It is focus that we find with aging

Slice of Life logoI have had the pleasure of following Marion Dane Bauer’s blog, Just Thinking, over the last year. If you are not following it you should – such wise words on writing, teaching and life. Her last two posts are reflections on writing and aging. She and her readers are discussing that focus or urgency in later years to take on the projects or the writing that is most important to them.

Having recently retired I am seeking a place of quiet, reflection and yet feel the need to engage in something new. I was thinking about a legacy project. What is it that I leave behind?

As a teacher my artistry was in process and not product. Not something you can see so easily. My work moved through the lives of children and families. I know I made a difference, I can see it in the students who connect with me on Face Book, the teachers who connect now and again for information on teaching. I can feel it as I talk with young teachers – I know this territory well.

But now I am leaving that terrain and will begin a new project. I urgently thought I must write a book. I have always wanted to do this and now I must hurry. I must complete this “legacy project.” I was seeking a product to place on the shelf, to say this is what I have done.

You know that is not what it is about, I realized. I don’t need to write to show, to produce. I don’t need a legacy project. I now need to write to understand, to focus my thinking on what I have learned, to find my story.

Marion helped me bring focus to this with her recent comment –

“I’m not even thinking about whether this particular project will be published. Instead I’m simply reaching into myself, into that place where language begins, where story resides, and pulling out whatever I find there.”

So now at 60 + years I can step into the role of a writer with more ease and focus. I am not naive enough at this age to think I will become a published author and yet writing seems to call. I will continue to dance around this art form connecting with writers, books, illustrators, designs.  They are the people who give me energy.  They help me focus but I also know now that this project is for me!

Thanks Marion for helping me focus!


urlIf you haven’t read Marion’s books in awhile please do – they are great url-1fun – I loved On My Honor and Taste of Smoke but there are so many more to choose from.


About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
This entry was posted in Reflection and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to It is focus that we find with aging

  1. djtsmith says:

    Mmmm. I’m with you here. I have published a couple of books through Blurb since retiring. It is most definitely worth the doing. My post today is about one I just finished.

  2. Terje says:

    I like how your focus moved from the product (book) to writing for yourself. I hope that you will enjoy the process and as a bonus get published too. I have a long way to retirement, especially if Estonian plans to push the retirement age to 75.

  3. Judy C. says:

    Writing for yourself and enjoying it, will just be the beginning of great things to come. The words will continue to flow and create stories for others to read.

  4. Pingback: A Continuing Conversation | Marion Dane Bauer: Just Thinking

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