ago and I’m far happier self-effacing than larging myself up. Misplaced confidence is a cancer and something that I have no interest in facilitating. Give me humility every time as I am as regular a guy as you will ever meet in person and don’t wish to place myself on a pedestal. That said, as the Keeper of The Crimson Quill, I embrace every kind donation supplied. Belief is my friend, self-assurance my lover, and I implement both every single time I scribe. But my feet remain grounded at all times as this isn’t about coming across infallible or sporting a mask of immortality. General consensus is that a gift is something far better given than received and I fully endorse this theory. It worked out tidily for Santa Claus and he even got his own annual day for his troubles. Well there are 365 of them in every calendar year and I love nothing more than to empty my sack with a “ho! ho! ho!” All I ask is that you bypass the lousy mince pies and double up on doorstep whiskey.


Of course, my legacy is primarily dedicated to my six-year-old boy as I adored my own father and wish only for him to view me through the same wide-eyes. He is too young now for a formal introduction to my work and, when the time comes for further exploration, I may no longer be here in a physical sense. But my words have now been immortalized and I trust they will benefit him on his own journey into adulthood. Kindness trumps blindness, love conquers hate, pain can be overcome, and light is all around us if we just pay attention to its many sources. Should the grim reaper extend his spindly digit my way, then I shall accept my fate accordingly. Not saying I’m going to like it but my legacy is now in place so I’ll take what’s coming to me. Until that moment arrives, I have a job to do. Prose doesn’t write itself, my masterpiece only ever need be one article away, and the future is now one brimming with opportunity. Thank you all for accompanying me on this journey and, while our ultimate destination remains unclear at this time, it feels damn good to be heading in the right direction.

Click here to read Life of a Scribe






1 Comment

  1. This is a beautiful look into who you are and what you stand for. I always see a glimpse of you in your work, but this one was written by your soul. It is inspiring and uplifting.

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