Tuesday, December 3, 2019


Yup, another ISM for you

When I was twelve years old, I had a friend who naturally waxes philosophical. Her utterances made her the perfect friend for me, because I had an unquenched thirst for meaning, and still do.

And so, when she sighed and said, “From the moment we’re born we start aging,” I gasped and realized I was on a march to old age, and it wasn’t thrilling to my then self.

Many years later, this process has gained concreteness but lost the darkness I felt then. This is because of unexpected peace I gained over the years, (something no twelve-year-old imagination contained) and the recognition that what I love to do best I am doing better all the time.

Which brings me to the matter of ageism in the writing world.

A year ago, another writer, wise and talented a storyteller as you'll ever find, wrote to me about her experience of ageism: “...Each book I write is better than the last, and everything I write now is better than anything I got published then. But none of it matters, except to the extent that growing craft is good for its own sake. God sees, and that matters most.
But in spite of all that — yes, I wish writing and publishing goodness still ahead for us both.”

Older writers are better writers. But let’s not go the other way and hold it against the young’uns, either.

ISMs are not good for our souls, ever yearning for meaning.


Johnell said...

That's a good quotable. "ISMs aren't good for the soul."

Vijaya said...

You have very quotable friends, Mirka. Perhaps she would be intrigued by a short story about Benjamin Button who grows younger as time passes. I think it was even made into a movie.

I was quite young when I realized how fragile life is, how we never know when God will call us to our eternal home and rest. And holy smokes, that quote about getting better and better could've been written by a dear friend of mine. I pray that all our stories that yearn to be read will find their audience.

Kelly Hashway said...

I never go back and read what I wrote years ago, because unlike my appearance, my writing gets better with age. ;)

Sue said...

I thought this was going to be a discussion of older writers (and editors, too) who are struggling with prejudice due to their age. ;-)

Mirka Breen said...

And I thought it is exactly that, Sue.
(Only I'm prejudiced for older writers ;-0)

We are: Clamco said...

I think I am just an overall better person than I was when I was young. I have figured out important things way too late in life. I wish I knew/felt/tried/did certain things when I was 25. I'd be so awesome by now. lol

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Nice post. It's true that writing improves with time — but I still have to take my hat off to younger writers who run circles around me. (I'm at the shorter end of the road, Lol.) Still, I'm happy with my own results. (I just had a cozy mystery released last week, and this summer a poetry collection was accepted by a publisher.) But I do think the publishing world suffers from ageism — especially the big "power houses" who think of continued sales or agents who are starting their careers with new writers they hope will keep going. I've been fortunate to find publishers who don't look at writing THAT way and just look at whether your writing fits with what they want to publish.

MirkaK said...

I read a book about artists/writers and the issue as to the difference between those who create great work early in life but then fizzle out after initial brilliance and those who get better over time. In this moment,I don't remember the title and author. It's not surprising that, in creativity as in life, there's no single way for each and every one of us. Not all of us improve with age, but I hope most of us do.