Vicki McLeod

Untrending: Thinking in terms of legacy

New book, like new council, collaborative effort.

As I write this, I’m putting the finishing touches on a book manuscript. It will be sent to the editor in the morning, and following about a month of substantive edits, it will go into the hands of a copy editor to take care of things like commas and periods.

After that, it will be readied for print. The book will be released in March 2019. I’ve had the privilege of co-writing the manuscript with my friend and colleague Angela Crocker. Angela is well known as a digital thought-leader, offering expertise in a wide range of digital life skills. This book is her fifth and my second. The book has been a collaborative effort and a labour of love.

It required us to first craft a shared vision regarding what the manuscript would be and what shared perspective we’d take. We devised an outline, a list of resources, a meeting schedule and set manuscript milestones.

Then we had to roll up our sleeves and write. As we dug into research and explored topics, new ideas emerged and we negotiated changes as we incorporated our new findings. Our aim: always to make the manuscript better.

The book is called Digital Legacy Plan: a guide to the personal and practical elements of your life before death. It will be published by Self Counsel Press and it is already listed for advance sale on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.uk and Barnes and Noble. It’s the real deal. The subject matter is sensitive, death being a relatively taboo subject, and writing about it forced us to look at our feelings about death and dying and our own digital footprints. We’ve had to step back at times and give each other room to reflect on losses, revisit our own grief. We’ve had to really listen to each other and respond with empathy and respect.

It’s taken a kind of personal leadership from both of us to ease our project over the bumpy spots, and stay focused on reasons why the book matters. I’m writing about this, partly because digital legacy planning is an interesting subject for a column, but also because Saturday is election day.

What’s important is that you vote. For those who are running, what’s important is what comes after the vote. At the end of the day, we will have a newly elected mayor, council and school board. For some, this will be a completely new role. Others will bring experience with them.

Collaboration is not easy. It requires skillful communication and buckets of good intentions. It will be important that our new civic leaders find their way to a shared vision for the community. They will need to practice a kind of give-and-take and a willingness to negotiate and find common interests that are not required while campaigning, but is crucial to governing.

They will need to see big picture, and at the same time grasp a vast array of new information.

Angela and I chose to work together. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and we have a good measure of our capacity to stickhandle our differences.

For the newly elected, it’s a different story. They will be working with people that they may not know, or whose platforms they opposed. Still, they will be called upon to make decisions collaboratively, for the good of the whole.

For some people, certain issues are more emotional than others. Some may be heavily attached to promises made during the election and focus on quick outcomes. Others may take a longer view.

Perspective is everything, and a shared one is hard won. Decisions taken now will have an impact quite possibly far into the future.

Given the context of my book project, I can’t help but think in terms of legacy. The people we elect tomorrow carry the future in the hands. It is the community they are stewarding, and their legacy belongs to all of us.

vickimcleod.com.

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