Still Going Strong: Memoirs, Stories, and Poems About Great Older Women

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9780789028716: Still Going Strong: Memoirs, Stories, and Poems About Great Older Women
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It's terrible to get old? Life is all downhill after fifty? That's what our youth-centered culture may think but don't be duped. Selected as a finalist for 2006 Independent Publisher Book Awards, this book can change how you think about aging, even make you feel good about getting old!

“. . . a liberating change is happening, a change as momentous as the liberation movements of the 1960s and 70s. It brings respect for older people, appreciation for maturity, and the promise of a more balanced culture.”―from the Introduction by Margaret Karmazin and Janet Amalia Weinberg.

Discover a new, positive way of looking at aging with Still Going Strong: Memoirs, Stories, and Poems About Great Older Women. This exuberant, inspiring anthology celebrates the vitality of older women and shows them having adventures, facing loss, enjoying romance, and feeling more capable and confident than ever. The 42 authors included in the collection know that life after middle age is not the diminished state dreaded by our youth-centered culture, but rather, a time of growth and fulfillment, enriched by the wisdom of experience and perspective.

Get a taste of the passion, wit, and wisdom of some of these women:

From “Why Vermont” by Elayne Clift:
“It was great not to be driven by achievement. I was learning the art of laid-back living. Spending a day writing, or reading, was heavenly and I was reminded of my freedom whenever a friend said, ‘I'd give anything to be doing that!’”

From “Gray Matters” by Marsha Dubrow:
“. . . finally [I] have decided to enjoy being a gray. It links me with a powerful sisterhood, complimenting each other on our gray badge of courage. A woman with dreadlocks resembling pillars of salt approached me on the street and said, ‘You go, girlfriend. We're gray and we're proud―and gorgeous.’ We smacked high fives.”

From “Katherine Banning: Wife, Mother, Bank Robber” by Melissa Lugo:
“Crazy, you say? Well, wait till you hit 90 and realize you still want to live, that even though you're way past menopause you want another child, and that even though your breasts make tracks in the mud, you still want a lover, and that even though your hands shake, there are still things that you didn't get to do (like going to the Olympics and bringing home the gold) things you want to do, that you will do. Then, see what you're capable of. And you'll be perfectly sane. Senility, temporary insanity, it's all bull. Old folks know exactly what they're doing. One of the good parts about being an old fart is that you have a license to be loony tunes, to live the wild way you didn't have the balls for before. At 90, you see, your dignity's gone the way of dirty diapers, and your life is heading the same way fast. You have nothing to lose except the moment.”

From “A Different Woman” by Joan Kip:
“My relationship with Seth is, I tell him, my great experiment. He calls me on every one of my tightly-held protections, and his pleasure in meeting my body is matched by my own freedom to respond. Ours is a relationship with no hidden agenda, no commitments. Our occasional evenings of uncomplicated delight are the intertwining of two desires who touch down and embrace one another, knowing they will meet again, sometime, somewhere. And while sex is not absent from our meetings, it is, rather, my compelling ache to be touched and held and to touch and hold that pulls me back each time to Seth. Like the newly-born whose being depends upon the enfolding presence of a parent, those of us who are now so old, glow more warmly when we, too, may share our tenderness.”

Still Going Strong counters demeaning stereotypes of “little old ladies” by offering positive, empowering views of women over fifty. It is a hopeful voice that speaks to any woman facing her own future.

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About the Author:

Janet Amalia Weinberg, PhD, MS, BA, is a retired psychologist, author, and founding member of one of the first feminist therapy collectives. Her short stories have appeared in numerous publications including Potato Eyes, Reader’s Break, and West Wind Review. At sixty, after ending a seventeen-year relationship and helping her mother through her final illness, Dr. Weinberg moved from her secluded mountain home to start a new life in Ithaca, New York.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

WHY THIS BOOK

We live in a culture that hates, fears, and makes fun of aging. In fact, our culture has been so concerned--some would say, obsessed-- with the beauty and strength of youth, that it has not been able to see the beauty or strength of maturity. Most women accepted this attitude as the truth and were defined and diminished by it. Until now.

Women, myself included, are beginning to realize that our fifties, sixties, seventies, and perhaps even our eighties, could be some of the best years of our lives--if we withstand the prevailing negative view of aging. It is a big "if."

It is hard to age in a new way. I entered my later years with a surge of confidence, yet every time I expressed my new expansiveness, an inner voice warned, "You're too old." It was the enforcer of negative stereotypes such as the "old broad," "old hag," and "little old lady." That same voice speaks to many women my age. In one way or another, it tells us to shut down and back off from life.

Previous generations obeyed without question. Of course, there were always exceptions, those who ignored convention and thrived with age. My own mother grew radiant in her seventies and eighties, and to the end (she lived to ninety-one), was a beacon of compassion and joy. As more and more of us reject what our culture tells us about getting old, such exceptions could become the rule.

To speed this transformation, I put out a call for memoirs, stories, and poems, about women over fifty and asked my writing buddy and good friend, Margaret Karmazin, herself one of the new breed, to join me in writing an overview about the new type of older woman. (There's probably a new type of older man as well, but that's a subject for another book.)

The result is an anthology about vibrant, attractive women, aged fifty to ninety-seven, doing things typically considered young, facing some of the challenges of later life, and enjoying some of the benefits. Editing it gave me perspective on negative stereotypes of women over fifty and helped me feel better about aging. I hope reading it does the same.

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