Elder Artists: Don’t Quit!

“You’re not a late bloomer, says Times Columnist Roxanne Gay to those of us who are writers, “You are already blooming.”

The following excerpt from “Ask Roxanne,” (New York Times, December 30, 2017) exhorts us to keep at it. Our words and our voice are the things we can control; so don’t let them grow silent. And this applies to whatever your art is, whatever expresses your spirit in only the way YOU can. Isn’t this commandment just another way of saying: “Don’t die till you’re dead”?

What are you working on these days? Want to share it with the Project?

The older we get, the more culturally invisible we become, as writers, as people. But you have your words. Writing and publishing are two very different things. Other writers are not your measure. Try not to worry about what other people your age or younger have already accomplished because it will only make you sick with envy or grief. The only thing you can control is how you write and how hard you work. The literary flavor of the week did not get your book deal. All the other writers in the world are not having more fun than you, no matter what it might seem like on social media, where everyone is showing you only what they want you to see.

“Write as well as you can, with as much heart as you can, whenever you can. Make sure there are people in your life who will have faith in your promise when you can’t. Get your writing in the world, ideally for the money you deserve because writing is work that deserves compensation. But do not worry about being closer to 50 or 65 or 83. Artistic success, in all its forms, is not merely the purview of the young. You are not a late bloomer. You are already blooming.”

Photo: Dalton Trumbo, 1967