Earlier this month, our church sponsored a rummage sale. I dutifully rummaged in many of our closets, seeking items we could donate. I decided to investigate the bookcase in our master bedroom. In that built-in case, we have stored many of our oldest books — our school year books, our high school literature books, and the like. The reason for this is that the bookcase doesn’t open easily, so it’s one of those things we have on the list to fix “someday.”
I found a few books to part with there and also enjoyed a small walk down memory lane. But I stayed focused on my task, collecting a couple of bags of items to donate.
Meanwhile, I started a small internet search for people who published books “later” in life. For many years, decades really, I’ve dreamed and talked casually about writing a book. It’s one of those things that has been more of a daydream than something I’ve seriously attempted. (Sidenote: I did submit a book of poetry for publication a few years ago, but nothing came of that venture.)
Anyway, this year seems to be the year of Sue (not to steal a line from The Middle on television). I’ve been asked several times already, by people from all corners of my world, if I’ve ever thought of publishing a book. This is what prompted me to investigate the bottom line — am I too old to seriously consider writing a book?
My investigation led me to a list of people who published their first book “late in life.” Initially, the list depressed me, because it included people who were in their 30’s and 40’s. That may seem late in life to some, but I’m quite a bit older than that already!
Good news came in the search though. Laura Ingalls Wilder was in her mid-60’s when she published “Little House in the Big Woods.” This was the first in the widely acclaimed series that eventually made its way to the small screen with Michael Landon, Karen Grassle, Melissa Sue Anderson and of course, Melissa Gilbert.
Even better news was Willard Kaufman, a screenwriter whose first novel, “Bowl of Cherries,” was published when he was the tender age of 91. NINETY-ONE! I was thrilled to discover that there’s still hope, as I’m nowhere near 91.
Wait a minute! My brain began to churn, and I dashed up the stairs (okay, went pretty quickly up the stairs) and opened that bookcase. Sure enough, a copy of “Bowl of Cherries” was tucked in there, waiting for me to realize it.
I’m reading it now, but have already come to a couple important conclusions. First, donate to your local church’s rummage sale. It’s good for everyone, plus you never know what treasures you will uncover that you forgot you had.
Secondly, no one is ever “too old” to write a book. Even me. So maybe I’ll take that dream a bit more seriously.
And thirdly, Willard Kaufman is a really good writer.
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Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at the Hospice store (For All Seasons) in Troy and teaches part-time at Urbana University. She keeps busy taking care of husband, house, and pets. She and her husband have an adult son who lives in Troy.