Please welcome our new blogger Margaret S. Hamilton to WWK. Look for Margaret's posts on the third Saturday of each month (and sometimes scattered throughout the month).

If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book next year, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our September interviews feature: Judy Penz Sheluk on 9/7, Lesley Diehl on 9/14, Julianne Holmes on 9/21, and Vicki Fee on 9/28.

Saturday Guest Bloggers: Lea Wait 9/3, Jacqueline Vick 9/10, and our Saturday Bloggers--9/17 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/24 Kait Carson.

Warren Bull has two short stories, "A Christmas Journey" and "Killer Eulogy" in the Darkhouse anthology titled Black Coffee. Available--Now! Warren's short story collection No Happy Endings is also available at Amazon in paper or Amazon for Kindle.

Jim Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available.

KM Rockwood's Abductions and Lies, the 6th in the Jesse Damon Crime Novel series, will be released in April. "Last Laugh," a short story in the anthology Black Coffee is available on Amazon. "Tarnished Hope," a short story in Murder Most Conventional, sponsored by Malice Domestic, April 29, at the conference. "Frozen Assets," a short story in Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning, release date May 14th (an anthology compiled by Chessie Chapter of SINC)

Gloria Alden released the seventh book in her Catherine Jewell mystery series, Blood Red Poinsettias, which is available at Amazon. Congratulations, Gloria.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Selfishness

I read an interview in Esquire Magazine years ago with Kris Kristofferson. He said, to paraphrase, that when building a career or learning your profession or art, sometimes you have to be selfish. At the time, I was in my twenties. I remember agreeing with his statement, still do. But…life changes.

Everyone expects the self-indulgence of twenty-something-year-olds. No one expects someone in their fifties to act self-indulgently. In fact, images of the supportive mother or grandma come to mind. So, here I am building a new career in my fifties and being self-indulgent. How becoming is that?

Not very becoming if we follow the “norm.” But what is the norm? Is normal, normal anymore?

Our economy has destroyed our images of what we call a normal life path. In our fifties we should be: looking forward to retirement in a few years, getting satisfaction from careers that we’ve advanced in and have dedicated thirty years of our life to, devoting ourselves to giving-back to charities and those who have supported us, and, for those of us with children, enjoying the forthcoming generations. In 2008, when the stock market dropped to half its value, retirement plans for many became unrealistic, a fantasy. Some of the first people let go were those of middle management because they were high paid and had the most benefits. Many people who have become unemployed have had to build new skills for new careers. Job searching alone is a time sucking chore although rarely selfish.

Self-fulfillment and actualization became catch-phrases years ago. Not everyone building a new career is unemployed. Those who have become disillusioned by their first careers start new careers using hobbies and interests as a basis. People in their fifties are part of the so-called “Me” generation. You can call us self-indulgent, but you can’t call us lazy. Building a new career is hard work. And by the way—what’s wrong with doing something you like?

When my husband becomes dissatisfied with his business and my children are experiencing the turbulence of changing from students to professionals, do I have the right to be selfish? Are all my above paragraphs self-justification for selfishness? I wish I had a definitive answer. My problem is I can’t stop writing.

12 comments:

Pauline Alldred said...

I think if you try to be normal and do something you don't want to do, gremlins pop up and sabotage your efforts. Others sense your heart isn't in what you're pretending to like so I say, write on.

E. B. Davis said...

I so agree, Pauline. I tried substitute teaching. Not only did I hate it, but I didn't think I was particularly good at it. Often writers aren't the most extroverted people, which I think is a characteristic of a good teacher. Students need outgoing friendly teachers. So, yes. I do what I'm drawn to.

June Shaw said...

Oh, yes! All of us who passed that being-a-young-parent mark have a right to take care of ourselves now. I try to. So does my amateur sleuth. And we're both having fun!

E. B. Davis said...

Having fun was a primary goal of mine, June. Thanks for reminding me. Sometimes this feels like work! My poor MC, Abby, isn't having a good time, though. But from the ashes new life grows.

Donnell said...

Okay, E.B. you're making me think early in the morning, and I don't like it . I did a great job of being a wife, mom, employee, volunteer. And then when my kids were in high school -- when I was manning, stocking and accounting for every concession stand there, it hit me. In a few years my kids were going to be gone, and I would need something to fill a tremendous void.

When other empty nesters were saying I feel so "empty", I had my writing; I had my goal of becoming a published author.

Selfish, oh, yeah, but I've already put them first. And it's selfish that is keeping us young and our minds engaged, so I can't see anything wrong with that, can you?

E. B. Davis said...

OMG, Donnell. I not only manned the concession stand, but I was also team mom on every team my son played on (and he played football and baseball). Yes I lugged cases of Gatorade around in my trunk, made subs for fundraisers and had team parties.

Yes-I did plan this to fill the void since I wrote my first novel when my oldest left for college. But I also wonder if I should be bringing home a paycheck. Maybe I'll be able to contribute income in the future, but now, I don't seem very productive (at least in a monetary sense).

Guess that makes me feel guilty.

Donnell said...

E.B. I don't feel guilty. My children knew I was there for them. Always will be. Now it's our turn :)))) From one Gatorade lifter to the next

Kara Cerise said...

I also have the "I can't stop writing" problem:) If I can't get to a computer I'll write on scraps of paper, a paper towel or keep it in my head. At times it does feel selfish but I just can't stop...

E. B. Davis said...

The new short for Fish Nets sounded fascinating, so I'm glad you can't stop!

morganalyx said...

I think taking care of one's self has been termed "selfish" too often, & by too many people. You HAVE to take care of yourself in order to be able to properly take care of others. To do otherwise is being untrue & unfair to yourself.

It's been my experience that, when someone calls me (or my actions) selfish, it's usually because I didn't give them what they wanted at the time. Like, they wanted me to put my needs/life on hold for them...so, who's being selfish in that case?

Great post, EB!

E. B. Davis said...

I think that you're right Alyx. If I would just finished up my novel, sell it and become rich and famous...

Ellis Vidler said...

I think there's a lot to be said for this kind of selfishness, Elaine. We give much of our youth to meeting others' needs. Now it's our turn. Alyx's comment was a good one too--we're often accused of selfishness when we don't meet someone else's needs. Good post!