In 1994, when Gloria Steinem turned sixty, she published a collection of essays entitled Moving Beyond Words. Ms. Steinem is, of course, the founder of Ms. magazine, a founder of New York magazine, an author, and a public lecturer. When she spoke at Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto sometime that year, I was in the audience.
At one point in her lecture, she proudly announced that it was a marvellous thing to be “doing sixty.” It was a time when she was celebrating past accomplishments and looking forward to undertaking even greater challenges. Life experiences weren’t to be put away simply because she was older: they were to be built on. Contrary to society’s expectations of women turning sixty, she was continuing her political, creative, and social adventures. And, like many women before her, she was exploring new territory with the maturity that experience brings.
I was in my forties at the time and felt inspired by her confidence and vibrant take on life. That moment has always stayed with me, and I’ve been thinking of it lately because over the past two years I have been editing manuscripts written by women in their sixties. These engaging and enriching memoirs are full of experience, adventure, and accomplishments. They are stories that inspire.
It was this inspiration that sparked the idea for this blog series: Creative Women Doing Sixty. In a way, it is a continuation of what Ms. Steinem kicked off back in ’94. And, in fact, Ms. Steinem published Doing Sixty and Seventy in 2006 that continues her discussion of age stereotypes and the liberation of older women.
Every two weeks, I will introduce the creative project of an author, artist, musician, filmmaker, poet, or graphic novelist who is in her sixties. I will include her website and other social media links, along with the time and dates of events where she will be appearing. We'll also invite our featured artists to write guest blogs. It’s a way for us to celebrate the marvellous – to learn and to be inspired.
Introducing Ann Eyerman
We begin with our Toronto author Ann Eyerman, the first author to participate in our Writers Support Package. Ann signed on over two years ago and has just completed the second draft of Annie’s Odyssey, a wonderful collection of vignettes that describe her journey through 1970s Europe. The manuscript is undergoing a final copy edit and, by the end of January, it will be ready to go. We are actively seeking publishers for Ann’s book and welcome all inquiries.
Annie’s Odyssey is a series of stories about Ann’s adventures (misadventures?) in Europe in the 1970s. The stories focus on the young, naive, language-challenged 20-something-year-old Annie as she makes her way from Yugoslavia (former) to Italy, France, Spain, Morocco, and Greece and, finally, “home” in small-town Spain. These are tales of her three- to six-month stays in each of these places and her day-to-day life and encounters with cranky landladies, fish mongers, thorny cherry trees, on-the-floor bread making, seranading potato sellers, marauding centaurs and much more. Despite the wit and humour that permeate these stories, there are deeper meanings and insights that Annie garners about life, love, and building community.
Ann’s first book Women in the Office was published by Sumach Press (2000). In addition to writing, she coaches unemployed clients on the best approach to job search, creating a winning resume, preparing for interviews and keeping the faith in a bad economy. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @AnnEyerman. For more about Annie’s Odyssey, visit Ann’s blog at http://anneyerman.wordpress.com/
Ann will be participating as a panelist in Gailey Road’s Women Writing Letters Event this coming April. Stay tuned for more information!