Monday, June 8, 2020

JOIN ME FOR THE PHOENIX BOOKSTORE VIRTUAL OPEN MIC READING, JUNE 11, 7 PM est

Join us for an open mic, inspired by the Ageless Authors Anthology, featuring writers 65 and older.

About this Event

Join us to read, or listen, or for both! Those interested in reading can sign up using the chat feature at the start of the event.
This event is free and open to all and hosted by playwright and screenwriter Jean Yeager, winner of 2020's Ageless Authors Fiction Prose Category and Bianca Amira Zanella of Phoenix Books.
ABOUT THE BOOK: The Ageless Authors Anthology proves that while old age may rob you of some function, Father Time doesn't necessarily take away your creativity. This volume is an extraordinary collection of poetry, essays and short stories from the Ageless Authors Writing Contest exclusively for writers age 65 and older from across the country. A second contest is now underway at agelessauthors.com, and the best writings will comprise the next edition of Ageless Authors Anthology in the fall. For this book, 52 senior writers contributed work that showcases the experience inherent in this older group. Some of the writers are widely published, while others have been toiling away in relative obscurity and this is the first time they've published their work. These writings are entertaining and memorable. From writer and composer Michael Coolen in Corvallis, Oregon comes the opening sentence you can't forget, "Dad was killed by whales." The late John Garzone of Lenox, Massachusetts tells the story of the female pool shark who stole a young man's heart in "Smooth Sheila." And Shirley K. Wright of Coppell, Texas weaves a suspenseful tale of a home invasion in the expanses of the Texas Hill Country in "No Thanks For the Memory." Ageless Authors is the brainchild of Dallas writers Ginnie Bivona and Larry Upshaw, who compiled the work for this collection. Bivona is an 86-year-old novelist and poet who started writing in her fifties. Upshaw is a 70-year-old former journalist, ghostwriter, and marketing executive. They set out to prove that no one has to shut off their brain when they reach a certain age. "Ageless Authors captures the best offered by seasoned writers," says Vermont essayist Jean Yeager. "I'm grateful to be judged against my peers. We may be the fine aged wines of the writing world." Ageless Authors Anthology makes a great present for family, friends and especially seniors who are struggling to keep the creative fires burning.
"The authors’ wealth of experience gives them unique insights into specific historical events and life in general. Ultimately, this collection may convince some youth of the value of the older generation and also encourage seniors to continue in their creative pursuits. " —Kirkus Reviews

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

OLD PIRATES OF THE HEART

2020 WINNER AGELESS AUTHORS SHORT STORY CONTEST

WHO AM I?
A friend and former shipmate of mine and I, both of us old pirates on the sea of life did not pass quietly as ships do sometimes in the night. We hove-to, dropped our sails and spent a few hours juxtaposed and adrift together. It was not smoke and mirrors, cannon blasts or fancy swordplay. It was genuine, problematic intimacy. She, the world navigator reported a tumult of miracles, bombings, and Beruit taxi rides. Always the positive. Always ahead of the games. On the way to care for grandbabies between world-wide gatherings armadas of small pleasure craft-lives into workshops in which she boards, and opens treasure chests of the heart in a therapeutic ransacking.
     There is a deranged proximity about us – and the others. Some were monks, are still monks, will always be monks out of the flow. They loving their logic.  We have left them in the monasteries while we freebooters cannot sit so still for so long. We think better beneath the flysheets dealing with the flow, the forces far bigger than ourselves, the gales, the currents, the tides, apparently still surviving. Desiring for the difficult, the unsettled, the potential exotic, the flesh. The vital words without logic. The rap of lives rhymed, and always very much alive, very much flowing, flowing.

WHY AM I HERE?
Freedom. We serve no King nor flag except the tattered hearts and push the debate. There are hints of prostitution but only from those who see life as a debit-credit scheme. We are under the waterfall of life, pleased at all costs. Suspecting emotions. We are linguistically in disarray rubbing up against our apparent feelings. There are obvious conclusions.
     A glass of red wine. Two Margaritas. Grilled fish. A large bowl. And the stories, always the stories. The pitfalls. Blindsides. Near misses. We dissolve into tears. Touch as only old pirates of the heart will permit themselves to be touched by another. There is no myth of dominance. We plunge into desolation. Dive into the unfulfilled, never to be fulfilled, what were we thinking?  We short-circuit our best and most well-worn vanities. We imply old successes but tread on the deck of tragedy. And laugh. We laugh. We know we will not stay. Cannot stay. 

WHAT DO I WANT?
Piracy is not carried out in a monastic order. We are lonely. We turn our loneliness those destiny moments with others - fierce and mad enjambments. Crowd scenes where everyone but us is clothed in burkas where we only see their eyes and then comes their revelations of secret, childhood (teenage, adult, mid-life, elder) abuse they have held onto so tightly they have pressed into jewels. Their lives have been arranged around these jewels to protect them because, they would be adrift otherwise. The heart chests hold such awful jewels. And, pirates, well pirates help the agonized victims open their chests and look at the jewels of great value.
     Like an oozing, unasked snake that is fascinating and coils around us and between the piratess and I filled with venom and investment, is the question, “So, how are you, really?” with the drop into the abyss on the word “really.
     But, we don’t pry. We are shy. We know the awfulness we have in our chests and we presume the other has the same – probably worse. After all, she is older, walking the plank of age, disease, doubt, fear... or am I talking about myself again? Probably.
     That’s why we move. Move away from the coiling questions, which we give to others. We know the questions, we can shift the wind, the currents, the question. We don’t want to be faced with actually looking into what the other has in her heart. “Look at that, will ya?  What will I do about that fetid, stinking treasure I love so much?”
     Awful jewels are what people keep in their chests. Better not hurt one another. Another day. Maybe a mooring in the future. The note with the black dot. Treasure Island?

© Copyright 2015, Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved



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"Th3 Simple Questions: Slice Open Everyday Life" 
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