Saturday, May 25, 2013

You Say It's Your Birthday...

Today is my birthday. (Beatles song ear worm commencing in 3...2...1 BOOM!) I had to stop and actually do the math to realize I'm getting up there chronologically. Part of that may be because I don't remember what I came into the room for, where I  left my glasses, or how many feet there are in a mile. Nor do I pay much attention to age.  I mean, my perception of me is vastly different from the numerical calculation. I'm reminded of Satchel Page's quote: "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?"
Perception...that's our business as writers. Evocation of mental imagery through particular word choice to lead our readers into the worlds we imagine. How we see our surroundings translates into scene after scene. How we wish we would be often becomes the strengths we give our protagonists. What we dislike stains our villains.

What is your perception of old? In creating an aged character, what makes them ancient? Wrinkles and gray hair? Or is it a crotchety, "get off my lawn" attitude? I like the notion of Merlin getting younger the longer he is alive. (I've known a few people who became more immature as they gained years, but that's an entirely different concept.) What keeps a spirit young in my book is the willingness to freely experience joy the way a three-year-old does, squealing with delight when a firefly lights upon their hand or bubbles float by reflecting rainbows. To be unabashedly willing to play the fool, be a noob, become a tourist in your own town keeps the heart and eyes open to the all-important little things that make life a wonder.

By my estimation, I'm in my thirties--old enough to establish a life and young enough to jump into it wholeheartedly. Think I'll stay here another decade or two.

P.S. The fact that I chose a Beatles song should give you a clue...

Jude Johnson
Dragon & Hawk Trilogy; Within The Mists

Coming soon: Save the Last Dance Trilogy


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

A perfect description of what young is.

Through the years, I've been priveledged to know many people in their mid-nineties. They carried these traits though to the ending -- note I didn't say end.

My grandmother was 105 + and still had an enthusiasm for life and so did my bridge partner at 95, when she told me, "I thank God for the day each morning and ask Him that I learn someting new and am able to help someone else.

Ute Carbone said...

I hope your thirtieth birthday is as splendorous as your last thirtieth birthday, Jude. You're right in that your as young(or old) as you think you are. A good friend of mine once said she was all ages all at once...I kinda like that.

Jude Johnson said...

Thanks, kids. It's a gift to know people who have lived nearly or more than a century, isn't it? And Ute, I like your friend's attitude, too!

Off to eat something decadent,

Big Mike said...

Every decade my perception of really old changes. Now that I'm in my 60's I won't be really old till I hit 70. Been feeling this way since I was 40. Then when I hit 66 this year and my body is giving out everywhere, I accepted, I'm really old (g).

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Liz Fountain said...

Reminds me of a joke an 80-plus year old veteran told me when I visited the local Senior Center for World Book Night:
"After the usual Sunday service, a worried-looking young man came up to the minister. 'Do you believe in the hereafter?' the young man asked. 'Oh yes, son,' said the minister. 'Every day, I walk into one room or another and say, now what am I here after?'"