Archive for the ‘boomers/aging’ Category

The condo is in disarray, the van is partially packed and in a couple days we’ll be waving goodbye to our favorite city on the east coast. Summer in Boston has been both energizing and over-stimulating, an odd combination of paradoxical states to exist in one body. But for me, both are very real.

harvard-square-coverWalking around MIT and visiting their museums, hibernating in the Harvard Coop and shopping the Square, walking on the Esplanade while Bella swims in the river and chases squirrels, attending concerts and shows by world class performers – and being able to go everywhere on public transportation – all very energizing experiences. MITThere’s an intellectual aliveness in this city, the home of a couple hundred colleges and universities – including ivy leaguers. And athleticism is everywhere and represented by all age groups. It’s flat out invigorating to be in a city where intellect and fitness interact so organically.

New England is a diverse vacation spot too. 90 minutes from Boston you can be on Cape Cod and an hour’s ferry takes you to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket. Then, of course, rural Maine is right up the road and pastoral Vermont is just a couple hour’s drive. GingerbreadHousesNew Hampshire, close by too. I had the opportunity to spend a week on the Cape and take a short trip to a friend’s sheep farm in Vermont that offered million dollar views of rolling hills for miles in all directions. VermontI love this part of the country for all those reasons.

I’m also exhausted from the experience. City life is loud, busy, fast and relentless. We were staying at the intersection of two very busy throughways in town, and in front of a bustling expressway. Those are also reasons why it’s so easy to get around town. But the non-stop cacophony of traffic, horns, sirens is trying on the nerves and my patience level was tested to the max each day by cyclists who think they’re above traffic laws and buses speeding past cars and just assuming the lanes belong to them. BostonTrafficStraying from a walking path by a foot or so might cause a rear end collision from a roller skater, runner and cyclist in a real hurry to go somewhere but who doesn’t think it’s necessary to alert anyone he’s about to whiz past. And this was during the “off” summer season. Imagine the craziness when kids come back to school, soon.

Once upon a time, this lifestyle was my lifestyle and Boston was home for a few years. It felt perfectly normal then to be part of the hustle bustle of this busy town. But somehow, as my system has adapted to warmer seasons, so too has my need for peace and quietude. Since living in a heavily wooded community in a much smaller southern city – or as I call it, a town – I seem to thrive on living life more slowly. I’m happier, more content and, frankly, feel more at home. So while Boston offered a really fun summer, it’s time now to come home and resume a life that’s a bit more ratcheted down.


Maybe age has something to do with it, though many active folks my age in Boston thrive on the go, go, go. I think my go, go, go years are behind me. After a very fortunate, fulfilling and successful career, I’ve retired. And now it feels time to live life a little smaller. A bit more pensively, experiencing adventure in a slower, richer way.

So – bye bye Boston, for now, anyway. My husband keeps devising ways to spend more summers here – maybe we will, maybe we won’t. But I do know that living here for good is likely not in my cards. And I love this city. That would be my paradox

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It started most recently at our Thanksgiving gathering of 22 members of my husband’s clan and celebrating the 33rd birthday of one niece, the 2nd pregnancy of our niece-in-law and cajoling my 93-year-old father-in-law out of a recent bad dream. There was that nagging sense that time is flying by. That we are now the age of our parents when they hosted these family get-togethers, back when our nieces and nephews were the infants and toddlers.

Back then my father-in-law played the invisible stair game with those little ones as the rest of us went looking for the “missing” kiddos, searching the house and carefully stepping over giggling youngsters on our mission to find them on the 2nd floor. Today they’re grown and invent games for their babies at this holiday gathering while we “oldsters” prepare dinner. Whew!

Left to my own internal clock I’m in my late 30’s with a healthy body and exuberance for living and no children to mark the passage of time. I’ve discovered yoga, hiking, biking and healthy eating and, so far, my body hasn’t betrayed me. My 60th birthday left me scratching my head and thinking about time. That more of it is behind me than ahead. When did that happen?

We’re now entering 2015. Friends and siblings are grandparents! GRANDPARENTS? My dearest childhood friend died from cancer last year. A woman in my jewelry class just suffered a massive heart attack that ended her life. She was 66. Other close friends are experiencing serious health challenges. Three of our pets are senior citizens. My father is 91 with health issues.

