By Victoria Krukenkamp
SC Staff Writer
East Stroudsburg University’s chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success hosted a live broadcast of Brad Meltzer’s “How To Write Your Own Obituary,” on Tuesday, February 26, 2013, in Beer’s Lecture Hall, as a part of the society’s commitment to bring success oriented students together to recognize and achieve their goals.
The lecture was part of an ongoing series presented by the society, with previous speakers like celebrity Hillary Duff, and the former New York City Mayor and Presidential Nomination hopeful, Rudy Giuliani. East Stroudsburg University, ESU, Chapter President Amber Anderson and Co-Advisor Tiffany Smith organized this particular broadcast.
Brad Meltzer is a New York Times bestselling author of eight books, two of which have risen to #1 on the New York Times bestselling list. His latest novel, The Fifth Assassin, was published in January of this year, and has already risen high on the best sellers list. Meltzer is also the host of his own History Channel series that explores history’s mysteries and conspiracies, Brad Meltzer’s Decoded.
The macabre title of the lecture was inspired by an interview that Meltzer gave to a reporter from the Wall Street Journal, after Meltzer had made a commitment to help restore and preserve the house in Cleveland, Ohio, in which the character Superman was created. During the interview, the reporter told Meltzer that his efforts to preserve the house would be included in his obituary.
Meltzer was so intrigued by the reporter’s comment that he spent a year contemplating the question of what his obituary would say.
“I couldn’t shake that question,” Meltzer said. “What’s going to be in my obituary? When I die, what are they going to say about me? How am I going to be remembered?”
Finally, Meltzer decided to seek out the answers by asking the reporter to write his obituary for him.
“I finally went back to the reporter from the Wall Street Journal,” said Meltzer. “I want to hire you. I want to hire you for a job, I want you to write my obituary.”
The reporter for the Wall Street Journal acquiesced to Meltzer’s request, and he soon sent Meltzer an email with the obituary attached. Meltzer was so anxious to read the obituary that he skipped over the text in the body of the email, and began to read the attachment. What Meltzer missed in the body of the email was an explanation from the reporter that he had been called away to a job and was unable to complete the obituary, but he had sent what he could.
As Meltzer came to the end of the obituary, he found the unfinished sentence, “He was a…” which inspired the writer to look at his life and finish the obituary for himself.
“It’s a perfect metaphor. Was I good? Was I bad? Did I achieve greatness?” Asked Meltzer. “What was I?”
Meltzer then asked his audience to contemplate, “How are you going to be remembered?”
Meltzer explained that the audience must separate two things; the things that they would write about themselves, and the things that others would write about them. He reminded the audience that they do not get to write their own obituary, and that they must consider the people in their lives in order to figure out what their legacy would be.
Meltzer asked to audience to consider the people that would write their obituary as their legacy. “Who will remember you?” he asked. For the answer, he divided the people into the four categories of family, friends, community, and strangers. He encouraged the audience to think about the people in their own lives that fit into these categories. He then asked the audience to contemplate what it is that they had achieved that these people would remember them for.
Meltzer’s general purpose was to motivate the audience to go on with their lives to achieve all the greatness they could imagine for themselves, but to do so humbly and honestly.
“Dream big,” Meltzer said. “Work hard. Stay Humble.”
Email Victoria at: