Tag Archives: youth

Sunrise, Sunset by Sherrie Hansen

I’m not sure why, but all of the sudden, I’m starting to feel like an old fogy. (Definition:  an extremely fussy, old-fashioned, or conservative person.) It started last summer when my mom and dad celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary and their 80th birthdays. My parents have always seemed quite young to me, and they are compared to many of my classmates and peers, since I’m the oldest child in our family. (They only waited a couple of years before they had me, so that tells you about how old I am.) When did they get to be so old?

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Suddenly, my little niece is taller than I am, and most likely smarter, too.

Sherrie - Victoria

This winter, the house my dad built when I was 16 suddenly needed a lot of updating because it was over 40 years old. When did that happen? Earlier this month, a video of the house I renovated and turned into a bed and breakfast almost 25 years ago started to recirculate, and as I looked at a young, energetic, spry-looking version of myself smiling on the video, I realized that my staff, neighbors, nieces and nephews, and half the people in town have no idea how horrible the property used to look, and how absolutely heroic I was to rescue the place from the bulldozing it probably deserved. They either weren’t born yet, or were about 5 years old.

Sherrie - friends

Yes, that’s me in the middle.

I’ve always prided myself on being pretty with it. I play with a contemporary Christian band and there’s nothing I like more than rocking out with the volume on my keyboard at full blast. I pound out a mean bass line and I’ve got the rhythm. I write steamy novels, wear funky clothes and hats, and work circles around many of my years younger staff members. I may be a little gray; I may be getting a little stiff in the joints, but I like to think I’ve still got it. Well, part of it anyway.

Piano

But lately… well, I’ve started to feel more and more irked with the way the younger generation thinks and does things. I routinely say things like, “What is this world coming to?”, and “Back in my day, we used to…”, and “When I was your age…” When I watch the Grammies, the only musicians I’m familiar with are those being inducted into the Hall of Fame.  To be honest, most of what we call contemporary music at our church are songs written 30 or 40 years ago. And when I visit churches with truly contemporary music and smoke machines and light shows, I cringe and probably feel the way my parents did the first time I sang Ralph Carmichael’s “He’s Everything to Me”.

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And don’t even get me started on the fact that many of the obituaries in the paper are for people my age or even younger. It’s scary to think that I’m in the twilight years of my life, or that it’s all downhill from here. And to quote a comedian three-fourths of you have probably never heard of, “I don’t get no respect.”

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Suddenly, I understand all the fuss about bucket lists, because time is running out, and if I’m going to do it, it needs to be now, while I still can. My goal has been to leave the country every three to five years to go on a dream vacation, but suddenly, it makes more sense to take a good long trip to somewhere far away and exotic every year, before it’s too late. Even then, you’ll probably find me on a cruise ship or one of peering out the windows of one of those big buses with really comfy seats. I hate the thought of missing out on anything.

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Because today I noticed something. Sunsets are just as beautiful as sunrises. Maybe even more so. I have wisdom, and grace, and the kind of polish and beauty that a rock gets from being in a rock tumbler. I’ve worked hard for what I have, and now, I get to enjoy it (well, whatever the government doesn’t take first). But that’s another thing I shouldn’t get started on.

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Sunrises are just fine. But watching the sun sink into the horizon in a blazing display of color and class… All I can say is, I’m going to enjoy every last minute of the show. Sometimes, the sky is at it’s most brilliant when the sun has already set, and the truth is, I’ve always been a night owl.

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I firmly believe that each book I write is better than the last, and besides, it’s great fun to put my characters up to things I would never do now that I’m… And that I’m so in the groove at my B&B that the food we turn out only gets better and better. And, like all of us, my music – my generation’s – is the best. So there.

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Smile if you will, but think of me next time you see the sun setting, and remember, one day, you’ll be an old fogy, too.

Cal - Rachel SS

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Filed under photographs, Sherrie Hansen, Travel, writing

Life Inside the Book

I never really thought about the intimacy of the books in my bookcase until recently. Granted, this epiphany should have popped into my brain after my last post, but somehow, in the chaos of life, it slipped by.

Each and every book carries the author inside. No matter what the subject, there will always be varying degrees of the creator mixed in with the story. I have a host of silent companions waiting for me to open their doors and shares their lives. The most intriguing part is finding the writer hiding (sometimes in plain sight) within the tale.

Some authors purposely reach out to the reader. Like a streaker on a football field at halftime, some writers are so embedded in their own fictional tales I can hear them scream, “Look at Me!”

Others try to steer away from themselves. Those tricky little devils are harder to find, but not impossible. Unless you’re a robot, there’s no way to hide the part of your essence that becomes trapped in what you write.

As I pen this blog, I’m looking at my bookcase. Ernest Hemingway is too easy; he’s entwined in all he wrote (he’s a streaker). John Updike was perpetually wide-eyed in surprise and Dean Koontz adores his dogs. William Porter was constantly searching.

Willa Cather loved. Marlys Millhiser is always alone in a crowd. Carolyn Chute is on every page of her books (another streaker).

Writers pull from life. Joy, sadness, fear, loneliness: our emotions translate into words on the page. The seasons in our lives spring forth with the summer of our youth and the winter of our twilight years. We invest something more, though, as we plug away at the keyboard. A part of ourselves, recognized or not, runs through our stories.

I have no plans to write an autobiography, but I have already started. Every writer does. We put ourselves in our books and it’s sometimes hard to separate fact from fiction. What we write becomes another appendage or, in some cases, a conjoined twin (Hemingway, again). Sometimes, it’s an evil twin, as in the case of James Frey or, in current news, of Greg Mortenson.

It is said we are what we eat. It can also be said we are what we write, we are what we read.

How often have you noticed the personality of the author in his or her books, readers? In the same vein, which book hits closest to home for our writers?

J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and about thirty works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch

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Filed under books, life, musings, writing