Thursday, June 14, 2012


Growing Old with a Vengeance

I've been reading Diana Athill lately. Somewhere Towards the End is a slim volume looking back over a very long life that included the second world war and the many changes that have happened to women and the world since then. At the time of her writing it in 2008 she was 89. STET was written just a few years earlier. In it she reminisces about her fifty years as an editor and publisher in London, (she didn't retire until she was 75) working with authors such as Philip Roth, V.S. Naipaul, Jean Rhys and Mordecai Richler. Her stories about these accomplished authors are hilarious and just this side of libelous.
These are both delightful volumes, not just because it is encouraging for someone of my age to read the words of another woman more than twenty years older who is still positive and productive and writing every day from her senior's care home like a mad fool. The books are funny, intelligent and reveal Athill as a keen and sly observer of life in England. Now in her nineties, she plans to keep writing as long as the words flow.

Whenever I feel like giving up writing, I'll think of Athill, her laptop perched on her lap desk, her feet elevated, a strong cup of tea at her side and a mischievous grin on her face.

Sue Pike has published a couple of dozen stories and won several awards including an Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Crime Story. Her latest, Where the Snow Lay Dinted will appear in the January issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.

Sue and her husband and an opinionated Australian Shepherd named Cooper spend the winter months in Ottawa and the rest of the time at a mysterious cottage on the Rideau Lakes.

1 comment:

  1. You've given me hope to keep going. I seem to be on a nostalgia bent at the moment. I hope that phase will pass soon.I love being retired now and I will look for Dianne Athills books.Sorry I missed you at BW Sue. You were on my to-do list but kept missing you.