Monday, June 22, 2009
By Marilyn Baron
“I’m in love,” my daughter said. “This is the one I’ve been waiting for. But it’s a big commitment. I hope I’m doing the right thing.” I was excited. My daughter had finally found her Prince Charming. I had visions of engagement parties, June weddings and grandchildren. Actually, it turned out to be my daughter’s description of her new luxury Park Avenue studio apartment in New York City. When she signed the lease, the doorman hugged her and said, “Welcome Home.” Well, that’s a story with a happy ending. Anytime one of your children is happy is a reason to celebrate.
At my age, I’ll take any excuse at happiness. Last month, I celebrated my 50 Somethingth birthday. And this is the birthday present I got from my doctor.
I’m Coming Elizabeth
“This is Dr. (Physician who shall remain nameless) calling Marilyn Baron. I got the results of your echocardiogram. It did show that you have a slightly thickened left ventricle consistent with high blood pressure, which means that you need to have your blood pressure well controlled. You also had mitral valve prolapse and mitral regurgitation, which is the cause of the murmurs. There’s no particular significance to that. You don’t need to do anything about that, but it does explain those murmurs.”
Okay, that’s a lot to lay on a person, especially a person who didn’t know she had heart murmurs to begin with. Ah, the joys of being chronologically challenged. Before I never knew I had a problem. But now, if I get excited about something, I can attribute it to my heart murmur. Like Fred Sanford on Sanford and Son, whenever something riles me I clutch my chest dramatically, look heavenward and say, “I’m Coming Elizabeth!”
And these days, I have a lot to rant about – those annoying calls I get three times a day, and usually at 3 o’clock in the morning, warning me of the dire consequences if I don’t renew my auto warranty, or those e-mails from Vince extolling the virtues of the ShamWow® or the Snuggie Blanket, or those unsolicited e-mails about male enhancers. I think the people who sold the mailing lists to these companies should be prosecuted.
And I’m not the only one with anger management issues. My neighbor was furious about an incident that happened at her daughter’s high school and she showed me a blistering two-page and growing letter to the assistant principal she had just finished.
“You’re angry,” I said. “Maybe you need a blog.”
But, I digress. Back to my heart murmurs. Apparently these murmurs have made me lose my ability to multi-task.
I was having lunch at a Thai restaurant with a friend recently when I went to open up a packet of sugar to pour into my Jasmine tea and accidentally poured it into my bowl of Won Ton soup. Apparently I can’t sweeten my tea and talk at the same time. The ability to multi-task obviously dwindles as you age.
And speaking of age, sometimes I wonder if I’m too old to write. But I just ran across an interesting article in the May 2009 issue of the AARP Bulletin in a column headed, “Power of 50.” And yes, I am old enough to have an AARP card. Just not old enough to qualify for the senior discount at the movie theater.
The article, entitled, “Write On Past Age 50,” by Bill Hogan, poses this question:
“Aiming to write the great American novel? There’s hope. Nearly a dozen of the annual best-selling novels of the past 50 years have been created by American authors in their 50s, 60s and 70s – some of whom turned to writing after other careers.”
The illustrious list includes some of my favorite authors – Irving Stone, James Michener, Leon Uris and Robert Ludlum. Maybe I could aspire to be like Robert Ludlam. He’s dead, but despite his demise, he continues to produce best-sellers. Perhaps he’s channeling from the grave. Is it me or has his writing improved since his death?
Okay, that’s good news. But if I have any advice for a young person contemplating a writing career, it would be this: “It’s never too early to start writing.” I’ve been employed as a writer my entire professional career but I wish now I had started writing fiction earlier in my life. My daughter is 23 and she just started writing so I have a lot of hope for her.
What do you think? Can you have a successful writing career after 50? Is there room at the top for an over-the-hill writer?