These are things that weren’t part of my world in my 20s, 30s and 40s. Life had so many years ahead. I was ensconced in a vibrant pulse of daily tasks with no thoughts about the beginning of the end.

Is a changing perspective part of the aging process?

Today I’m called ma’am everywhere. Ads no longer target me, neither do TV shows. Everyone at work is younger. My idea of social media is Facebook. Have no idea about the myriad other ways younger folks communicate. Evidently not much happens face to face anymore. And my silver hair is no longer novel. Now it’s expected!

And guess what? I don’t care. I DON’T CARE!  Now life is so much richer with understanding how precious each day is. Everyday I wake up and feel good is a day to celebrate and appreciate. Friends are more important. Work is much less important. I don’t have a yearning to acquire and strive to greater things. My testiness threshold is greater, I’m more easily satisfied and I’ve discovered how hobbies foster creative growth.

I’m joyful, content and at peace – most days. And I know I’m gonna die at some point. And that’s why each day, with its inherent challenges, is to be appreciated and lived without regret. It’s a miraculous gift to live this human life. That fills me with awe.

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FebShell1Another month has gone by and now six months have passed since I started this year-long conscious living project.  The shell that comes out of my bowl of 12, signifying a month lived, is dangerous looking and prickly.  The little sea animal that used to live inside did its best to stave off predators.  Any one bold enough to try to snack on this creature risked injury in the process.  I guess it’s sort of like life in that you never know what each day will bring.  It could bring joy, sorrow or danger.  It’s filled with risk of varying degrees.  One day you’re healthy — and the next, maybe you’re not.  Of that I’m acutely aware.  A little farther down you’ll read why.

FebShell2This month though, more than the others, has come and gone with little hindsight awareness of how I spent my time.  I know I enjoyed each day and meditated at the start of most.  There was time spent at the horse rescue, with my hospice patient and her husband, celebrating my husband’s birthday, exercising, reading and other assorted mundane activities of daily living.  And I spent quite a bit of time with my dear friend who’s living each one of her days with a keen awareness of the cancer in her body and wondering what that will ultimately mean.  Talk about awareness of life!

Mostly what I feel these days is appreciation for my health, my life and everything in it.  Turns out that my age has something to do with that.  Research shows that wisdom and a sense of well-being grows as we age, with the middle-aged brain reaching its peak potential in those areas.  In fact that research shows us 50 somethings to be happier in this decade than others.  You can find out details in Barbara Strauch’s breezy read called “The Secret Life Of the Grown-Up Brain”   She covers health and medicine for the New York Times and has written other books on health related subjects.  You can hear a lecture from her here.

It’s soothing to know that as we age our brains respond less to negative stimuli and, according to Strauch’s book, lean towards accentuating the positive as an almost automatic reflex.  I like that.

Barbara Allen

Barbara Allen

I saw it in action in early February while attending a lecture by Barbara Allen who, at age 71, recently completed more than 2100 miles of the Appalachian Trail.  Alone with a 30 pound back pack.  She told us that her friends tried to dissuade her from the solo hike by pointing out all the potential dangers for an, ahem, older lady hiking alone.  She told them, and us, that she’d rather die doing something she loved than be paralyzed by fear and alone in her house.  That’s quite a case of accentuating the positive, wouldn’t you say?

You can read a story about her here.

And see some photos from her six month adventure here.

She was a captivating woman who inspires me to continue hiking, though I doubt I’ll ever do a solo expedition like that.  I’ll continue to succumb to my paranoia about being eaten by wild animals and attacked by scary people.

But I do live my life my way albeit on a less grand scale.  Even before I started this awareness project I’ve known that after a finite amount of time my experience as a human being will be over.  And the older I get the faster the time seems to fly.  Instead of my whole life looming ahead of me like in my 20s, now I hope to get 25 or 30 healthy, vibrant years under my belt before whatever’s next comes next.

What I know today, different from a few years ago, is that making a connection with life, many forms of life, is what draws meaning for me now.

So long February.  May March continue to bring health, happiness and a peaceful brain.

And you?  How did you spend February?

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Writing is a craft I’ve been playing with recently.  I say playing because a “writer” isn’t something I’ve ever considered myself though I’d been writing professionally for many years.  Television stories, that is.  Non-fiction ones, both short form and longer pieces.  It’s a skill I acquired, though never really a talent.  Talent is a gift that can be refined and made stronger.  I think I’m gifted in some things, but not really writing.  Sometimes I’m proficient, but I don’t consider myself as having a way with words.  I can describe what I see and what I think.  Mostly it’s because I’m talking on paper – and talking is something I’m pretty good at.  Articulating, to be specific.  (And when you talk, you can end with prepositions.)

