Monday, April 8, 2013

Gearing Up for Old Age

Old guy blading in Florida. He's obviously confused.
A 17-year-old girl has gotten a million dollar contract to write three books for Random House after her first one, which she self-published online, got 19 million hits, or something like that. Anyway, according to the famed publishing company, the author is a hit because "she is a teenager writing for teenagers, and so she has an authentic voice." And therein lies my problem: While I am actually an old lady, I don't write like one. Old ladies do not say things like "fuck" and "WTF?" and "effing this" and "effing that." They don't talk about smoking pot or baking marijuana brownies. When they do it at all, they write about arthritis medicines and compression stockings and diabetes and shit like that.

I suppose can't find my voice because I am floating, adrift between generations. This is all because my husband is 11 years younger than I, and he is still a hot guy. He is not old at all. I am, but nobody notices when I stand next to Mitch. The last time I felt truly anchored in my generation was at Woodstock, and that was in 1969. Just two weeks ago I was the oldest person in a tour group, traveling with women ten and twenty years my junior, and I totally forgot to act my age! In fact, I found a few of them quite fuddy-duddyish, and besides my best friend who came with me on the trip, I related most to our tour guide, a kindred spirit almost three decades my junior.

I guess if I want my new novel, which is almost sort of nearing not-quite-completion, to attract readers, I should aim at my own demographic for that "authentic voice." I'll have to make all the characters a lot older, and replace all the sex scenes with Alzheimer support group meetings, and change the setting to a nursing home. And finish it damn quick, God knows.

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