Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group - July

It's that time of month again - the IWSG, which is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh www.alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com. To find out more about this fabulous support group, please visit Alex's blog for details.








This month, I'm feeling a bit insecure because my post is all about my new project. Pretend this is an email. Here's the subject line:  An anthology about aging--want to help?

I’m writing today to talk about a project close to my heart and to see if you feel called to participate.

For those who don’t know me, I retired from a 30+ year career in marketing and public relations in 1999 to write full time. Since then, I have published a variety of non-fiction articles, a memoir, and most recently, a novel.

I’ve thought about writing something on aging for the past 10 years. I’m a sixty-something baby boomer who cared for both my Dad and my mother-in-law. I also helped two older friends who’ve since passed away. My friends and I have had many discussions about growing older and dying and about how we want to move through this process with grace and dignity. But other projects took precedence and I never got clarity on what this aging project should be. Until now.

Several weeks ago, my friend Ellie, 87 years young, said to me, “I don’t see ‘me’ anymore when I look in the mirror.”

“Who do you see?” I asked.

“An old lady who walks with a walker or a cane.”

“But, you’re still you. The walker doesn’t define you.”

“Yes, but it’s the first thing others see,” she said.

I couldn’t stop thinking about that conversation. Then, while on a writing retreat with my friend, Wendy, inspiration came: Why not make this an anthology? How much wiser and richer it could be if others shared their experiences of this journey called aging. Several days later I heard Paul Simon’s song “Still Crazy After All These Years” on the radio. Boom—there was the title: Still Me After All These Years.

That conversation with Ellie gave me the theme. I think an anthology such as this could speak about aging in a unique and fascinating way—through the eyes of those going through it. It will be about the challenges and opportunities that come when you reach that point in life where mortality is a more imminent reality. About how aging changes you, or doesn’t. How it impacts your life, both positively and negatively. Does your way of thinking change? What about your behavior? Have priorities shifted? Do you think about dying? Do you hate the way you look? These are just some of the topics I’d like to see included. 

I am seeking essays from adults 50 and above. If you’d like to participate but can’t write for some reason, I would be happy to interview you. Whatever the age of our readers, hopefully they’ll find a kernel of wisdom that touches their hearts.

At this point I’m not sure whether I will seek traditional publishing or self-publish. The traditional route could take years and well, I’m not sure I want to wait that long. At any rate, this is probably a good time to mention that there will be no fee paid for submissions. I will review entries myself, choosing and editing selections for inclusion. If you decide to submit, I can’t promise that your work will be included, but I can assure you that your name will be listed in the acknowledgements for helping to make this project possible.

If you are intrigued and think you might like to participate, please drop me a line and I will provide submission guidelines and more information on this process and how it will work.

I’d like to receive your submission by September 30, 2016. So, if you have something to share regarding your experience of aging, please let me know as soon as possible. Of course I’d be happy to answer your questions in the meantime.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Karen


P.S.
If any of you would be willing to post this on your blogs, it would be very much appreciated. Thanks so much for your help and support.

60 comments:

C.D. Gallant-King said...

That sounds really cool! I'm a few years short of your age bracket, but I'm sure there are other like-minded authorial types in these parts that would be interested. Good luck!

www.cdgallantking.ca

Karen Walker said...

Thanks, C.D. I'm sure hoping you're right.

Jemi Fraser said...

What a good idea! I'll share this to spread the word :)

Nicola said...

What a lovely idea, Karen. Flash forward three years and you would have received my entry. I am feeling the strain of the years, especially in my eyes. I used to have perfect eye-sight and then I hit 40. It's been downhill from there on in. Last year, my optician found the onset of glaucoma so now, as well as having to wear reading glasses I have to take eye drops for the rest of my life. BUT, a lot of my friends are older and still love life and live it to the full, despite the 'aging gremlin' taking hold.

Karen Walker said...

Oh, thank you, Jemi. You're an angel.
Nic, oh dear, it's hard when these "aging" issues hit us earlier than we think they should

Crystal Collier said...

I love it! What a great idea. I'm not over 50, but I already feel much of the aging. I suppose several years of sickness and a car accident helps in that realm. I suppose it's good our spirits get stronger as we get older to compensate for the weakness of our bodies.

Karen Walker said...

Crystal, I do believe we need to focus more on our spirits as we age.

Arlee Bird said...

I love this idea! Definitely a topic I've been thinking about. Right now it's bad timing for me, but I'm going to put this on my "want to do list" for after I've returned from my current vacation trip. I might be able to come up with something for you on this one!

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great project, Karen! I love the theme and look forward to reading the essays.

