Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Writers, Publishers, And The Awful Stigma Of Aging

  Of late it seems people are commenting on my age more than I can ever recall. In part I guess it’s due to the fact that my son arranged in September a great and creative 80th birthday bash for me. There were about forty people, a roasted pig, a "zip-line" erected from my deck to a large tree some 150 yards away for me to ride (an item in my bucket), and a singing group who resurrected an old tune from the seventies that I played on my sailboat when we went cruising from Dana Point to Catalina Island, and that my son rolled his eyes and moaned every time I started singing the lyrics to Soul Shadows; understand please, he was a heavy metal surfer in those days. The group had a beautiful vocalist, Chelsea Poole, my grandson, son, and a relative of my ex-wife; and, all playing guitars. They rehearsed for a week before, and I never suspected. Well, I grew up in the school of men don't cry; but, when they began I couldn't hold back. So I've changed and the heavy metal-dude had also changed. This brings me to my point ... Change!

  The last fifty years, starting back in the sixties, have been marinated in bitter sweet pursuit of societal upheavals; some now permanently part of our cultural fabric; and in my opinion, mostly for the better.  Again referring to the way I was taught, "old" people were put out to pasture, and like little kids, were to be seen and not heard, and even the ”be seen” was sometimes eliminated, as they were put into homes; Old Folks Homes as they were called. Generally you never saw them again unless you went to visit. So be it … this is not going to be a pity party. That was then and this is now.

  I have tried to take moderately good care of myself, physically and mentally. I have “routines’ I practice, that for me are fun and not drudgery to help increase my mental capabilities, and physical being.

  For one thing, I write and have a blog, thanks to my niece Janet. She encourages me to post blogs on my thoughts and to make five or six minute videos while hiking around Windsong Ranch where I live. At first I was reticent and thought that would be assuming of me. Not anymore and why you ask not anymore … because I’m changing, improving, maturating, whatever it’s called.

  I do games on the “puter” that strengthen and improve such cognitive features as Pattern recognition, and a whole host of other fun things, for about fifteen minutes a day, or longer if I’m really into the process that day.

  Each day I walk around Windsong Ranch and pick up after my friends the trees. They have small branches that the winds shear off. It takes about half an hour to do so and I probably bend over about fifty or sixty times in the process. Of course there are the normal maintenance chores that I also enjoy doing, which everyone has in their lives.

  For social activities I host a writer’s forum once a month at my home. Generally five to six writers and we critique each other’s manuscripts, always in a constructive manner. We eat a lunch of pizza, drink some beer or wine, and then chat amongst ourselves; no politics or religion. We are each genuinely fond of our group.

  My two beautiful granddaughters come over for lunch (Raman Noodles which my doctor forbids me to eat … so don’t let her see this blog). We chat and learn from each other. We of course have our differences, and sometimes have to choke them back and not be judgmental.

  As to my writing, I have many more novels, short stories, poetry, and blogs in me and I regret that publishers discriminate against older writers. Their big bug-a-boo is they want younger writers who are, in their view, more in touch with societal morays; and, most importantly, have enough years left to churn out another twenty or so novels for the editors to recoup their initial publishing investment for a start-up writer. Okay, Mr. Publisher, go with that then. Yet when I talk with those younger than me they seems to appreciate what I share with them and I too value their perspectives.

  But here comes the internet and the Vanity Press with offers to publish manuscripts, for a price. They don’t give a hoot about the writer’s demographics. Today, also, there are niches in the digital world where people go to find or construct their “BRAND” for marketing purposes. I’m still forming that concept in my mind and then will follow that process of getting my work out there. Anyone have any ideas for this author?
 
 
 

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