Over the past six months or so, I have become increasingly aware of an author named Mario V. Farina via Smashwords, reading several dozen of his published works. His bio states that he is ninety-three years old. He writes short stories of fiction, science fiction and more. He writes poetry and non-fiction works and even essay pieces.
To my knowledge, you’re probably not going to find his books in your local bookstore or at the brick-and-mortar Barnes and Noble downtown. You’re going to find his works in ebook format at Amazon and Smashwords. I don’t think he charges a penny at Smashwords for all of the work that he puts into writing, and seemingly he’s cranking out five-hundred to twenty-five hundred words a day. He doesn’t appear to be using some fancy New York editor, either.
I’m glad I found Mr. Farina’s work several months ago because there are over seven billion people on Earth, and if I limit my reading to only those hundred or so chosen by the publishing houses for their ability to write exactly the same type of thing everybody else is writing, I miss an opportunity to learn from a guy like Mr. Farina, who lived through the Depression and fought in World War II.
Some of his short stories read like they were plucked out of a time-capsule from the fifties (in the best way possible). The first time I read one, I kept waiting for the protagonist to do something morally ambiguous. When I realized it wasn’t coming, I thought, “Wow, a surprise ending! Brilliant!” Seriously, that’s how hardwired I am to expect the same kind of story from everybody who writes stories.
In the essay pictured above (and linked below), At Ninety-Three Can I Tell You Something?, Mr. Farina writes about something that I think a lot about. I think so much about it that I quit my job when I was thirty-four years old to go back to school and become a teacher. In the essay, he urges you to consider what your legacy will be, without using that specific word. What type of impact will you have? Will you fail to become the next Stephen King, quit writing, and start selling time-shares? Or will you write and write and write, believing in the value of your writing so much that you make sure as many human beings as possible will read it? Will you spend your life working a job that sucks? Or will you do something that matters? For myself, as I said before, I decided to quit my job and teach elementary school, for the exact reasons Mr. Farina writes about. I get to work with the next generation of kids, and have some small impact on the lives of hundreds, and maybe (if I live long enough) thousands of kids.
Maybe I will have the pleasure of teaching English to the next Stephen King? Or the next Mario V. Farina?
So… What is your legacy going to be?
Here’s the link to the short essay pictured at the top of he page. While you’re there, click on his author page and check out some of his stories.
Thanks for reading! If you are so inclined, go pick up my book (available on Kindle or paperback) at Amazon. It’s called “Jamey Jones and the Sons of Noah.” It’s a fun science fiction book about a group of teenagers living on a planet called Kepler 438b. It’s seventy pages long, inexpensive, and it’s kinda good, even if I say so myself.