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

May Interviews

5/5 Lynn Calhoon, Murder 101
5/12 Annette Dashofy, Death By Equine
5/19 Krista Davis, The Diva Serves Forbidden Fruit
5/25 Debra Goldstein, Four Cuts Too Many

Saturday WWK Bloggers

5/1 V. M. Burns
5/8 Jennifer Chow
5/22 Kait Carson

Guest Blogs

5/15 M. K. Scott


E. B. Davis's "The Pearl Necklace" will appear in the new SinC Guppy anthology The Fish That Got Away to be released in July by Wildside Press. The anthology was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Paula Gail Benson's monologue "Beloved Husband," from the perspective of Norton Baskin the second husband of Marjorie Kinan Rawlings (who wrote The Yearling and Cross Creek), appears in the Red Penguin Collection's An Empty Stage (released March 28, 2021).

Martha Reed's "Death by GPS" will appear in the Spring 2021 issue of Suspense Magazine, which will be released in the second week of April. Congratulations, Martha!

Susan Van Kirk has a new audiobook, A Death at Tippitt Pond, that will be released this month. Marry in Haste will be released in May by Harlequin Worldwide Mystery, as will Death Takes No Bribes in September. Congratulations, Susan.

Congratulations to Martha Reed. Her short story, "The Honor Thief" was chosen for the 2021 Bouchercon Anthology, This Time For Sure. Hank Phillippi Ryan will edit the volume, which will be released in August at the time of the convention.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Killer Weeds," appears in the January 20 edition of Texas Gardener's Seeds: From Our Garden to Yours. Congratulations, Margaret, who, if you follow Facebook know, is a superb gardener herself!

Congratulations to Jennifer J. Chow for garnering a 2021 Lefty Nomination for Best Humorous Mystery Novel. We're crossing our fingers for Jennifer!

Congratulations to Paula Gail Benson whose "Reputation or Soul" has been chosen for Malice Domestic 16: Mystery Most Diabolical anthology to be released this spring.

KM Rockwood's "Stay Safe--Very Safe" appears in this year's 2020 BOULD anthology. Congratulations, KM!

Annette Dashofy signed with agent Dawn Dowdle of the Blue Ridge Literary Agency. Congratulations, Annette!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Creativity, a Key to Longevity

Grandma Moses
Do you know writers tend to live longer? That is if they don’t take up mountain climbing, bull riding, sky diving, car racing or other dangerous activities. I found this out by reading a recent article, The Art of Living by Jeffrey Kluger in TIME Magazine. It’s not just writers, but all people who are doing what they enjoy if it involves creativity and not sitting in front of a TV most of the day, shopping or cleaning the house. Yes, there are those who love cleaning. I read in some woman’s obituary once – “she loved cleaning her house.” I forget her age, but she wasn’t too elderly.

Frank Lloyd Wrigh
Kluger used examples like Frank Lloyd Wright, Benjamin Franklin and Herman Wouk, 98, who recently published his 18th novel last year. Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was 76 and she lived to be 101 and Igor Stravinsky produced his masterpiece, Agon, when he was in his 70s. Picasso died at age 91 and still had paint under his nails. And it’s not just writers, artists, musicians and designers, who we consider creative, but doctors, lawyers, teachers and people like Warren Buffet, who certainly didn’t amass his huge fortune by not only being astute but also creative.  P.G. Wodehouse, a favorite author of mine whose birthday was a few days ago, lived to be 93 and wrote over a hundred books. Since his books are delightfully funny, in his case especially, I believe the happiness factor in doing what we love enhances longevity. Certainly there have been many writers, poets, artists and other creative people who didn’t live a long life so it’s not a given that if you start writing poetry or painting you’ll beat an early death.  

