Old Moon

Monday, April 21, 2008

The older I get...

...the less I know. Well, this is certainly not a new notion. The trouble is, it's like most cliches because it's too true to ignore or sneer at. There's a lot that's a question of starting too late to get the proper instruction, like all the hi-tech computer stuff, and there's the problem with what we used to call the generation gap, which probably just boils down to not being up on current slang. But the things that matter the most seldom come into the conversation, except in ways that remind me of the snags one had better be careful of when canoeing on a scenic river. If you hit one, the results can be quenching. What DO you say when writing a sympathy note? How do express your admiration for the kind of literature that actually makes your throat swell or makes you burst out laughing? I don't even know what a reviewer means who carps about a short story, saying it's been "workshopped to death." What on earth does that mean? Do you dare to express an opinion during a tirade from an acquaintance on religion, politics, or "kids today?"

An on-line acquaintance recently said her subject is aging. I retorted that mine isn't. Now I think I misspoke. It's getting to seem more and more that that's just what my subject is. I'm not satisfied with the wimpy, sentimental, over-explained "women's" books that cram the shelves these days. I resent being talked down to on paper. At the same time, I don't want to be subjected to the ax-grinding self-absorption of so many young writers. I love suspense, but eschew horror (too cowardly, I guess--or I have too much imagination). Even while I seek entertainment, I'm looking for something at least slightly thought-provoking. Furthermore, I know for a fact, my generation is growing daily in numbers, and when it comes to books and fiction in particular, publishers seem to be oblivious. So, I guess "aging" is my area of interest, after all.

But I'd like to shout out loud about the young writers who seem to me to be already wiser than I'll ever get, and whose artistry is astonishing: Sara Gruen, Khaled Hosseini, Laura Hillenbrand ... well you get the idea. What worries me is that these are the ones who've become known. How many more are out there that don't get promoted and/or recognized that we don't read because we don't know about them? How do we find the agents and publishers who will seek them out so we can read them?

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