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Also, I'm a pundit for the American Daily Herald if you'd like to follow my column: American Daily Herald--Vicki H. Moss

Posted July 8, 2012,


Andy Griffith recently passed on at 86 to stand before the pearly gates. Andy was an actor, comedian, television producer, singer (country, bluegrass & southern gospel), and a writer. As we've seen in the life of this active man and others, the most productive years of your life can be from 65 to 95.

Alfred Tennyson wrote a spectacular poem, "Crossing the Bar" at the age of 83.

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Greek philosopher, Socrates, learned to play musical instruments when he was 80.

Johann von Goethe finished Faust.

John Wesley, at 88, was directing, preaching, and guiding Methodism.

Cios Simonides won the prize for poetry at 80.

At 92, Leopold von Ranke commenced his History of the World.

Roman patriot, Marcus Porcius Cato, learned Greek at 80.

The Bible says, "They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing." Psalm 92:14

I don't know about fat, heh-heh, but fluffy would be okay.

We know that as man's body slows down gradually with advancing years, the mind in reality, never grows old. I remember my dad saying, "In my mind, I'm still a twenty-year-old man." He was 83. I found that revelation interesting since his body had slowed down and his poor reflex performance when driving was the catalyst that made me say, "Dad, you really need to let me run all of your errands for you."

Both of my parents' minds were sharp before their passing though their bodies had worn a tad ragged.

"But I have early signs of dementia," you say. There's always hope, prayer, and miraculous healings. When reading Emily Sue Harvey's book Cocoon, I sent her an email. "Emily Sue, you've told me that some of your novels have scenes based on true events. Tell me the two miracles in Cocoon truly happened in real life. She wrote back, "Vicki, they sure did. I can get documentation from one doctor to prove it." I'm looking at that documentation from Dr. Robert E. Jackson of Spartanburg, SC -- The Family Doctor Speaks Blog -- now. And his story about a patient's miraculous healing is fascinating and encouraging.

So how do we progress through life? I think the key to being happy at any age is to begin new projects. Take a painting class. Study something new. Open the mind to new discoveries. Start the first chapter of that book you've always wanted to write. My mother did give me one of her paintings, however, she told me once, "I'd really like to write a book." Unfortunately, she never took out pen and paper to jot down notes for the first chapter. I so wish I could hold in my hands a novel or a memoir, something she'd written. To get information from the mind and memory onto the page, decisive action must take place.

For writers, writing is key to getting a final revision published. There's no way around putting words on paper or keying words onto a computer unless you hire a ghost writer or collaborate on a book and your contribution is verbal.

"But editors and publishers don't accept manuscripts from the elderly," you say. "They want younger writers whose work has a long shelf life and writers who can produce many books over many decades."

Go ahead and write your masterpiece anyway. There's always self-publishing. It's from there you can show the publishing world what a wizard you are at marketing. Then they'll be beating down your door trying to land a contract. Remember, Bangladeshi writer Nirad Chaudhuri's first book -- The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian -- was published in 1951, when he was 54 years old. Its sequel was published when he was 90 and his final book, Three Horsemen of the New Apocalypse when he was 100.

Eudora Welty once said, "It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming of themselves like grass." Neither do books grow on trees like leaves. The scenes and chapters grow out of the mind of the writer. And when recorded, one by one, each scene--each chapter--thickens like a roux to become something as delicious as a book served up to be devoured with relish.

It's time to take up the fork pen and get to work while on the path to crossing the bar. Old age is just a state of mind -- for some fluffy -- and how you make use of your utensils.

Here's a writing exercise/contest for you. Write a 50 word flash fiction story using the title -- "The Path to Crossing the Bar" -- about one of the men in the photos. Winner receives a personalized copy of Emily Sue Harvey's novel Cocoon. Send in your story in the body of an email that has a hook, middle, and ending by July 18 to vmoss@livingwaterfiction.com and may the best story win.

Photography Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net"

Comments anyone?

Loved your blog post about "old" people and their accomplishments. My mother took her first plane ride at age 81 and went to Latvia. She intended to go alone but my sister and my daughter decided to go with her. ~ Mary Janson Ingmire

Thanks Mary! Great your mother tried a new experience at 81 - love it!

If you would like to comment or have questions about this article, email me vmoss@livingwaterfiction.com

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