Now that I’m not making television shows I’m playing with the craft of writing to see if I can get better and to discover a voice that fits me.  So the idea of learning to write well is a creative pursuit that’s intriguing and offers a challenge that I’m up for tackling.  But I’m under no delusion that it’s something at which I can become talented.  The book I recently finished by Stephen King titled “On Writing” reinforces the same thought.  He says good writers can become better, but not great.

The notion of writing a book is as fascinating to me as it is daunting.  So when I read, I find myself deconstructing its form:  studying how something is said, the way it’s developed and the style within which it unfolds.  It’s within that context that I recently spoke with Lynne Spreen about her first novel, “Dakota Blues,” which she also self-published.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and its evolution of story and thought process of protagonist Karen.  She’s a middle-aged (read boomer) who is so deeply consumed by her HR career that she considers herself indispensible, until one day she’s blindsided by its fiction.  Brutally.  Spreen expertly weaves narration that winds you through countryside, nature, settings and Karen’s mind.  You feel, see and taste everything.  Chapters move quickly as they weave you through story until you can’t put down the book.

Let’s start with her trailer which sets the mood well and teases it even better.

Now on to our conversation …

The book unfolds effortlessly – at least to the reader, which constantly makes me wonder how effortless was it for you to write?

I have to confess: not effortless. I’m thrilled it ended up looking that way, but this book took a lot of years to write. Picture a potter’s wheel, and a grey lump of clay getting fat, then skinny, then fat again as the wheel spins. That was DB.

How much did you write each day and how much of the story did you know before writing?

I write as many days in sequence as I can, because if I skip a day or two, I forget details! But I had to find that out the hard way.

That’s why it took me ten years (gasp!) In the early years, I’d get distracted or upset about how it was going, or my job would wring me out, and I’d stop writing for months at a time.

Did you keep notes of the details?

Oh, I did! I had notes here and lists there, notebooks and computer files and everything. I was learning to write as I wrote. Problem was, as I learned, the details had to change. The notes would become obsolete, so I’d throw them away. Doesn’t this sound like fun?

Please elaborate.

After a lifetime as a corporate suit, I was finally able to downscale to part-time, which allowed me to write, but I discovered I knew almost nothing about constructing a novel. So I spent years learning – attending classes, conferences, reading Writer’s Digest, and later, blogs and articles on the Internet.

Did you map out the sequences in advance, complete with the narrative scenes provided?

No, I didn’t. But now that I know better, I will! Originally the whole story was set in Newport Beach, but I didn’t love it there. Then, when I went back to N. Dakota with Mom in 2008, my first visit back since childhood, I fell in love with the area and knew my story had to be based in the Midwest. Does that give you an idea of all the revising?

As we drove from Denver to Dickinson and back again, and during the visit, I kept recording my observations into a video recorder. Mom and I still talk about that trip – it was the trip of a lifetime.

What were the different phases you went through with the book – ie:  did you write from an outline, had you written notes for yourself along the way?  Was there a skeleton that you filled in as the story grew?

I think it would be better not to tell you how I did it, because it’s exactly wrong! My so-called method was trial-and-error, which ate up a lot of time: I did not have a good idea of how a novel should be structured, or how to outline it. I went through about 3 systems and ended up using the one by Larry Brooks (StoryFix.com). So my next book should only take about a year to write, now that I know what is supposed to go where. (She said hopefully.)

So if you weren’t sure how a novel should be structured, how were you able to start writing it?  Did you have to restructure the story to accommodate the structure?

I wrote a hundred pages of first chapters. It was excruciating. Yes, I had to rewrite everything, multiple times.

Stephen King says in his book “On Writing” that you first write with the door closed and then with the door open – meaning (I think) that the first phase is almost stream of consciousness writing – letting the story spill out of you.  Then you re-write it with readers in mind.  Does that define your process – or was yours different?

I loved that book, but I think my future process (after the crucible of this first experience) will be this: I’ll first create a logline or one-line. Then a short synopsis, then a longer synopsis, then a form of outline, and finally, the novel.

What was your writing regimen to prepare for tackling a novel?

