The interesting thing about getting old is watching it unfold. This is applied science: biology in action, psychology and sociology revealed in real time as I experience the changes in my body and brain. I can react to others’ responses or my own, or I can step back and withhold all judgment. I’m both participant and observer.
I’ve written about aging, about post-seventy tattoos and half-marathons, physical decline in spite of excellent health, dwindling opportunities and increased invisibility, a thicker skin and fuck ‘em attitude about things that used to bother me. The challenge, though, as a writer, is to make this process and my experiences appealing to readers young and old. The former may be inclined to glaze over and think, what has this to do with me? B-o-r-i-n-g. The latter might appreciate commonality, feel less isolated in their own experience, or they might choose to avert their eyes, say I’ve got my own shit to deal with, she doesn’t know the half of it.
Since Baby Boomers entered their seventies they’re writing about aging too, as if they discovered it, expressing the indignity of it all, their painful joints or purported joys, or just plain denial as they grasp at perpetual youth, pronounce seventy to be the new fifty. But I got there first by a few years, and I intend to stay in the conversation. If all else fails, I’ll beat them to eighty and have new stories to tell before they catch up again.
Laurie Rachkus Uttich is a lecturer of creative writing at the University of Central Florida. Her prose has been published in Fourth Genre; Creative Nonfiction; River Teeth; Brain, Child (nominated for a Pushcart Prize); Sweet: A Literary Confection; Burrow Press Review; Poets and Writers; Iron Horse (fiction recipient of the Discovered Voices Award); So To Speak (recipient of the Creative Nonfiction Award); The Writers Chronicle; The Good Men Project; and others. Recently, she began writing poetry and has been published in Rattle and The Missouri Review. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Each Tuesday we feature audio or video of an SR Contributor reading their work. Today we’re proud to feature a podcast by nonfiction writer Alison Condie Jaenicke.
Alison Condie Jaenicke teaches writing at Penn State University, where she also serves as assistant director of the creative writing program. Alison’s essays, poems, and stories have appeared in such places as Brain, Child,Literary Mama, and Gargoyle Magazine, and her writing has earned prizes from the Knoxville Writers’ Guild and the National League of American Pen Women. A native of Washington, DC, Alison earned her BA and MA in English from the University of Virginia and currently lives in State College, PA, with her husband and two children. http://alisoncjaenicke.weebly.com/