Swan Song

When I first began writing for The Houstonian, I would spend a small percentage of my time trying to figure out what type of people read my column. I eventually realized that it is impossible to look at person and figure out a thing like that, so I stopped playing such guessing games; but the experience gave me a new outlook on writing.

Because I wanted to reach as broad an audience as possible, but realizing that I would never truly know how many people read my work, I began an experiment in which I decided to write for everyone, and no one.

Simply put, I began writing as if everyone in the world read my work; while assuming that no one in the world read my work.

It was very humbling. Doing my best for the world too see — while under the assumption that no one had seen it — forced me to write for the pleasure of writing and not for recognition or money, and through this process I created some of my best material.

The phrase “swan song” originates from the ancient belief that a particular species of swan, found throughout Asia, remains completely mute during its lifetime, but will sing one heartbreakingly beautiful song just before it dies.

When used today, a swan song may refer to an individual’s final theatrical or dramatic appearance, or any final work or accomplishment.

This is my swan song.

As I approach graduation, I think about Sam Houston graduates of the past, those whom I never knew, and their own swan songs.

I wonder: who were the great writers at this university in 1997, the student leaders of 1987, or the top Greek organizations of ’77?

They have all graduated and moved on as have the faces, which followed them. For most, the impact we make at this university is only temporary; after we leave and the youngest freshman able to remember our name is gone what then?

New generations are ushered in, to stand where we once stood, there are new parties with new music that will not appeal to our ears, the shoes we once wore in our positions of power will be filled by smarter, younger versions of us – and I assure you: soon enough, it will be as though we never existed at all.


-Jamaal Bachelor

SHSU Graduate ’07

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