A collection of work from the competitors in a nationwide writing contest for senior authors.
In this debut, one-of-a-kind compilation, editors Bivona (The Secret Lives of Ordinary Women, 2013, etc.) and Upshaw (co-author: Cheaper to Kill than to Maim, 2002, etc.) have gathered the best entries from a competition exclusively for writers ages 65 and older. They present them in three categories—poetry, essays, and short stories—with the winning entries listed first, followed by honorable mentions and other notable works. Each is followed by a short bio of the author, which showcases the fact that they’re as varied as the topics they write about. Some have extensive professional writing experience, others very little. The title describes the writers as ageless, and the themes of this compilation are, too—love, war, family, loss, childhood, and nature, to name a few. The varied pieces range from the silly (Greg Rogers’ comical poem about procrastination) to the serious (Michael Coolen’s recollection of losing his father to cancer) to the suspenseful (Robert Robeson’s account of being a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, caught in enemy fire). One of the goals of the competition was to shatter the stereotype that elderly people are “physically and mentally broken, unable to think straight or keep up with the youth culture,” and this anthology overwhelmingly accomplishes this. The wisdom in the poetry, the memories shared in the essays, and the creativity in the short stories are all fine contributions. The authors’ wealth of experience gives them unique insights into specific historical events and life in general. Ultimately, this collection may convince some youth of the value of the older generation and also encourage seniors to continue in their creative pursuits. Also, the latter will enjoy the wry, goodhearted humor throughout the book, which lightly mocks the nuances of aging, such as 92-year-old author Barbara Mott’s comment: “Young people think they are so smart. But if you took away all their devices for communication, they would be lost. We, on the other hand, can talk [for] an hour on any subject, barely taking a breath.”
Refreshingly good writing and proof that creativity doesn’t necessarily wane with age.