Turning 60 Inspires ‘Boomer Lit’
Here’s something I did not know. There is an entire genre of literature that focuses primarily on older women. I’m talking about women in their 50s and 60s, not babies in their 40s. It’s called “matron lit.” Or “hen lit.” Or even “granny lit.”
Yeah, I hate those names, too. But I digress.
The reason I found out about this culture of older women literature is because of Anna Resich, a Honolulu resident who sent me a book she’s written. It’s called Sixty, Still Ticking and Fabulous.
According to Resich, she wasn’t aiming to write a book. She was approaching 60, newly single, and had some things she wanted to say.
So she started a blog. “When I first started my blog, I wasn’t really thinking about writing a book at the time,” she says. “I was writing for the joy of writing, and the blog gave me an opportunity to share my experiences without having to go through the daunting process of getting them published. As I was posting my entries, friends and family would comment that they would make a great book.”
So that’s what she did – compiled her essays into a book and self-published with the help of Amazon’s CreateSpace.
Here’s what I learned from Resich about turning 60: You’re old enough to appreciate your life experiences, young enough to look forward to more. You’ve gained perspective, if not yet wisdom. You’re mature, not elderly. In 2014, 60 is the new 40.
Resich writes about her amicable divorce, her relationships with her children, and friendships that either endured or foundered as the result of her changing situations.
She describes her battles with stage 2 breast cancer and then with tongue cancer, and how she coped with being a patient on a “conveyer belt,” being efficiently and impersonally moved along the process of treatment and recovery.
I enjoyed the portions of the book dedicated to life in Poland under Communist rule. She describes a culture that is the opposite of the excess and consumerism with which we Americans are familiar. Yet, while pointing out our differences – and there are many – she also shows how very much the same people are everywhere, especially young people.
An excerpt: “Our problems revolved around school, friendships, boys, and the well-known cry of ‘I have nothing to wear.’ Of course, for many, that concept was a lot more literal than today’s generation (even in Poland) could ever imagine.”
But they managed to scrape together a wardrobe and to look fashionable.
Everybody sewed, she recalls, out of necessity. They could whip up a bunch of miniskirts out of mom’s old flared skirts from the ’50s. And like teens everywhere, they were keyed in to the grapevine:
“If someone spotted a shipment of T-shirts, for example, word would spread like wildfire. Never mind that the T-shirts were all the in the same color and size; there was nothing that couldn’t be altered or dyed (grandmothers were particularly adept at that).”
Resich, who had dedicated her adult life to raising three children during the 36 years of her marriage, now finds herself an independent woman, an author, revitalized, and still surrounded by love and friendship in this new phase of her life.
She’s loving it. And she’s always looking ahead. This fall she’ll be traveling on her own for the first time – to Africa. You’ll be able to read all about it in her next book.
In the meantime, ignore that whole matron lit, hen lit and granny lit thing. Let’s call it boomer lit instead.
If you’re interested in Sixty, Still Ticking and Fabulous, it’s available online at Amazon.com.