Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Elders of the Tribe of Blog

In my meanderings of late I have met with a couple of these, of whom I'm sure there are many, and very pleased I have been to do so.

Granny J, a retired journalist living in Prescott, SW Mountains, US, was kind enough to drop by here and leave a comment, so I returned the call at hers, Walking Prescott. She doesn't specify her age ( though she mentions her 103 year old mother who is buying her a new camera ), but describes herself as 'well into her Social Security years'. She is sharp, cultured and formidable, and observant of the quaint and quirky detail of life around her, and she comments that photography has greatly sharpened up her perceptions of the world around her, which really struck a chord with me. She says -' it is plain fun to share what I see with others'. She is also not someone with whom one can get away with sloppy language; she rejects the use of the term 'meme' in its blogging usage, and gives chapter and verse as to why. ( I am ashamed to say I was totally ignorant of the origin of the word).

Judith hails from Hertfordshire, the county of my birth, and is in her 80th year. She is thoughtful, frank, and sometimes uproarious, with huge experience and lust for life. Her blog is called 'NOT DEAD YET! the diary of an oldie who refuses to go quietly', which title rather caught my eye, and she describes it as '... about finding out who I am now, even if it's a different person each day... A workshop, where I am creative linguistically, visually, conceptually - It is the breath of life to me now.' Heady stuff.

I don't want to patronise them ( I wouldn't dare!) with the 'aren't they marvellous for their age' line, but I do find it both affirming and inspiring that older people such as Judith and Granny J are doing this too, and with such evident commitment and enthusiasm. First because my perception of ageing, principally with my mother, has been too often of a sense of disengagement from life, a defeat at the hands of loss and grief and failing strength, and with that depression and a generalised reproach of the world around one (and one's offspring in particular in my mother's case...). But these blogging elders are not beaten; they have found new forms of expression and creativity that have opened up new avenues of possibility for them, and they're getting on and doing it.

Secondly, I am accustomed to a pretty blank and puzzled response from many of my immediate friends and acquaintances - not all of whom are any older than I - if it is mentioned that I have a blog; 'what for? how do you find the time? that can't be worth getting up early for! what have you got to write about?' etc etc, words to that effect. OK, fair enough, each to their own, I didn't get it till I got it, and in any case I'm perhaps a little more comfortable if this is kept at one remove. But there is sometimes an implication in this reaction that time spent on the computer is somehow degenerate, a symptom of a world going to hell and leaving ordinary, old-fashioned human beings behind, obsolete,while the obese, bog-eyed, dehumanised denizens of the new order are lost to the real world in a virtual limbo. There may, of course be some grounds for this fear...

Somehow though, I find it reassures me as to the validity of what I'm doing here to know that I'm in the company of people that much older than me who, rather than being left feeling obsolete, are fearlessly - nay joyfully - taking what's on offer, and doing pretty well on it.

14 comments:

Judith said...

Oh Lucy - don't be fearful! How wonderful to be the inspiration of someone else's blog. And you have written just at the perfect moment for me.

I sat down at the computer in a rage, because the legalities and bureaucratic delays of administering a pension fund, are keeping me without my late husband's widow's pension for month after month after month. and I am spitting! I was about to spit it all into an email to my sons, who are my husband's executors, but I shall be able to write a little more rationally now that you have defused my evil feelings.

I shall go and visit Granny J next, and thank you ... thank you.

Marja-Leena said...

What a very lovely post, Lucy, with a fantastic title. I really enjoyed meeting these two fantastic elders. They'd be fabulous "members" of Ronni Bennet's Time Goes By blog http://ronnibennett.typepad.com/weblog/

As for responses to being a blogger, I get similar reactions, or even "what's a blog?" Shrug, they don't know the fun they're missing!

Granny J said...

Wow! Hope I can live up to your good words. For the record, I had my 80th last month. And here's an introduction to my remarkable mom. As you can see, I was more fortunate than most in my genes -- one grandfather lived to at least 96 & not one of his four children died before 90. Again, I appreciate your comments. Also: they've brought me a lot of new visitors.

catalyst said...

Lucy - I found your blog through Granny J and it inspired me to keep writing on mine. Thanks!

Bro. Bartleby said...

Isn't it wonderful to discover that sublime thoughts are not so rare after all and that many "common" folk are gifted with thoughts and ideas and imagination and insights that like seeds unwatered, could never spring to life for place and time were never just right. And how many of our ancestors lived in silence, save for those moments when no one was around and they could let their voice shout to the trees in the forest, to the waves on the beach, to the forever horizon from atop a mountain, and then could only imagine that others, like themselves, actually existed. Now we know, the world over, seeds are germinating!

anno domini said...

I too have reached the outrageous age of the 'free bus-pass'! (Surely there must be a mistake!) To me a blog is a wonderful way to jot down snippets from one's life, not for my own sons (they would doubtless find it boring) but perhaps for grandchildren or greatgrandchildren who, coming across a hard copy of these bits and bobs might think 'so that's what it was like to live in the 1950s, 60s, 70s etc.'
I would never bother otherwise!

herhimnbryn said...

Great post L. I too get the confused look and shrug and ALSO the implication that I must be able to spend my time more productively ( as was once said to me!).

I have read J's blog for some time now and admire her posts. I shall now whip over to G J's. Thanks for the link.

anaglyph said...

The 'Where do you get the time?' chestnut is puzzling, isn't it?

Like, who ever asks you "Where do you get the time to write in a diary?"

I just tell people I never watch television. Which is the truth. Amazing how much time you have if you do that.

Dave said...

I agree, it's a real comfort and inspiration to know that there are people still learning and trying new things into their 80s and beyond. I only wish more elders could be cajoled into blogging.

Lucy said...

I am really delighted to have received such an animated and wide-ranging response, but most especially that it pleased the two Js!
And I've many a new lead to follow up now!

Judith said...

Lucy, have you picked up the link on my blog to The Ageless Project at http://jenett.org/ageless/1910s/ ?
It is a collection of blogs by oldie bloggers, grouped by the decade of their birth. There are 16 in the 1920s, and 2 in the 1910s, which is the farthest back it goes at present. I'm going to submit mine for inclusion.

zhoen said...

There are those who dread having to write a note of any kind to anyone, so writing for pleasure confuses them.

Avus said...

I have been an admirer of Judith for some time, but thanks for Granny J who , I believe, visited my blog via yours.
Both great, feisty ladies who inspire this mere 68 year old!

marlyat2 said...

As I young crone, I'm glad to see liveliness ahead!