I lit a candle, drank lots of wine and started typing. Just kidding. Now that I’m 58, my stomach hates alcohol, which makes me so mad.

That sounds like a plan for me, actually!  But I was thinking more along the lines of “practice” pieces.  Were there such things?  For example, now you have many writing venues in your life:  book reviews, a blog, articles on different websites, maybe more.  Did those outlets serve as practice pieces, of sorts?  Or just other avenues of expression?

I started the nugget of what would become Dakota Blues about ten years ago. At the time, I was freelance writing (newspaper and magazine) which helped me hone my skills. I also joined a critique group which I consider critical to getting better at the craft. Then, as I began blogging, doing book reviews, etc., that helped me even more, because your writing gets tighter. You find yourself asking, “What’s my point?” or “What the hell does that have to do with anything?” It’s better to ask yourself that before the reader does it for you!

How did you determine when the story was winding down and coming to its rightful end?

Strangely enough for one so scattered, I had an idea of how I wanted Karen’s journey to unfold. I had learned enough to understand and treasure the concept of story arc, but also, I have always been eager (which is not a strong enough word – passionate? Yes, passionate.) about women breaking free in midlife or later. Realizing they actually hold the keys to their jail cells.

When and how did you determine who the support characters would be for Karen and what their back-stories might be?

They came and went. I would learn something critical about supporting characters and realize one of mine had to go, so I’d edit her out. Now I understand that each character exists for a reason, to carry water for the story. She or he can’t just be there because you want to get revenge on your coworker or boyfriend. They exist to perform a function for the story. In the case of Frieda, she served as guide to old age, someone who could tell Karen what to expect and how to be happy and independent when older. Frieda also served as a mother-replacement for Karen, who felt guilty for having “abandoned” her own mom.

That’s interesting because Frieda’s relationship with her own daughter didn’t feel like a role-model sort of relationship.  What was your reason for that?

I wanted to show an old woman who, even though she was really old, still grappled with the same issues we all do (family discord) and some we all don’t, at least not yet (mortality.) What must it feel like to be 90?

So even though Frieda is fiercely independent, she caves (with the inducement of the baby) and decides to go see Sandy and maybe live with her. However, the crisis in Wyoming causes not just Karen but Frieda, as old as she is, to change her mind and keep on fighting. Which I think is interesting, because it shows a VERY elderly woman who is just like us, only wiser. And she has a lot to teach Karen. The troubled relationship with Sandy is a metaphor for any difficult situation in our lives.

Locations are so real they can’t possibly be fictional. Are they?

The locations are definitely not fictional, but I wrote about Dickinson before the oil boom landed like Godzilla. That lovely small town now exists only in my book. I’m glad that North Dakotans are finally getting economic benefit, but there’s a cost.

Many writers suggest to “write what you know.”  How closely does Dakota Blues resemble your life?

There’s a lot of me and my ancestors in it. I worked in HR, like Karen (Karen is the name of my elder sister; I used it to honor her). And the theme of the story – breaking free, rediscovering your authentic self, and finding empowerment in the second half of life – is my passion. I believe it can happen if we take a more active role in our own destiny.

How would you say fiction differs from non-fiction?

As an HR exec, I wrote non-fiction every day, along these lines: “You were observed at 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday, October 15, exiting the Pussy Cat Gentlemen’s Club in (city). You opened the door of your work truck (plate # xxxxx), started the vehicle and in approximately ten seconds, collided with a telephone pole.” After thirty years of that kind of writing, I was artistically constipated. But little by little, I learned to make stuff up. Fiction is so fun and freeing.

But you also write “real” pieces, articles and book reviews.  I consider those non-fiction.  Do you consider there to be a difference?

That’s an interesting question, because although obviously fiction is “unreal” as opposed to non, which is “real,” at the same time, if I’m writing fiction, I have to deal with facts, too. Like with Dakota Blues, I did a lot of research, such as contacting an ornithologist about bird life on the northern plains. (Specifically: if trees only arrived with the settlers, where did birds live before that? Were species limited to those that lived in burrows, like some owls?)

And with my newspaper column or other works, I had to paint dramatic pictures with my words, and construct the articles in such a way as to pull the reader in and keep them hooked. So although I’ve never EVER thought about this before, the two forms do have a lot in common. Good question, Joyce.

