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June, 2009

"Don't Give Up"

by Webmaster

A few years ago, Bob Turner called me "the Grandma Moses" of songwriting.

I was offended. First, I'm not THAT old! Second, I was an English Lit major in college. I've spent a lifetime reading, enjoying word play, and writing. Surely my songs aren't that primitive.

But, I learned to improve my musicianship from the truth in Bob's criticisms. And, I learned to appreciate the rare complement from him. He liked my songwriting, recorded one of my songs ("Already Gone" ) and put it on his latest CD, "Nice Place to Visit." He was a happy as I was when the song was selected for inclusion on the 2007 Colorado Bluegrass Music Society Compilation CD "A Collection of Songs from 'Bands on Call' IV."

It turned out that he was surprised that I was being creative while in my '50's. So many people are creative when they're young, then they burn out, get tired, run out of things to say. But, here I was, semi-retired, and starting a new (potential) career based on a life-long passion.

Well, I'm a firm believer in second childhoods. Or thirds. I try to keep a young outlook. Some might say "childish" but I don't listen to them. Nyah nyah nyah!

I was gratified to see the article in the May 2009 AARP Bulletin, "Write On Past Age 50," by Bill Hogan.

"Aiming to write the great American novel? There's hope. Nearly a dozen of the annual best-selling novels of the past 50 years* [sic] have been created by American authors in their 50s, 60s and 70s—some of whom turned to writing after other careers."

The article listed 11 writers whose best-sellers were published when the writers were over 50. It also listed some of their previous professions, not all of which were successful.

I found myself wondering, though, how old were these writers when their first successful novels were published. Jean Auel was listed. The novel Hogan chose to list was the fourth in her "Earth's Children" series. It was published when she was 54. But, she'd been a professional writer for many years before that.

Now, the purpose of this article seems to be encouragement for the senior readers to be creative and to silence the inner voice that says, "Don't waste your time. You're too old." I certainly agree with that message.

If you think you're too old to write a novel or a song, or paint a picture, you probably are. But that's self-limitation, negative thinking, an excuse for fear of failure. It is NOT reality.

Why let age stop you? The Traveling Wilburys said it best in their song, "End of the Line:"

"Well it's all right, even if you're old and gray
Well it's all right, you still got something to say"

Perhaps I have a short attention span, but I believe in trying new things when given the opportunity. I believe in reinventing myself when I need to. I want to end my life remembering the things I did, not regretting the things I didn't do.

So, if you want to write a song or a novel, or paint a picture, follow Nike's advice: "Just do it." And, if you're lucky, maybe you'll be the next "Grandma (or Grandpa) Moses."

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