Bish Denham said...

Im of that age, but I don't know what I'd write about or how to go about it. I know a lady who is 95 and, although she has health issue (uses a walker and oxygen) she and her daughter and a caregiver are going on a 7 day cruise! That's inspiring.

Yolanda Renée said...

Great subject, wonderful idea! Ageism is a real thing in our society. I made note of that recently in blog comments. I wish you all the best with this and I'll give it some consideration, but the plate is full right now and I'm not committing to anything else!

Karen Walker said...

Lee, I'll look forward to what you come up with. Have a fun trip!
Elizabeth, thanks so much.
Bish, that is inspiring!
Yolanda, that's okay. Thanks for the good wishes.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's a wonderful idea. You'll get so many perspectives. I'm not sure I'd have time to write anything, but I am over 50 now.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Life doesn't play fair: just when your mind is seasoned enough to see clearly, your body wants to let you down! I know you will get many essays. Would stories be accepted?

Karen Walker said...

Yes, Diane, that's the idea.
Roland, not sure about stories - I guess it would depend on the story and the length.

emaginette said...

I think of my mother as brave. Braver than she ever was when she was young. She had a stroke and then heart problems. I kept thinking this was it. Then she rallied and is getting strong again.

I don't know how long it will last but I'm grateful for every day.

Not sure about writing a story. I doubt my family would be okay with it. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Doing it as an anthology is a brilliant idea. Plus you'll have a huge audience.

Karen Walker said...

Emaginette, that's wonderful about your mom.
Thanks, Alex. I think so, too!

Carol Kilgore said...

Good for you. I think this will be a most valuable collection of stories.

Nicki Elson said...

I miss your cut-off by just a year, so I don't have any helpful wisdom to add. But as I enter the next century, this anthology is sure something I'd want to read. Will Tweet this out and I hope you get many brilliant entries.

Denise Covey said...

Great idea, Karen. I'm over 50 and will think about an essay. Perhaps, with Roland's question in mind, you could pepper the anthology with different aspects of ageing--how about some poems and flash fiction. I know this is probably not what you'd planned, but it could be an all-over ageing package! Will certainly promo for you on my blog. Would you like to guest post on my blog when you have your ideas focused?

den.covey@gmail.com :-)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi Karen,

What a WONDERFUL title and idea....I would be delighted to submit to you. Life certainly has changed for me as I am now well into my 50's... don't let the pic fool you. LOL. I've always looked much younger in pics...

The 50's have been liberating in one aspect, but crippling in others. Something many of us at this age experience.

Please send me the submission guidelines once you figure them out. ALSO, as you may not know, I write blurbs professionally and do cover designs... Let me know if you decide to self publish. I would be more than happy to create the cover and blurb ....

Margo Kelly said...

Hi Karen! Are you on Twitter? I couldn't find your profile, but I tweeted about your project and linked back to this post. Have a terrific week!

Mildred R Holmes said...

Thanks for stopping by. I'll post a link to your post. Hmmm, I may want to write something. I'll let you know.

Pat Garcia said...

This is an excellent idea and I like the title already. If I were you, I'd go both routes, traditional and self-published. Maybe, a traditional publisher will bite. At least you can give yourself a time limit for how long you want to query them. Finally,
I would like to write a non-fiction piece if it is not due soon.
Shalom aleichem,
Patricia

Karen Walker said...

Carol, thanks, I certainly hope so - that's the plan.
Nicki, thanks so much - I'm not on Twitter but thanks for the tweet with a link.
Denise, I've toyed with the idea of including poems and other things - I guess I'll stay open to that idea and see what I get in response. Thanks for willingness to promo on your blog. And yes, I'd love to guest post when the time is right.
Michael, thanks - look forward to your submission. Way too early for me to think about publishing, but I'll keep you in mind for sure when the time comes.
Margo, sadly, I'm not on Twitter, but thanks for helping.
Mildred, thank you so much. Let me know if you decide to submit.
Pat, thanks - good thoughts to ponder.

Loni Townsend said...

That sounds like a lovely opportunity for your target audience. I hope you get a lot of interest!

S.K. Anthony said...

What a wonderful idea, Karen!

