Monday, March 26, 2018

Ten Years Ahead

Wish list for next 10 years of life:
By Terry Shames

At Left Coast Crime last week I was on a panel that I instigated called It's Now or Never: Late in Life Authors & Protagonists. We were a panel  of women who were either “older” when we started our writing careers or wrote books about older protagonists. Apparently the organizers couldn’t find men in that category—or at least not men who would admit to being older. Not only do I write a protagonist who is “late life,” but I am an (ahem) older author. So looking ten years in the future is hazy. I certainly I hope I’m still around and enjoying life in ten years, but I have to be realistic—in the past few years I have had a few friends with serious illnesses, and a few who died; and they didn’t die young.

There’s another element to this “wish list.” I have had a wonderful, amazing life. I have reached many goals that I never thought were attainable. So it almost feels profligate to wish for more. So the things I wish for are few, if not simple:

1)     Continued good health. I have been ridiculously lucky with my health (where’s the wood?). I work out and eat well—but as well all know, that doesn’t guarantee anything. I few years ago a surgery gone bad left me with permanent damage in my dominant arm and hand. It’s a small problem, and one I can cope with. But it made me aware of the risky business that we call life.
2)     Write many more books. I hope my creative side doesn’t wane. I think of people like Ruth Rendell, who published up to the end of her long life. Not that I can compare myself to her in terms of her writing, but I’d like to think I can continue to come up with good stories that entertain people.

3)     Wait! I said simple. Well, this one is a little more ambitious: More travel for pleasure. I realized recently that becoming a published author meant less travel just for fun, and a lot of travel for business—not that it isn’t fun; but it’s different. I want to go to the Galapagos Islands. I want to go back to Africa. I want to see Budapest and Prague, and Vienna.  Iceland. And another trip to see my beloved Florence, where I was fortunate to live for 18 months.
4)     Another one that isn’t so simple: I want to sell a lot more books. I want to be more “successful.” It’s a daunting task to promote and write at the same time. I envy those writers who began being published when they were younger. They not only have a lot more time ahead of them to write a wide range of books, but they also are more savvy about the world of technology and the world of marketing and promotion. And even if they don’t know much about it, they have plenty of time to learn. I always feel as if I’m playing catch-up, trying to write all the books I have swimming in my head, and still having to figure out how the world of promotion works.

There’s a question that sometimes pops up: If you knew you would die in a year, what would you change? My answer? I’d keep the writing, blow off the promotion, and use the time I save from doing that to inhale more of the wonderful world—with friends and family.


Lisa Ciarfella said...


Cathy Ace said...

Inspiring piece - and it was super to see you in Reno, and to be on that panel which you moderated so well.