The best way to sap the last sorry drop of vitality out of your aging spirit is to hang out with grumpy people. I appreciate the wisdom, counsel, and rich stories from positive older acquaintances, and I try to empathize with the poignant sadness of some older folks, but I really enjoy an energy buzz from jumping into the chaotic creativity of younger people. I’m currently working on two major projects with a talented writer and a promising singer whose combined age is younger than mine. I’m hoping they won’t notice.
AK Turner, my co-author in our Drinking series, has children the same age as my grandchildren. We have totally opposite philosophies on issues that involve politics and religion (I’m right), but we enjoy a strong passion for writing and drinking. Capitalizing upon those notable skills, we wrote Drinking with Dead Women Writers, a fictional feast with 16 dead female authors. The sequel, Drinking with Dead Drunks, features 16 equally dead but drunker men writers. The next book, due in 2013, is Drinking with Dead Crooners. And, yes, it’s been fun and profitable to exploit our fascination with drinking with dead people.
Another project involves a talented young man who is still in high school. Andrew Coba attends the Fresco Arts Academy in Eagle, Idaho, and has the potential to become a famous jazz singer. I told him I was in the jazz choir at the University of Idaho back in 1972 and he nodded politely while he silently calculated which century that occurred. My company Mill Park Publishing is producing a CD of Christmas songs performed by Andrew as he sings and plays piano. Some of his classmates and an instructor also sing and perform on the CD. We’re recording the music at a studio in Boise, and the CD will be available in a few weeks.
Working with these two youngsters has been a collaboration of mutual appreciation. Through my company, AK received her first book byline and now has her own publishing company. In return, with her contacts and technological information, I learned how to produce an E-book and improve my marketing techniques. Andrew now has a product that will promote his talents and bring revenue, and I learned how to produce a musical CD. This old dog still is learning new tricks, and I’m grateful that my wine-soused brain can still process ideas with productive results. I’m not yet ready for the Bingo table.
Having friends of all ages is important for personal balance and a positive attitude. Besides keeping the brain from turning to mush, a busy schedule requires physical fitness. I’m enrolled in a high-impact exercise program called Body Back Boise taught by my drill sergeant daughter. The other women in the class are half my age. Our last session included 1,000 rounds of 10 difference exercises, and my main goal was to keep up without farting or wetting my pants.
I believe in the potential of creative young people and I’m eager to share my knowledge and skills while I still can remember our names and maneuver a wine opener without hurting myself. It’s a delicate achievement not to appear like the crazy old aunt in Arsenic and Old Lace or the tortured character of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. But as long as there are stories to write, songs to sing, and wine to enjoy, I’m choosing the team with the upstart rebels and young dreamers. Some day in the distant future when I’m content to sit in a rocker with a spill-proof sippy cup of wine, I hope a new generation of mentors will appear to collaborate with a group of feisty young artists. That’s the best way to stay young at heart.
Today’s blog was fueled by a bottle of 2009 Snake River Valley Cabernet Sauvignon produced locally by Fraser Vineyard. It’s about $30 and well worth the price.