Sunday, August 09, 2009

Why Older Writers Aren't Necessarily Better ...

Yes, writing is a lifetime’s vocation. Which is why a 45-year-old writer is no more “superior” to a 25-year-old, than 45 years of life are “superior” to 25. The common mistake is to assume that at the later age you have all that you did at the earlier, plus 20 years experience. The truth is, people forget. At 20 it seems scarcely conceivable that we were once six years old — a child is a stranger — and similarly, at 40 the young person is a stranger. His or her way of thinking and feeling is irretrievably lost — it shows in the clash of the generations, and it shows in the writing. “Experience” is not a commodity that keeps increasing quantitatively; it only keeps changing qualitatively; and so, incredible though it may seem, the 25-year-old writer possesses as many passionately felt thoughts, and as many means of expressing them, as he or she ever will. Looked at another way, it is worth noting that there comes an age beyond which one word fits all: the word is “adult”, and if you are not one by 25, you probably won’t be one by 75.
Aditya Sudarshan in The Hindu has some interesting things to say about age and the fiction writer - a topic which we've visited on this blog before ...

2 comments:

Fadz said...

I think age is not a factor for a writer, only the refusal or acceptance of having grown up.

All children are creative, all children believe in the unknown, the strange possible worlds. This beauty is lost when a person grows up.

Writers are people who refuse to grow up.

glenda larke said...

My feeling (I'm in my 60s!) is that your communication skills, plotting skills and all the nuts and bolts of writing can get better and better with experience, BUT that doesn't necessarily make for a better book. It can, but it's not a given.

A passionate 25-yr-old has indeed something to offer that I no longer have - the passion and enthusiasm for a life still stretching ahead of them, rather than mellowed memories of a life already lived. We both have something to offer, it's just not the same thing.