Tag Archive for: aging

“Do you know what Dad did?”

We’ve talked about transitions this month. Transitions in our writing careers. Transitions in manuscripts. A different kind of transition has been keeping me up at night–transitions in families. Perhaps it isn’t surprising. After all, “family” is a central theme in my stories for a reason. 


These days, my sleepless nights begin with a call from my brother: “Do you know what Dad did this time?” 


Aging is weird enough in this country. Didn’t the Baby Boomers firmly establish that they would never get old? Oh wait, that’s a different story. This one is called, Your Parents Are Getting Old.






Now we’ve all heard about the hip grandpa who programs his TV and house security with his smartphone. Mine routinely calls AOL (from his landline since he forgets to charge his cell) and asks them for his password. One of my neighbors (my husband and I want to be Holly when we grow up) not only plays a great game of golf, he took up roping calves at age 80. At 82, he competes on the rodeo circuit. Instead of tying cattle with ropes, my dad is tethered to an oxygen generator. 


Life is a roll of the dice, right? Genetics, life style, accidents, wrong place/wrong time. No way to know what we’ll be like when we reach our 80s. So my approach to the single remaining member of my personal “great generation” is hugs and love you’s. 


Those two expressions make us feel valued. They nurture our souls, offering emotional and physical well being for both the giver and the recipient. Think about how often you shared them with your children, your friends and your spouse. Unfortunately (hmm, another transition?) the frequency seems to lessen with age. While you may be thinking about a jerk of an ex right now, I remember after my mother-in-law died, how my father-in-law craved touch. A simple pat on the arm, a hug. I see you. You aren’t alone. 


This weekend, instead of heading to New Orleans for Bouchercon, the mystery/suspense conference, I’m bound for my hometown. I’ll sit with my father for what I suspect may be the last time. To give him a hug and say not just “I love you,” but also, “Tell Mama I still love and miss her, when you see her in heaven.”

***



Cathy Perkins started writing when recurring characters and
dialogue populated her day job commuting daydreams. Fortunately, that first
novel lives under the bed, but she was hooked on the joy of creating stories.
When not writing, she can be found doing battle with the beavers over the pond
height or setting off on another travel adventure. Born and raised in South
Carolina, she now lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs
and the resident deer herd.



Catch up with her on Facebook or Twitter.

Transitioning in Age and Writing

Transitioning in Age and Writing by Debra H. Goldstein

For the past few months, many
members of the Stiletto Gang have given you the opportunity to learn about our
similarities and differences through our 4th Thursday Clicking Our
Heels column or by interpreting the same topic in one of our monthly
posts.  Unfortunately, although I usually
pull Clicking Our Heels together, I’ve missed the monthly topics because my
travel schedule necessitated pre-scheduling my blog post before it was picked.  Not this month!  This time, you get my take on whether my
maturity as a writer (translate that to transition in chronological years) affects
my manuscripts.
The problem addressing this topic is
that even as the years pass, I don’t think I’ve matured yet.  Sure, I know more of my strengths (plotting)
and weaknesses (I’m reserved in life and have to go back and let you know more
of my characters’ inner thoughts), but I’m a writing neophyte.  I only began seriously writing in the past
five years. 
What comes to mind when you think of
a five-year-old? Curiosity? Incessant why, what, when, where

questions?
Exploration? Or, perhaps that adorable moment when the whirlwind falls asleep?

For the first few years, I punted. I
often was too naïve to ask the right questions, but I observed. Today, my
writing life is exactly like a five-year-old. 
I can’t soak up enough knowledge. 
Whether

I’m reading, taking a class, or talking to someone, I want to
learn everything.  Sometimes, I pick up a
habit or a concept that impresses me, but isn’t right for my writing. Other
times, I have a eureka lightbulb moment during which my writing jumps to a new
level.  Hopefully, the result of my
five-year-old wonder is that both my short and long pieces have improved. 

Whether I’m writing flash fiction, a
six-thousand-word story, or a novel, the length is dictated by what is required
to share the tale with you rather than my maturity as a writer. I remove boring
parts more easily because I am a better editor than I was five years ago, but
those edited parts may be replaced by longer passages of enhanced
characterization.


