A number of years ago I told my niece’s husband not to worry that he (a young dad with a toddler son and new baby daughter) no longer had time to write. “You can write at any age,” I remember saying, giving several examples, including that of his aunt-in-law, who’s first published writing appeared when she was fifty.
Not long after that I read the term “Silver Scribbler” in an article by Marjorie Kehe published in The Christian Science Monitor of February 8, 2010. Kehe gave examples of many VERY mature successful authors, including Millard Kaufman. Kaufman was 86 when he began his first novel, A Bowl of Cherries, and 90 when it was published “to enthusiastic reviews,” Kehe says.
I know one of my favorite cozy mystery novels, The Maine Mulch Murders, was written by a woman in her late 80′s–I wish I could recall her name now.
It seems Nephew James has a long time to work on his writing career.
I know, only partly because I am a participant in two Facebook groups dedicated to senior writers (or as someone put it, “Prime Time Authors”), that most, if not all, reading this blog are what might be called Silver Scribblers, and that’s assuming we are allowed the title even if we color our hair. Yes, a writing career can take off after Social Security or some pension affords a cushion that allows us to spend time writing, and choosing our publishing pathways, until our writing begins to sell. We’ll probably never be rich, but we will be self-employed business owners, and that title is blessed by IRS standards!
By the way, speaking of the IRS–one of the mystery fan lists I participate in has recently had a discussion about whether or not a writer who hasn’t been paid for published work is truly an author. It began when someone’s nephew (I think it was a nephew) said she wasn’t really an author until she got money for her writing. Harumph. Fortunately, no one that I know of on that list supported the young man’s opinion. In fact, seems to me his statement is kinda like saying a waddling woman with a bulging belly and no “other” children can’t be called a mom. Say what?
Moving to yet a third topic, this one about the age of readers, not writers. I have just read a post on the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation Facebook group that quotes Bowker as saying 55% of works that publishers designate for kids 12 to 17 are sold to and read by adults over 18–the majority of those aged 30 to 44. Now, that sure gives one something to think about. “Why?” being the opening question.
Is it because the words in young adult stories are simpler — easier to grasp, and fewer adults are accomplished readers these days?
Is it because plots are also simpler, maybe less violent, less inclined to include stomach-turning details?
No, that really can’t be. Think of Harry Potter. Or are Harry, and books in a similar vein, the exception?
I’m puzzled. What do you think?