‘Although I started to write late in my life I always knew I would be a novelist’
Glenda Guest, author of Siddon Rock, 2010
Perhaps it’s because my 49th birthday is now only a matter of weeks away, but I find myself drawn to articles with titles such as ‘Maturing with Vitality’ or ‘The Superfoods that keep you Fit’ and I was particularly relieved to read the there is no proven age at which you peak creatively. Which is very good news, especially for women.
It’s still true that women find it more challenging to make time for creativity in their lives. If you’re a mother with young children, finding the mental space to write, paint, produce music or whatever creative pursuit you hanker towards, can be almost impossible. And even more frustrating for female artists, is that it is still harder to have your manuscript published, your artwork exhibited, than it is for men.
Older women have much to draw on for their material. Their understanding of the map of the human heart, the cycles of life, the triumphs and disappointments is more nuanced, layered and textured by personal experience. A life lived, if not always lived well. Is it late-blooming? No I don’t think so. We come to things in our own way, in our own time.
Creativity, the desire to realise artistic goals is not just the provenance of the young. It is never too late to be experimental, questioning or to have a vision.
“Sometimes the letters were disjointed and the novelist sent only a fragment which Dorothy guessed would slip into place sooner or later, unless of course, it was discarded. Writers did not always use everything they wrote, the novelist explained.”
From Miss Peabody’s inheritance 1983
Olga Masters worked as journalist from the age of 15yrs, but her 1st story collection was published when she was 63
Laura Ingalls Wilder started writing in her 40s but only achieved fame in her 60’s with The Little House on the Prairie series.
Mary Wesley began writing children’s stories in her 50’s but her novel for adults was published when she was 71.
Jessica Anderson was 52 when Tirra Lirra by the River was published.
Rosalie Gascoigne, sculptor, first exhibited at 58.
‘There was no possibility of being an artist of any sort. I never considered myself an artist. I did what I did because I had to.’
Emily Kngwarreye, started painting in her 70’s working with the Utopia Women’s Batik Group. Her first solo exhibition was at the age of 80. She still holds the record for the highest price paid for a painting by an Australian woman.