So, my answer as to whether maturity affects the
length of my manuscript is “It depends.” The only thing I am certain of is my
prayer that as I transition in years, my writing never loses the wonder of
being a five-year-old

Things Aren’t What They Used to Be

Things Aren’t What They Used to Be by Debra H. Goldstein

I am a dinosaur.  The signs have been there for awhile – my friends are talking about or getting plastic surgery, cruise brochures are more exciting than the ones we looked at when we booked a trip to climb The Great Wall of China eight years ago, and I know what writers are talking about when they refer to the day they traded in their Royal or Olympia typewriters for an electric Smith Corona (remember the hard-shell case?).  More importantly, somewhere in the last few years I opted to work with a trainer so that I can stay fit without injuring myself.

My trainer is the one who brought my age home to me.  I was making my usual jokes about not being quite as flexible and he was giving me his usual assurances that I was doing fine even if I can’t touch my toes, do ups and downs, or hold a plank position for more than a few seconds. “I’ve never been much of an athlete.  In fact, in gym class or team sports, I was the kid everyone wanted to make captain so I wouldn’t actually bring the team down with my athletic prowess and because I could figure out and effectively utilize everyone else’s strengths and weaknesses so we usually won.”

The trainer smiled and tapped his head.  “Intellect,” he said.  “Very important.”  I agreed.
“That’s what Jeopardy players have and I enjoy watching the show everyday when I’m on the treadmill.  I understand those players go through a whole set of tests.”

“They do.  I was a contestant.”

“You met Alex Trebeck?  I think he’s fantastic!  What was he really like?”

“Actually, Art Fleming was the host when I did the show.”

“Never heard of him. Who’s he?”

“The original host of Jeopardy.”

My trainer looked at me as if I had lost my mind and then I realized where the disconnect was coming from.  “I was on the show in 1974.”

“I wasn’t even born then.”

I got it.  He’ll never know who Art Fleming, Smith Corona, or probably even John F. Kennedy was. It’s a shame.

20 Something

by Bethany Maines

One of my friends recently
complained that during an after work outing some twenty-something co-workers
wanted to go to a popular (aka crowded bar) and once there had wanted to leave
again (for another popular bar) because someone’s crush was present, but it was
all an “awkward love triangle!” Having had just about enough of that nonsense,
my friend co-opted the group and went to a less crowded bar where everyone
could hear each other AND sit down at the same time. Her conclusion?  “Man, is it nice to no longer be in my
twenties!” 
The thought made me laugh because
I could not agree more, but I do remember the angst of turning 29 and realizing
that all marketing was no longer going to be aimed at me!  If movies, music, and all popular culture
is no longer aimed at me how can I possibly validate my self-worth?  Oh wait, that’s right; I was never that
cool to begin with.  This was
probably strongly correlated to the high premium I placed on sleep.  If I wasn’t going to get at least 8
hours of sleep then the night-club we were going to had better dang well be
AWESOME, or it just wasn’t worth it. 
On the other hand, it does make
writing younger characters problematical. How do I realistically write a
twenty-something when I find all that gadding about just a little bit
silly?  Yes, that’s how old I am –
I use the word “gad”.  Well of
course, I could try using my imagination (What? A writer using their
imagination? P’shaw!).  Aging does
make me worry about the authentic feel of characters I never used to worry about.  Actually, aging makes me worry about
plenty of things that I never used to worry about.  Like, drinking out of a hose; when I was 10 we did this all
the time.  It never used to cross
my mind that it could have something wrong with it.  But maybe the ignorance of youth is double-edged sword.  Perhaps I will later get hose cancer
and perhaps the twenty-something characters I wrote in my twenties weren’t all
that great.  Or perhaps I should
just stop worrying and write with the same gusto that I did in the twenties,
trusting that it will all work out, and then go drink out of the hose, because
really it’s the same water that goes into my kitchen faucet, and the hoses
under the sink are made of rubber too and honestly it’s not going to matter any
more or less than the donut I might be having for dessert.

Bethany Maines is the author of
the Carrie Mae Mystery series and 
Tales from the City of Destiny. You can also view the Carrie Mae youtube
video or catch up with her on 
Twitter and
Facebook.