Post-40 Bloomers

February 29, 2012

Post-40 Bloomers: Walker Percy, The Original Moviegoer 15

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“It is not like learning a skill or a game at which, with practice, one gradually improves. One works hard all right, but what comes, comes all of a sudden and as a breakthrough. One hits on something… It is almost as if the discouragement were necessary, that one has first to encounter despair before one is entitled to hope.”

January 30, 2012

Nine Stories, 16 Years in the Making: Post-40 Bloomer Daniel Orozco 6

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Orientation is not about “alienation,” modern-day or otherwise, nor about the effects of a particular cultural transition or economic decline; it’s about loneliness. About the awful, persistent distance between you and me, between me and me, between each of us and the spiritual-whatever in the universe; all of which keeps us wondering what the hell this life is about, and how we will survive it. This seems an important distinction to me, and what has allowed Orozco’s work – some of it 16 years-old – to debut with full emotional resonance.

January 12, 2012

Post-40 Bloomer: Stephen Wetta’s If Jack’s in Love 1

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It may have taken Stephen Wetta 56 years to learn to write like a twelve-year-old, but it was worth the wait.

December 30, 2011

Post-40 Bloomers: Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, The Last Leopard 6

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One indisputable factor that deprived us of more opportunities to luxuriate in Lampedusa’s gifts was a diagnosis of lung cancer at the age of 60. The diagnosis came just a few months after he finished the novel, two publisher rejections already in hand, a third which would arrive weeks before he died in July of that year.

November 30, 2011

Post-40 Bloomers: Isak Dinesen, Her Own Heroine 8

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In a 1957 New York Times interview, she was asked, “Do you then look on your own life as a ‘tale’?” “Yes, I suppose so,” she replied, “but in a sense only I can grasp. And, after all, the tale is not yet quite finished!”

October 28, 2011

Post-40 Bloomers: The Stories of William Gay 2

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While Gay himself might prize being considered among the Southern greats, his stories of desolation and beauty — brimming, yes, with the familiar Gothic elements of violence and darkness of hearts — feed and trouble our souls, whether or not we come to the text already knowing the “timeless tolling of whippoorwills, both bitter and reassuring,” or have passed ugly nights in a honkytonk, or keep a rifle or a pistol under the bed.

September 29, 2011

Post-40 Bloomers: Yvvette Edwards and A Cupboard Full of Coats 4

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“I suppose I qualify as a late bloomer but I don’t feel like one. The term has connotations of stagnation, finally followed by some kind of transformation. I’d probably prefer to equate myself to a fine wine or good cheese, something that takes time, passion, and dedication to mature perfectly.”

September 26, 2011

Post-40 Bloomers: “Late” According to Whom? 45

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I myself am hesitant to use the word “late” (or “older,” for that matter) in reference to writers over 40. Late relative to what and according to whose definition of early or on-time?