The book looks as professionally packaged (font, art, weight of paper, number of pages) as all the books I have from big publishing houses.  Please explain the process of self-publishing and why you chose Amazon.

Thank you! I actually had the cover made independently by www.Damonza.com. I’ll tell him you said so.

Why I chose Amazon: an indie publisher wanted to publish Dakota Blues, and in preparation for the contract negotiations (did I mention I used to negotiate union contracts?) I researched Amazon (actually, CreateSpace, an entirely separate company) because I knew they listed their a la carte publishing services and costs right on the website. So I’m thinking, okay, I’ll tell Mr. Indie I want this, and this, and this…and then I realized I could do it without him! This is the beauty of self-publishing (although at this point, I have about six people on my team, so the label is inaccurate.)

What’s a cost range for self-publishers?

Nobody will give you a straight answer to this because it’s all over the place, depending on what services you want to buy and how techy you are. But I would say if you spend more than $2500, you’re nuts. My own services (including a $600 book trailer done by my cover artist) probably totaled $1500. But a person can spend way less. If you just want to sell it as an ebook, you can upload your manuscript to Smashwords for free. Then tell everybody about it and rake in the cash. Or coin, depending.

What are you working on now?

Oh, this is so fun! It’s a collection of short stories about the experience of being older. It’s called “The New Country – Stories of Midlife and Beyond.” I’ve got my critique group laughing and crying and begging for more. There’s quite a bit of humor in it.

Any final nuggets you’d like to share about your discovery process?

Lots of people ask authors where we get ideas. Here’s my best suggestion: coffee and the morning paper (or in my case, the morning laptop). One of my best sources of ideas for characters and scenes is from reading advice columns (I really like Carolyn Hax at the Washington Post). Also, I get Google Alerts when the word “boomer” turns up in an article online. Sometimes you find out about a trend (like the largest group of people seeking divorce is women over 50, and the most common reason given is she wants to move, now that the kids are raised, and he doesn’t. So she goes without him.) Then you ask “what if?” Because that’s the magic of writing fiction: dreaming up your own questions, and supplying your own answers.

Thanks for asking me to join you in this discussion, Joyce. I had a blast!

That’s from Lynne Spreen, author of her first novel, Dakota Blues” found on Amazon.  Pick up your copy and enjoy it as much as I have.

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My column from last Sunday’s paper…

A living will is one of those documents you don’t usually think about until circumstances force you to, and then its piercing questions cut straight to the meaning of life.

How hard, and at what price, do you want the medical system to work to keep you alive? Therefore, what does it mean to be alive? This is not light Sunday morning reading, to be sure. For me, the living will took most of a Sunday afternoon to labor through on behalf of my elderly father, whose health just took a turn for the worse.

The first question asked whether he wanted CPR to be administered. He’s always said that if there’s a breath, there’s hope, so I guessed he’d say yes. But now I read that risks of CPR, particularly in the elderly, include broken ribs — one of which could puncture his lung and require mechanical intervention and a chest tube. He could also suffer brain damage because of less oxygen to the brain, and vomiting that might cause pneumonia if it aspirates into his lungs. Really? Call me naive but I had no idea, and, as it turns out, neither did he. In other words, he could be sicker than when he started.

Of course, the alternative is death. So there lies the question: How alive is alive?

Many physicians spend their days saving lives yet would not want heroic intervention for themselves; they well understand that it’s often futile and, worse, imposes suffering on the patient. Dr. Ken Murray writes about quality of life vs. its length in his poignant blog called “How Doctors Die.” (http://bit.ly/LP2d7g)

So many people wind down their lives in an ICU attached to tubes because traumatized family members tell doctors to do everything possible. They’re expecting a chance for the patient to resume a normal life again. Often that doesn’t happen; the patient may live, but not the life they knew. Family doesn’t realize, nor are they usually told, what’s reasonable to expect. And in the process, tens of thousands of dollars are spent every day.

As a hospice volunteer, I witness the process of dying each week. Patients experience their final days receiving compassionate care that minimizes pain and offers emotional, social and spiritual support. It’s usually not death that people fear, but rather pain and social isolation. Facing the end, people realize that it’s relationships that matter and spending time with loved ones takes priority. A book by Dr. Ira Byock summarizes four things he found matter most to a dying person: “Please forgive me. I forgive you. Thank you. I love you.”

