Aging with, maybe, some grace

Without going into detail, let’s just say that statistically speaking, I’m in the second half of life. I celebrate my birthday the way I always have, by indulging in some of my favorite things. This year that meant putting together a collection of family recipes I’d promised my son and making a couple of pillows I’d promised my daughter, using vintage fabric stashed away by a dear woman who left this world earlier this year, having collected decades more birthdays that I.

Like most moms, I love anything that connects me with my children, even though they’re grown and don’t need much from me anymore. And making something new from something old – a new book of old favorite foods, a fresh use for a sixties-style print that’s fashionable again – gives me the same sort of pleasure I get from writing, where the old stuff jostling around in my brain keeps managing to assemble itself into new and surprising creations.

I understand the concepts of writer’s block and “filling the well,” but I don’t have much personal experience with them. People ask me what I’m working on, and I’m not sure where to start. There’s the picture book project that goes to committee next month, and the fun middle-grade novel written with a friend that’s now waiting for its turn at revision. There’s the YA novel that’s as polished as a pebble in a fast-moving creek, thanks to all its brushes with publication. And there’s the genre novel I’ve finished and set aside till I can figure out what more it needs before it goes to market, and a third or so of a mainstream novel with what feels like good promise and energy, once I do some serious work on the first hundred pages.

Old woman in a shoe syndrome hovers over my writing life. Politely, no one asks (but surely they wonder) how she got herself in that predicament. I suspect in my case it has something to do with hedging my bets and women who do too much. I’m generally good at finishing what I start, and I’m not terrifically put off by rejection. Coming into myself as a writer, I’ve finally learned to let go of projects when I sense they’re not working.

I also spent part of my birthday writing a poem and sorting through some of the letters my mother and I exchanged in a memoir-ish project we began a couple of years ago. This is daily cause for celebration: that what I do for work is also what I do for fun. Oh, and I treated myself to two birthday books: The Poet’s Companion and Thanks, But This Isn’t for Us. Full reports to follow – when I can work them in.

2 thoughts on “Aging with, maybe, some grace”

  1. Andromeda Romano-Lax

    Happy Birthday Deb, and congratulations on the wonderful cabin as well. It sounds like a great place to read and write, and you deserve it.

    Even with all that travel and writing, you've kept the week loaded with interesting posts (while I've been slacking…) and detailed updates — thanks yet again for that!

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top