Late Bloomers are guest blog posts at A is for Aging—sharing thoughts and insights from individuals who have launched notable creative efforts in the arts in their Third Age.
by author Angela Verges
Today is New Year’s Eve and I am at my great-grandmother’s house in Alabama. They light firecrackers here…
That was the beginning of the first entry in my new diary in 1976 and I was ten-years old. As a young child that diary whet my appetite for writing. I continued to journal throughout middle school, high school, and periodically during college.
In my early adult years, I filled journals with words, organized thoughts, and ramblings, only to tuck them away on a shelf or in a storage tote. Eventually I realized I needed to stop being a curator of words, collecting them as a child collects stuffed animals. It was time to assemble them into a polished manuscript.
I always enjoyed reading picture books to my children when they were young. After many readings I believed, “a picture book shouldn’t be that hard to write. They don’t contain very many words.” Ha, to be young and naive. I had not yet learned about the rhythm of a story, the rule of three, nor the significance of page turns. Fewer words do not equate easy.
Like a character in a story, as I learned, I grew, and I transformed. I was a consistent writer. I contributed to a parenting blog for my city’s local newspaper, and later created my own blog.
While picture books are my first love, it’s not where I first published. My writing took a turn I didn’t see coming. It was the birth of my book Menopause Ain’t No Joke. A hot flash and an appearance on stage, caused me to “warm up” to the idea of this book.
At the nudging of my mother, I participated in a pageant for women 50 years old and older (no swimsuit required). Contestants were required to perform a talent. I’m a big fan of humor, and a great deal of my collection of words and phrases included situations I found funny. I chose to perform comedy.
Since the pageant’s focus was mature women and their families, that was my approach for the comedy. Menopause Ain’t No Joke was the title of the two-minute performance, which later became my book title and a turning point in my writing career. The book is a collection of my personal essays related to parenting, fitness, and faith, topped with menopause, and sprinkled with humor.
One of my favorite memories with my son, is a conversation we had while riding in the car together when he was around fourteen years old. He was going through puberty while I was experiencing menopause. He was excited about this new stage in his life, his voice was getting deeper and his facial features were changing.
Sitting in the passenger seat, my son pulled the sun visor down, flipped the mirror up, and rubbed his chin. In his deep voice he said, “Ma, my mustache is growing.”
I glanced over at him and said, “So is mine son, so is mine.”
Now 54 years old, I understand what my mother meant when she said, “some things take time, enjoy each stage in life.” I enjoy sharing stories, making people laugh, and encouraging others to use humor as a stress relief.
Flip open my book Menopause Ain’t No Joke Blending Faith and Humor in Perfectly Imperfect Situations, and you will find stories of hair growth, hair loss, eating disasters and more.
Along my writing journey there were days of writing while sitting on hard plastic bleachers in a gymnasium, as my son played basketball.
There were also evenings spent sitting on metal bleachers, near the 50-yard line as my other son played high school football. Beads of sweat bubbled to the surface of my forehead as I sat with my spiral notebook and ink pen just in case a story idea hit me.
I was determined to write between the cracks of parenting, wherever I could find a block of time. I’d write, rewrite, enter contests, then engage in more research than writing, but not moving forward. I was stuck. I didn’t want to give up on writing for children, instead I took a detour and worked on a project in a different genre, non-fiction inspirational.
There are still spiral notebooks filled with stories started from writing challenges, waiting for me to rework. I remain engaged with my children’s writing friends and our local SCBWI chapter (Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators).
If there is one piece of advice, I would give a fellow late bloomer, it would be to follow your passion. Do what you love doing and enjoy each step of the process. It’s easier to nourish your creativity when you love what you’re doing. Journaling is a process I continue to use to stimulate creativity.
Recently, I’ve started another Gratitude Journal. Here’s my latest entry.
I am grateful for
…lazy days, sitting in the sunshine and daydreaming
…opportunities to share stories with others
….healthy enough to enjoy all of the above
It’s never too late to bloom where you are planted.
For more about this Michigan author’s book & humorous presentations visit her website. Follow her on social media:
Instagram – writermama223
Facebook – Angela.Verges
All photos provided by the author and used with permission.
Late Bloomers defy age stereotypes and help show us the way to tap into our creativity using life experience, energy and positive attitudes.
“Creativity keeps us fresh, keeps us alive, keeps us moving forward.”
(Rollo May, psychotherapist and author of Courage to Create.)
Find more late bloomers guest posts here.
(For further resources, see books Secrets to Becoming a Late Bloomer: Extraordinary ordinary people on the art of staying creative, alive and aware in mid-life and beyond by Connie Goldman & Richard Mahler; The Creative Age: Awakening Human Potential in the Second Half of Life by Gene D. Cohen M.D.; What Should I Do with the Rest of My Life by Bruce Frankel.)