Monday, October 18, 2010

Memento Mori

I avoid looking at my reflection in the morning. It tells the obvious, that I'm no longer in my prime. A horrible way to begin the day, negative thoughts the same as getting up on the wrong side of the bed. Yet, there it is. I'm fifty-six and with the number I view my life's accomplishments and goals.

To date I've completed three novels, which sounds monumental but really it's like a tree falling in the forest. Unpublished, all three, unpublished. The silently falling tree. I'd be lying if I said I didn't care, but I do care. Deep down I feel they're worthy reads, but as you have read, I'm now fifty-six. Publishing is for the younger writer, ones who have years left to produce...

Or so I've been told. In fact I once read an article written by two prominent New York literary agents who agreed that publishers look for youth and not writers moving to a retirement community in Florida.

So today, after avoiding the mirror, I made coffee, wrote in my journal and then opened the daily newspaper. Second page news, but worthy of this blog, I read that author Belva Plain passed away over the weekend. She was 95.

More newsworthy than her death is her life. Belva Plain published her first novel when she was 63. SIXTY-THREE! And as startling as that number, not only was her first novel made into a mini-series, buy thereafter she continued on the bestseller trail, her last book published in 2008 when she was 93.

Dare I thumb my nose at the naysayers, or those who feel youth has an edge in today's society? What's with those younger agents I mentioned above? I recall my feelings after reading their article (published in Writers' Digest, just can't recall the year), ones I shared with other writers, some younger than I. The young-bloods somewhat agreed with the agents. Apparently older writers aren't as marketable as the younger writers, or so their argument indicated.

Had these people ever heard of Belva Plain? Quite honestly, I had but never knew her back story, one that has since recharged my attitude on the aging process. Her life bolstered my opinion about youth, that it's wasted on the young.

Talent knows no age and if a person relies on the chronology of their birth then shame on them for giving up. Shame on me for buying into the opinion of others.

Today I thank the Universe for people such as Belva Plain. I cling to her example, her persona the life-line I needed reminding me that age is merely a number, not a credential.

Long live Belva Plain.


Natasha Fondren said...

Totally! Wow, I've read her stuff, but I didn't realize her age. Another blogging friend of mine, Bernita Harris, just had her first book published after her fifties, and she's a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant writer.

Good luck, Kath! *hugs*

Kath Calarco said...

Natasha, I hope I'm brilliant, lol. Thanks for the good wishes. :-)