50th Year Of Living

It is my birthday today, I am 50 years old. While that is not much of an achievement for those much older, given I was dead for 8 minutes 28 months ago, I think it is worth celebrating. I was placed in an induced coma and given a 20% chance of surviving. Well, here I am and I plan to stay around for quite a while longer. So what about those who never made it to 50? George Orwell died at 47, just as the fame that had eluded him all his life finally caught up. Jane Austen never made it to fifty, either. Anne and Emily Bronte and Sylvia Plath passed away young, as did Anne Frank. Shelly, Byron, Keats and Kerouac as well as Stephen Crane. Hemingway did himself in with a shotgun at 63 but W.Somerset Maugham was in his 90s. Speaking of fossils, there are still a couple of great writers aging away as I speak including Jose Saramago, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Mario Vargas Llosa.

So what is age and what does it give the writer other than a lot of material and a certain smugness to know you made it this far? When I was a young bloke I knew I wanted to write fiction but I decided I would wait until I was 40, then I felt I had something to write about. I was 35 at the time so I got started the next day, no point waiting. I haven’t written much inthe way of fiction of late, too busy with the stuff that (hopefully) pays money but this month I signed up for NaNoWriMo. I have thoroughly enjoyed crafting ‘Twenty Seven Seventy’ and I plan on writing more about this post code in the future. This is where I live and the people int he story, as will be those in the short story collection to follow, are the people I share this community with.

Where I live is a low socio economic area in western Sydney and it has a reputation as being rough. Well there are plenty of rough people here but there are many who are good and decent and appreciate art and literature, too. We just got a terrific new library here in Mt Druitt and it is the equal of any in the upscale, money suburbs. It gets used a lot too and that has to tell you something. So why shouldn’t I write about where I live, the stories here are as rich as those anywhere in the world. It’s how you tell them!

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