Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
My post: No long answer to this month's question- just for those who don't know it is "if you ever did stop writing, what would you replace it with?" Nothing could replace writing in my life. It is how I find out who I am and how I fit in the world. I do lots of things that I love - painting, gardening, psychotherapy, stitching, cooking, but writing is the rock on which everything else is perched.
Today I want to talk about late bloomers. Maybe it is because I've been gardening or perhaps just the reading I've been doing, but I'm a late bloomer in the world of publishing. I've steadily written for as long as time but having one's first novel published at the age of 70 is something else. I guess I'm thinking about it because my book launched on June 10th last year and just about now my fella, dog and I were travelling the 2000 kilometers to Labrador in order to do so. It was a very heady time for me - fruitional I suppose. In many ways I'm glad I didn't get one of my heart's desires until I was this age. I didn't start dating (dating?) the man I'd been hoping to find until I was fifty (21 years this month) and oh my goodness but he was well worth waiting for. We both needed to ripen a bit to have the sweet time we have. So, sticking with the garden metaphor, I planted lots of gardens both emotionally and creatively before something bloomed good and proper.
This makes me very interested in other late bloomers or steady producers! I just finished the autobiography of Elizabeth Jane Howard. Last year I read her Cazalet Chronicles - five novels of hefty size that follow the life of a family in England starting just before WW2 is declared. She started that series of books when she was in her sixties and they were her most well-known and popular books. Another of my favourite novelists is Mary Wesley who had a number of children's books published but had her first adult novel Jumping the Queue when she was 71. She went on to become a most prolific writer (may I be so blessed) my favourite of which is The Camomile Lawn. In other art forms we have the very famous Grandma Moses who began her painting career in her seventies. Norman Maclean wrote his phenomenal novel (the only one he wrote) A River Runs Through It when he was in his mid-seventies. Here is a few more - Jean Rhys who had Wide Sargasso Sea published at the age of 76 (not her first but most known). Harriet Doerr finished her Stanford degree at age 67 and won a National Book Award for Stones for Ibarra at the age of 73. And I could go on!
I went back to university when I was forty. My kids were gone on to lead their lives and I was single and decided that heck I would try. One thing that decided me was that I whinged to someone that I would be 46 by the time I got my degree. "And how old will you be in six years if you don't go back to school?" they asked. Smack!
By the way - a year after having my novel debut I am debuting as an artist at a group show near where I live. Woo hoo!