I think this will be the first of three observations about writers at different stages of their lives and careers. This has been on my mind for a while but was brought to the fore by The Writer’s Almanac this morning, in which Garrison Keillor noted that that the poet Rita Dove was born on this date (August 28) in 1952. So we share a birth year (I’m slightly older) and a home state, Ohio, although she grew up in Akron and I near Dayton. Moreover, she attended Miami University, which I considered seriously, since it was less than an hour from home.
That got me thinking about writers of my generation, and how they are rapidly becoming the senior figures in the world of letters. My definition of that “generation” here is that they have to remember the Sixties as fairly young people, which means that in 2016 they range from their mid-fifties to early seventies. As a group, they continue to write faster than I can read. I’m mostly caught up on a few, having read the latest books by Graham Swift, Kazuo Ishiguro, Julian Barnes, and Ian McEwen and only being one or two behind on Louise Erdrich, Paul Muldoon, Roddy Doyle, and Colm Toibin. With others, such as Tim O’Brien and Ms. Dove, I’m sadly in arrears and need to catch back up.
Here’s the thing, though: for me, they are still the hot young properties, doing new and daring things. And they are–hot, new, daring. Just less young than we all once were. I hope they and I–and you, of course–continue in that vein for a good long time.