I don't fit into the age requirement . . . yet lol, but would LOVE to help promote the anthology once it's out! I think it really is fascinating, and sure age is just a number, but that number comes with a set of unique experience per individual. Looking forward to reading it! ;)


~~~
S.K. Anthony: The Decline in Ebooks — It’s Not What You Think

Karen Walker said...

Lori, thanks, me, too.
Thanks, S.K. that will be wonderful.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I have heard older people talking about this, that no one really sees them anymore. It's a very interesting idea. I will promote this on my blog and think about participating. What a terrific idea.

Tyrean Martinson said...

That sounds like an awesome anthology. I want to be sensitive, but I want to share this with a few people I know who have talked about this - one of whom is a friend who went after a job at the age of 60 and had trouble finding anyone who would hire her because of her age, and another who get tired of being treated with ageism.

Karen Walker said...

Susan, oh yeah, thank you so much.
Tyrean, yes, I, too, have a friend who is 60 and can't find work so is freelancing. It's very sad.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

It can seem like the only thing people focus on is the physical. There is so much more to every human being than a quick glance. This anthology sounds inspirational. At 31 I'm below submitting age but want you to know that you're doing a beautiful soulful act writing this anthology Karen.

Karen Walker said...

Oh goodness, thank you so much, Sheena-kay

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Wow! This is a great project. I LOVE the working title. Good inspiration talking to others about this. All the best with the project. I'm a new member of IWSG and have joined your blog. Thanks for sharing.

Karen Walker said...

Thanks so much, Victoria. Welcome to this wonderful community

Shannon Lawrence said...

I think that's a great idea for a collection of essays. I'll pass this call out, too. We go through so many transitions in life.

Karen Walker said...

Thanks so much for that support, Sharon.

Stephanie Faris said...

I'm sending a link to this to my mom--this reminds me of some things she always says. I think a LOT of people would love to read something like this.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

But I thought you were 39????

Karen Walker said...

Thanks, Stephanie. Maybe she'll want to contribute something. Let me know.
Keith, I love you for this!

Tamara Narayan said...

This is a good idea. I know the physical process can be daunting. It would be nice to hear about the emotional process and some perks! I won't quite make the cut on submitting, but I can help spread the word.

Chrys Fey said...

I'm passing the details about this anthology to my mom. :)

Karen Walker said...

Hey Tamara, did you mean the age limit or the deadline for submissions? Thanks for helping spread the word.
Chrys, I've already heard from your mom. Thank you!

Patricia Stoltey said...

I'm going to post your anthology plan on my blog, Karen! May I quote the whole section on the proposed questions and basic concept?

I'm thinking I could interview my 97-year-old mother for this project and contrast her thoughts with my own at age 74. I'll email you separate for the guidelines.

Karen Walker said...

Yeah, Patricia - so happy you want to participate. Yes you may quote the whole letter.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I'd love to participate, Karen. I am in my 60s and took care of my mother and then my mother-in-law. The only problem is I have a book coming out and am writing a ton of articles for my tour. Could we do the interview instead?

diedre Knight said...

I'd be more than happy to share this on my blog. What an excellent idea! I'm sure anyone who ever noticed how fast the last sand passes through the hourglass will surely have some thoughts. I know I do.
Yes, I'd love to participate!

Karen Walker said...

Joylene, yes, absolutely can do interview. Please email me so we can discuss.
Diedre - oh, that's great. Thank you. Please email me as well.

Jan Morrison said...

Karen! What an excellent idea. I fit your profile - I'm 64 and I'd love to give a try to an essay on aging. As a writer and a psychotherapist I tend to mull transitions more than might be healthy. I keep seeing my mother's hands at the end of my wrists and get shocked each time. At first, I would merely think my hands reminded me of my mother, but now, in some sci-fi way, it seems I HAVE my mother's hands. Such a strange sensation. So I'm up for it and will also put a link on my blog.

Karen Walker said...

OH, Jan, that's wonderful. Thank you so much. I'll go give you the guidelines.

Karen Walker said...

Jan, couldn't find your email anywhere on your blog. Please email me for guidelines. Thanks.

Murees Dupé said...

A fantastic idea. It is definitely a topic that can do with a lot of exploring. Wishing you well with your new project, Karen.
.

Karen Walker said...

Thank you, Murees

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen - I'll be there ... any idea of length? I'll be mulling the idea over as the days and weeks pass and hopefully have something for you.

Take care - and cheers Hilary

J Q Rose said...

Hi Karen, what a brilliant idea. I'll email you for the guidelines for subbing. I'm attempting a memoir. Going to take a look at yours. Best wishes for lots of responses for you to read through.

Karen Walker said...

Hey Hilary,so glad you're interested in partcipating.
JQ, Thank you so much for the interest in both my memoir and this new project.

LD Masterson said...

Well, I'm late to the party but this is a great idea. I'm going to chase some ideas around my head. Have to come up with something better than a two word story..."Damn Knees."

I'll email you.

Karen Walker said...

Great, LD

Elizabeth Alsobrooks said...

Love your title! And I am interested!