I have been writing my entire life, it seems.
Maybe a story or two as a youngster. My mother would be the better judge or historian on that count. By the time I reached high school I knew that putting things into words was something that I wanted to do. Needed to do. Had to do. It is very true, that old saw. Writers. Must. Write.
It’s like a sickness. Ideas come in a torrent sometimes, so fast and furious and silly and important and serious and farfetched and fabulous and screwed up and intimate and funny and sad and endless that it seems you can never ever get them all out of your head and onto the page or the screen. That being said, you know you must try. If you call yourself a writer, you must try.
So you do. Some of them, those baby ideas, they grow into the finest writing you have ever done. It moves you to tears as you write it. You can’t see to finish it, your vision is so blurry. You think that it will change the world. You relish the thought that millions will be moved by your stellar insight, your empathic stance, your knowledge and grasp of universal truths. You put the finished product out there, publish it, send it into the blogosphere or to the newspaper or to the bookstore and what happens? The tears that flow from the eyes of your readers are tears of derision, of laughter that makes them double over as they read the drivel that you thought would be the next wondrous thing. Sometimes, the things that I have written that I was most proud of were read by exactly no one.
But sometimes, oh, yes, sometimes, you have an idea so simple, so breathtakingly simple and pure and unadulterated that it comes straight out of your head and onto that page with little help from you. It has a life of its own, it flies out and organizes itself in lockstep and grammatical beauty in a stream of unconscious consciousness that is sometimes described as “being in the zone”. I vividly remember writing pieces that came upon my brain feverishly while I was in the shower, leapt onto my laptop in ten minutes and, to my surprise, were read by many hundreds of people.
Why this blog, Growing Older?
My father died suddenly at age sixty two. He was standing outside in the backyard by his pool and was struck, out of the blue, by a cerebral aneurysm. He “lived” long enough for me to rush home to speak with him, to tell him goodbye, but he was never conscious in my presence again.
I will be sixty two in October.
My wife tells me, quite emphatically, that I will live to the ripe old age of ninety six. Now, I don’t pretend to believe her but she insists, so maybe I have a lot more time to get these ideas out of my head than I think. At any rate, the tag line for this endeavor is “The Next Thirteen Years”. Why? Because if I keep my health, my sanity, my wits and my drive, I plan to work at least in some capacity, full time or part time, until I am seventy five years old. Thirteen years seems like a long time until you start letting time mess with your head, as it does when you get older. In some ways, I think it is going to fly by. In some ways, there will be a slow inexorable crawl toward releasing my grip on the daily grind and schedule of a workaday life. I dread it and welcome it and will cherish the process of getting there.
This post is just to say hi. I hope you will join me on this journey as I explore the thoughts that inhabit my head, the emotions that linger in my heart, the fears that keep me from my potential and the joys that make being an almost-sixty-two-year-old man at this time in this place so fabulous.
Look for my next post soon. It’s going to be raw, but real.