It’s assumed our brains wear out as we age, and that’s why we forget where we left the car keys, can’t quickly find that word we want or can’t remember the name of the person who greets us at the grocery store and we haven’t seen in a long while. Of course, that’s not my opinion. I think as we age we accumulate such a vast amount of knowledge, important or not, that it takes longer to search through all that information to find what we want. Researchers are now finding that the brain regenerates as we age by adding myelination, the growth of fatty insulation on neurons that keep the brain circuits running smoothly up into our 60s. Although that aspect of the brain can regenerate at least until the 60s, our computing memory slows and becomes less agile. No longer can we balance numerous ideas at once like younger people can. However, it’s now when the two hemispheres of the brain start helping each other out and actually enhance creativity. For the aging, as the brain becomes less structured, “Your inhibitions get taken away a little bit,” Dr. George Bartzokis, UCLA, says and, “That process of losing things may actually make you more creative.”

 Mortality also motivates a lot of older people, a sense that time is winding down for them and they need to create something that will outlast them. Psychologist Dean Keith Simonton of the University of California at Davis collected a sample group of 1,919 compositions written by 172 classical composers and compared how highly the works were rated by musicologists with how close the creation of those works came to the composers’ deaths. He found the higher the compositions were rated, was when “death was raising a fist to knock on the door.” That sounds depressing, but how much better to live one’s life to the fullest right to the end.

Just as your muscles will atrophy by not exercising in some way “When you use your brain a lot as opposed to sitting around looking at the wall, you’re repairing things centrally,” Bartzokis says. It’s important to have both physical and mental health. And much research has shown happy people live longer so that’s where doing something you love that’s both creative and also keeping physically active promises you a longer and more fulfilling life. Now just where did I put my glasses?

What do you most enjoy doing?

Do you think it helps you more mentally or physically or both?


E. B. Davis said...

This post was a welcome read, Gloria. Everyone ages, but I doubt few look forward to "old-age". I feel as though I've progressed vastly from my youth. I'd much rather be me now than me then. Writing mysteries in which all the details much fit exercises the brain and keeps us sharp. Put that together with creative killing and the older population is deadly. I also workout at the gym. Keeping physically exercised provides a good platform for thought.

Gloria Alden said...

I so agree with you, E.B. I'm happier now than I've ever been, and I know writing has a lot to do with it. Yes, I still have to search for that word sometimes that is lurking there, but I know my mind would be a lot slower if it wasn't for the mental stimulation of writing mysteries.

I don't go to a gym, but I do walk in the woods every morning and garden from early spring to late fall most days - weather permitting.

carla said...

It makes sense that exercising your brain keeps in strong, and using creativity accomplishes just that. This is what worries me about schools that shut down arts programs!

Gloria Alden said...

I so totally agree with you, Carla. Music and art are very important to enrich the mind and from what I've read, increase intelligence.

Shari Randall said...

Loved this, Gloria. And I agree with you and Carla - the arts are so necessary at every age. It's painful to think that some children are never exposed to the things that can enrich their minds and spirits throughout their lives.

Jim Jackson said...

I write, play bridge and do some teaching, all of which provide intellectual stimulation.

Knock wood, historically we Jacksons have declined physically before mentally, and I'm hoping that is the case for me.

~ Jim

Linda Rodriguez said...

Great post, Gloria! Writing is one profession in which you can continue to stay active until you die, just about. I think that helps writers to live longer.

Sarah Henning said...

Great post, Gloria! I agree that exercising your brain and getting a jolt from doing what you love is so important, at any age. Like Linda alluded to, I think we're all lucky to have fallen in love with something we can do at any age. Ah, writing, you lovely activity, you.

Gloria Alden said...

Shari, I agree because so many kids are not exposed to any music other than what is popular at the moment and never art except for commercials on TV.

James, that's been true with my family, too, except for my father, who had a massive stroke a year and a half before he died.

I agree with you, Linda. Most professions have a limited time frame, but writing or painting can go on and on.

Kara Cerise said...

Love this blog, Gloria. I’m inspired that Grandma Moses began painting when she was 76. Age isn’t an excuse!

Gloria Alden said...

No, it's not, Kara. A lot of people wait until they retire from 9 to 5 jobs to seek work or activities that are creative. Of course, there are those who don't know what to do with themselves once they retire and they vegetate and die young.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if writing (and other creative pursuits) contributes to a longer life, but writing is definitely something we can do as we get older, and in fact we probably get better at it and have more experiences to share.

Gloria Alden said...

KM, I so totally agree with that. The many life experiences we have can only add to our knowledge and creativity.