Warm cockles

Maybe it’s the fact that it’s not even February and we’re already being hit by the 237th snow storm of the season and I have reached that state of crabbiness peppered with despair that only a month of uninterrupted sunny, balmy weather would dispel.  Maybe it’s the fact that I’m typing this while wearing fingerless gloves because my charming attic of an office is approximating the temperature of a meat locker.  Maybe it’s the New Year letdown—we always have such high hopes for it only to find that it’s the same old, same old, except colder.

No, I’m not trying to bring you all into the abyss with me, just attempting to communicate my general mood when I came upon this delightful article about Japan’s newest bestselling sensation, a 99-year-old grandma who took up writing when she was 92.   I’m not a fan of schmaltzy, inspirational poetry (or prose for that matter) and it may be that Ms. Shibata’s writings veer a bit in that direction—not knowing a word of Japanese, I’ve no way of ascertaining this except for the brief quotes offered in the article—but I’m ridiculously  tickled by the fact that this venerable lady didn’t think that she was too old to embark upon a new career and hone a new craft  and that the results have been so overwhelmingly positive.

Aside from bringing some much needed cheer to an otherwise miserable day—seriously, we don’t need any more snow; we’ve got nowhere to put it—this story reminds me that we’re never too old to explore new worlds.  One of the great things about being a writer is the absolute freedom from physical constraints.  As long as you can dream it, think it, and make yourself sit down and write it (or dictate it), you’re a writer—maybe not a bestselling one like this beguiling Japanese grandma, but a writer nonetheless.

7 Responses to Warm cockles

  1. EEV says:

    Wonderful article! Thank you, Miriam.

    It’s never too late to try something we love. If we don’t succeed, at least we can enjoy the process!

  2. That’s amazing and awesome–I really am in awe of her. And it’s a good story for all of us seeking publication. We’re never going to be too old to keep on trying. And if we fail, then I hope we at least enjoy what we’re doing. Otherwise, what’s the point? I hope we can all dream and be as cheerful as that lady.

  3. Sunniest, most inspiring read I had all day! Thanks.

  4. Michael G-G says:

    I love the fact that she took up poetry after retiring from classical Japanese dancing at 92.

    I lived in Japan for three years. They definitely have a more reverential attitude there to old age. They even have a national holiday called “Respect for the Aged Day.” So, perhaps it’s not so surprising for an almost-centenarian to have such publishing success.

    Here’s to a thaw for you New Yorkers.

  5. As a writer who got a late start, I’m comforted by this article. My only regret is that when I finally get a book jacket cover photo, it’s going to be of an older face. Oh, well, maybe they can shoot the photo through gauze like they used to for Doris Day!

  6. Dara says:

    That’s a wonderful article. Inspirational stories like that really do brighten cold and dreary days :)

    Here’s hoping there will be a warm up for you all in NYC soon!

  7. Genny Fischl says:

    In the Netherlands people take pride in cleaning the streets and sidewalks outside of their home. I dont see anything wrong with Hatchs comments. Most Americans these days are lazy and expect others to do their bidding for them.

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