Author and philosopher Joseph Campbell says that the real search isn’t for the meaning of life so much as for the experience of being alive. Nobody wants to end their days wishing I had, or hadn’t — we all want to live significantly and feel we’re making contributions of some kind to the planet and each other. We want our lives to have meaning until our last breath.

One of my favorite reads is by Rodney Smith, whose book “Lessons From the Dying” is, despite the title, more about living. During his hospice career Smith gleaned insights about what’s important in life. There are gems throughout this work, but his summary point might be, “It helps to live with the end in sight.” Each day matters, and living it consciously is a choice we’re all empowered to make.

Everyone is going to die. The question is how do we want to live and at what cost?

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English: Scanned image of author's US Social S...

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Next month my husband turns 65, an age that used to feel ancient to me.  That’s when people officially retire because they’ve reached old age, get their Medicare card to help with health care costs  and join the senior citizens’ club.  In fact, he became one of the 10,000 people each day who sign up to receive Social Security and Medicare.   Wow – think we’re experiencing a national entitlement crisis?

Meanwhile, where did all the years go?  He was 38 when we got married and somehow he’s still 38 to me.  He pretty much does everything now that he did then.  Come to think of it, I still feel 33, maybe 36, but certainly in my mid 30s even though the calendar year insists I’m 57.  57!

My mother always told me this would happen, that I’d feel like the same person inside regardless of the calendar year. Not everything’s the same though.  Back during my original 30s I worked constantly, spent a lot of down time shopping and enjoyed participating in the night scene.  These days I have very little interest in shopping and my drive to succeed has waned, making space for new interests to develop.

Sometimes I think I enjoy my life more now than back then, I feel more peaceful and comfortable with myself.  The thrilling highs come from different things now.  And I’m not talking drugs – then or now.  I’m talking about events that inspire euphoria.

Today’s baby boomers are yesterday’s hippy generation.  We’re still rebellious, forging new paths.  We don’t feel old at age 50.  We feel adventurous and highly conscious of good health.

Television shows don’t target the over 55 age group, but they’re behind the times.  We’re the demographic with the most expendable dollars and the adventurous spirit to try new things and go new places.  Travel companies are now recognizing that, so are magazines and beauty products.  Pay attention to greenways and notice the 50+ crowd on bicycles, roller blades, running and walking.  Advertisers are picking up on the trend and it’s high time.  Research finds that we’re exercising twice as much as earlier generations.

I’ve accepted that I’m getting older and the reality doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the anticipation did.  It’s still a little freaky that my husband will soon be 65, just like every one of his other age milestones stabbed me…. 50, 60, because he always hits the big number before I do, his age becomes my crisis.  So when it’s my turn, it’s no big deal.  Sort of like a dry run.

Here’s what we know… somebody turns 50 every 8 seconds.  People age 65 and older now exceed 35 million and growing.  Last January introduced the first of some 77 million baby boomers surging toward retirement.

America is growing older.

How do you feel about aging?

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A comment by Annie Liebowitz has really gained a foot hold in my psyche, naming the amorphous ramblings in my brain about what might be next for me.  She has a new photography book out called “Pilgrimage” and she was recently interviewed about it by Dominique Browning in the Times.  She wrote it to “save myself,” she told Browning, “to remind myself of what I like to do, what I can do.”

She was looking for a way to nurture her creativity in a new raw, rather primal testament to where she stands in her life now – and she photographed objects instead of people.

For some reason the thought of Annie Liebowitz experiencing a creative crisis is anathema to me.  She’s certainly among the most well-known photographers of this era, amassing a healthy livelihood along the way.  And yet she reached a point in her life where she questioned, what’s next?

Her talent is photography; more importantly, she’s able to communicate a mood, attitude of a subject that transcends the page and penetrates our soul.

What is this nebulous noun, talent, and how is it recognized and, ultimately, grown?  According to Liebowitz it can disappear.  “It needs to be nurtured, taken care of.”  And that’s why she’s forging experimental terrain with her “Pilgrimage” subject matter.

Winfrey on the first national broadcast of The...

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Oprah’s talent is communication and empathy.

Steve Jobs shows off iPhone 4 at the 2010 Worl...

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Steve Jobs married intuition with innovation to realize his blazing talent.

Thomas Friedman, American journalist, columnis...

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Thomas Friedman blends the gift of writing with insight and intellect to manifest his talent.

What about the rest of us?  How do we grow our talent, help it to blossom and bear fruit?

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