Seniors Don’t Sit Well (Guest Post)

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Belinda Hughes, writer at Cafe Belinda was one of the first people to welcome me on that lovable juggernaut Google+. Whether she’s been teaching me about the history of New Orleans, sharing helpful blogging tips or inspirational quotes, she’s been a joy to connect with. Imagine how excited I was when she agreed (with just a minimum of thumb wrestling) to teach us that age really is just a number.

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson says, “60 is the new 20!” The most populous generation in history is breaking stereotypes for longevity, independence and quality of life. Rock stars in their 60s show no signs of slowing down. Septuagenarians are skydiving. Writing for TV, films and literature must illustrate Baby Boomers’ message that age is just a number, not an indicator of ability or disability.

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Scriptwriting (TV and Film)

The Golden Girls was one of the first TV shows to address negative aging stereotypes. The show covered real http://penpaperpad.comsituations of active seniors: working past retirement age; nontraditional families under the same roof; sexuality, dating and remarriage; and writing memoirs. Even Sofia remarried, opened a new business after 80 and dated Burt Reynolds, a sex symbol from her daughter’s generation.

The Fockers movie series trilogy shows that one’s lifestyle at any age is made of choices unique to the individual. You can buy an RV or a Florida island, teach Senior Sexuality classes in the gazebo, host a sexuality talk show, study flamenco in Spain and have all the sex you want.

What situations can you throw characters into to illustrate their nontraditional behaviors as they age?

Songwriting

Ageist consumers can impact your career. Singer-songwriter Steven Tyler, musical soul mate Joe Perry and their band Aerosmith solved that problem, starting with rappers Run DMC and the reissue of “Walk This Way.” Today, collaboration and genre-crossing, while remaining true to the band’s sound, keeps Aerosmith’s works fresh and appealing to a broad spectrum of tastes and age groups.

What writers from other genres would you consider collaborating with? Is your readership concentrated or diversified among age groups?

Literature (Novels, Short Stories, Flash Fiction, Poetry)

In the Devil’s Food Cake Murder, author Joanne Fluke attacks ageism for many groups in her series, simply by looking at how each character interacts with technology. The middle-aged main character, Hannah Swensen, is literally the only tech holdout in town, yet she’s the one who always solves the crimes. Her well-preserved mother writes Regency romance novels on a computer. Grandma Knudson, the church matriarch, has her own email on the church site and surfs Bible reference sites.

What are your senior characters doing with technology?

Turning the Lens on Myself

Food Blog: My readership is concentrated in my own middle-age demographic. I’ve begun collaborating by welcoming guest bloggers of different age groups and varieties, including registered dietitians from various countries, a cystic fibrosis teen activist and an award-winning romance author.

Cookbook: My cookbook addresses multiple age groups: Fruity Patooty Burrito for kids; Aloha Sweet Potatoes for menopause; and One Bowl Frittata for busy working middle agers and seniors.

Poetry: I recently tried my hand at scifi poetry for a change. In a positive ageism turn, one of my beta readers turned out to be a consumer of that genre for over 40 years.

Fiction: I plan to address ageism through May-December romantic pairings and the issues these characters face individually and together. Stay tuned to my G+ profile for updates.

By Timmy Denike

By Timmy Denike

So tell me, how is your writing currently addressing ageism?

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http://penpaperpad.comBelinda Y. Hughes is the author of Confessions of a Red Hot Veggie Lover 2, and Living Proof. Cafe Belinda, her food blog, offers dairy free, gluten free, sugar free, Kosher, vegan and vegetarian recipes, reviews and giveaways. She recently completed her first sci-fi flash fiction and micopoetry collection. In 2014 she hopes to nurture her lifelong fascination with Asian culture. You can connect with her on Facebook at her writing page, LinkedIn, Twitter and Tumblr.

14 Comments

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14 Responses to Seniors Don’t Sit Well (Guest Post)

  1. MJM

    Awesome guest post. Thankfully I don’t have to deal with ageism just yet in this stage of my life, but I’m sure one day I will.
    MJM recently posted..“Blow Job”My Profile

    • Tamara Woods

      MJM, it’s good to think about, because it can give you more appreciation for the older people in your life, and even your current age.

    • I agree with Tamara. When I was still in my 20s, I attended a menopause workshop to learn what to expect from the Red Hats. The stories of unique individual experiences were incredible! Now that I’m in perimenopause, the tips have been incredibly helpful. Never underestimate other generations and the value of their experiences. Even if you don’t take their advice, you can still learn a lot from their lives.
      Belinda Y. Hughes (@FleurdeB) recently posted..Valentine’s Day Ratatouille on Risotto by Healing TomatoMy Profile

  2. We have all the generations covered under one roof! We have a pre-teen son, I am in my mid 40’s and my husband is retired in his mid 60’s! If involves any generation, we have dealt with it! I have a 6 year old grandson and my hubby has grandkids younger and older than our son!! I think it brings a better understanding of problems that face different age groups by being exposed to them on a day to day basis!!
    Melissa Senecal recently posted..Know the Damn Difference!!My Profile

    • That’s wonderful, Melissa! Sounds like you’ve got a May-December romance of your own. One of my exes is my parents’ age, with a son and daughter-in-law only slightly my senior, plus two grandchildren, fun-loving, youthful aunts and uncles of his parents’ generation and younger cousins my age. We got on like two old shoes, but it certainly made for some interesting situations.

    • Tamara Woods

      That sounds like your house is a very full one!

  3. Belinda, this is GREAT! I love that you put real, live examples of people we can all relate to, as well as demonstrating your own commitment to aging out loud and wonderfully.

    And, FYI – I did THIS to combat ageism this week. And it’s been SO WELL RESPONDED TO! And I’m so thrilled that people are picking up on this, and really, your post here totally confirms that this is just SUCH an important issue, so THANK YOU 😀

    http://www.findingninee.com/our-land-getting-old-part-2/

    (Also, Steve Tyler may or may not be one of my old-man-crushes…)
    Considerer recently posted..…or you can start speaking upMy Profile

  4. Kim

    Belinda, thanks so much for being willing to help break down negative stereotypes toward people who are older. I am only in my early 30s but have friends and family members who are over 50 and also over 60. It’s important to be able to show that just because these people are no longer spring chickens so to speak, they’re definitely not dead and can sometimes be more active and energetic than their younger counterparts. Plus, the stories these people have to tell is simply amazing. We all could learn a thing or two!
    Kim recently posted..Top 5 Ways to Lose ReadersMy Profile

  5. What a birthday gift this was – a guest blog on ageism just as I turn 47. It made me evaluate where I am in my own abilities and attitudes about aging with respect to others and myself. Thanks so much for the opportunity, Tamara. 🙂
    Belinda Y. Hughes (@FleurdeB) recently posted..Valentine’s Day Ratatouille on Risotto by Healing TomatoMy Profile

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