NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!


Julie Moffet . Clare London . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Monday, January 25, 2016

HOW OLD IS TOO OLD?


I just attended a talk by a renowned Canadian editor and publisher by the name of Douglas Gibson. He edited the likes of Robertson Davies, W.O. Mitchell, and Margaret Atwood… CanLit royalty. What was most interesting to me was the fact that he is “of a certain age.” He retired from editing and publishing at age 65, then reinvented himself as a writer, then as a performer. Now, at 72, he travels the country in a one-man play in which he dishes about the famous writers he edited.

A couple of years ago, I saw Maria Muldaur at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in Fredericton, New Brunswick. (Never been? Oh, you have to go. It’s a fabulous festival.) I’d always liked Maria Muldaur but had never seen her perform. She had to be escorted onto the stage (poor eyesight, I think). That’s when I took a look around the audience and noticed the predominance of gray and white heads. Hoo boy. I braced myself for a nostalgic trip led by a woman clearly past her prime.


Was I ever wrong. Maria Muldaur, also 72, blew me (and everyone else) away. She might have been past her prime, but she sure as heck found another prime along the way.

A few weeks ago, I read a post by Dean Wesley Smith in which he referenced a comment from a reader who regretted starting to write so late in life. Dean understood completely. He spoke about his own experience of feeling like he should have been writing his own, original work much earlier than he did. Then he asked, So what?

That’s my question, too. So what if you started writing at 50 or 60 or 90? Is it what you want to be doing? Does it bring you joy? Fill your well? Give you a reason to get up? Then who cares how old you are when you start?

I admit to a few moments of doubt. Moments when I wonder why I should bother, because really, isn't it rather late? But that's wrong-headed thinking. We should be grateful to have discovered our passion at all. Many people go through life puttering, with no idea what that fire in the belly feels like.

Besides, there are advantages to being an older writer. The kids are grown and (mostly) out of the house. You’re no longer the family chauffeur/breadwinner. Your career may be starting to wind down. All of which translates to more time to dedicate to learning your craft, practising and creating.

I’m approaching 60 and some days I feel like life is galloping by and it’s all I can do to hang on. I’ve got so many stories to write, and so much to learn about this writing stuff… I figure another 40 years ought to do it. Maybe.

Ask yourself how old you would be if you didn’t follow your dream, whatever that is. That’s right. You’d still be the same age, only not as happy. At least now, you’re doing what you were meant to do.

I find myself inspired by Douglas Gibson, Maria Muldaur, and Dean Smith. Who are your inspirations?



11 comments:

Rita said...

Marcelle,
You are right about following a dream. Unfortunately I didn’t until very late. I had it all along, but…. h*ll that’s another story. And what difference does it make when you start? We’re emerging from a media driven youth culture era. All the young icons of the last decades are getting older and they won’t be silenced. Good for us! As writers we have experience and something to say. Like you I have a gazillion stories to write and I’ve been doing just that. Such a relief to get them on paper and out of my head. Thanks for a great post.
Oh and I love DWS.

Anne Marie Becker said...

I agree that we're so lucky to have found our passion, no matter what our ages. I see people who float (or struggle) through life without a purpose, and it breaks my heart. There's so much out there to be passionate about, and that fire makes us feel truly alive. :)

Elise Warner said...

That makes three of us. Couldn't decide between writing and show biz in High School and finally chose theater. When I finally began writing all the stories began to emerge. I believe in reinventing yourself.

Cathy Perkins said...

Aren't we all constantly reinventing ourselves (wow, I hope so!) Times, industry, family circumstances, location, it's a constant evolution. Why should we constrain ourselves to "just" one passion? To just one time when it's "okay" to begin? I continue to grow and evolve and hope to keep doing so for a long time--and to share at least part of that journey with readers. :)

Wynter said...

What a thought-provoking post! I think it's never too late to start something as long as you enjoy the journey. I must admit that I'm envious of young writers who realized their desire to be authors early in life. That wasn't me. But at least I found my path it was too late, as all of us here did.

Marcelle Dubé said...

Rita, everything you did before starting down your path led to the great storyteller you are today, so it's all good. And I love DWS, too. Blunt but honest.

Anne Marie, that's it exactly.

Amen, Elise. I know I'm not the same person I was 30 years ago... or even three years ago. We have to keep growing and learning, don't we?

What Cathy said.

Thanks, Wynter. I'm envious of young writers, too. But the only advantage they have over me, I think, is that they will have mastered their craft at a younger age than me. I have the advantage of age and experience. Or so I keep telling myself...

Maureen A. Miller said...

Writing is ageless. Heck, you know me. I idolize Gladys Knight. She can belt those tunes out greater than anyone a quarter of her age.

At this ripe old age of mine, I'm thinking of trying out fishing. I fear that if I actually catch something I might shriek and throw the whole pole into the lake with the fish still attached...but hey, we're never too old to try something new. :)

Marcelle Dubé said...

Absolutely, Maureen! I'm planning to learn how to read music when I retire from wage work. After that, I might even try a musical instrument. I've always loved the violin...

jean harrington said...

Marcelle, This post sang to me. Creativity knows no age--that's what I tell myself, anyway. Thank you for touching a chord. Your old writing pal, Jean

Josh Lanyon said...

Age is just a number. So long as you stay healthy. Healthy brain and healthy body.

But staying healthy and a writing career don't always go hand-in-hand, and that's the real challenge.

Marcelle Dubé said...

You're welcome, Jean.

And Josh... ain't that the truth!

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