I wrote the following short piece (300 words) for a competition. It was shortlisted. The exercise was interesting in that it challenged me to consider WHY I write. It’s a theme to which I’ll return.
WRITING AGAINST THE TIDE
“Midwinter spring is its own season.”
That line from “ Little Gidding “ haunts and defines me. I’m an old man in a young person’s game. Writing is not for one my age.
This is the P.C. Era, the era of Inclusiveness, Empowerment, Equality, Entitlement.
Balderdash! Tell that to the over-50s seeking jobs. Tell that to the over-60s wishing to do anything! Colonel Sanders, Grandma Moses, a Chinese politician or two; the list of new achievers over 60 is a short one.
I see it in their faces at the writing groups, kind but bemused. Young enough to be my children, even grandchildren. “ Why is he here? What is he doing? Who or what does he think he is?” Always polite, never patronising but their puzzlement is manifest.
It’s easy to see why. The legions emerging from the contemporary proliferation of degrees and qualifications in every aspect of writing, from creative to short story to novel , and more besides, have little time or room for the unorthodox, the outsider.
Ageism is soft, intangible, ephemeral and deniable. But no less true or formidable for that.
I write against the tide that is very much of and with the young , which regards my insights and experience uncomfortably and with some embarrassment. Always the unposed but ever present questions. “ Why Now? What was so valuable in your life that you did not write before? And what makes you think you have anything worthwhile to utter now?”
I write without hubris. I write because I am, to affirm who I am, what I am and what I think. I write for me and for anyone who cares to follow. Above all I write so that no one will ask later “ Why did he not write?”
August 28 2013