Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Great Age Issue: Power of the Positive Crone #3

The Power of the Positive Crone
Carole Spearin McCauley

The following is the second of the four part series by Carole Spearin McCauley. The first part is available here
This article was written for The Great Age Issue. The author has graciously permitted us to serialize it on our blog as a prelude to the issue itself.  Our second issue for this year - 14.2 - is dedicated to aging and gender: representations in speculative fiction, everyday experiences, creative fiction or non-fiction, and more. Inspired by board member, Constance Brereton, we're calling this The Great Age Issue.  

Author Bio:  Carole Spearin McCauley is a medical writer/editor, the author of 13 books (medical nonfiction, literary novels, mysteries), from large (Simon&Schuster) and smaller (Daughters, Inc; Women's Press) publishers  in the U.S., U.K., Israel, Italy.  One nonfiction book title is Surviving Breast Cancer (Dutton, Bantam Books). Her two latest mystery novels, Cold Steal and A Winning Death, appeared recently in hardcover and paperback from Hilliard& (Maryland). Her short work (stories, articles, poetry, reviews, interviews) has appeared in about 200 periodicals, anthologies, and now online, including New York Times, America, Family Circle, National Catholic Reporter, The Atlantic, North American Review, Redbook, Woman's World, Women of Mystery. Seven short pieces have won prizes in international contests that include Radio Netherlands Worldwide and USA Today.
          Her 13th book, How She Saved Her Life, is a tale of love/business/arson--with llamas--that features a mature heroine.  It's set in the Berkshire Hills, western Mass. where Carole grew up.  She graduated from Antioch College, Ohio, and earned an M.A. in  writing from Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY.  For five years she  planned programs with the Woman's Salon, Manhattan.  At Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, she has taught Basics of Fiction Writing and works with Women's Network of the Upper Valley. She speaks yearly at Berkshire Women Writers Festival, Mass.  She belongs to the Grail international women's movement and  worked years at Grailville, its Ohio N.A. headquarters, and at its Manhattan art-bookshop.

Ah, now you’ve caught me.  Although I welcomed menopause as a natural way to unload all my female complaints (hemorrhaging periods from fibroid tumors, endless breast cysts and breast surgery from one benign tumor, plus nausea during pregnancy), I don’t look forward to old age.  To deter its insidious effects, I walk and exercise regularly, including classes where I live, plus NordicTrack, abdominal lift equipment, and lifting weights in my living room. 

Here’s a poem I wrote about aging:

Kicking Bricks—or When Did I Get So Stiff?
“When did I get so stiff?”  Lifting the barbell, I ask my exercise teacher.
“When did I get over-qualified?” I ask the smart young personnel manager.

Now in the fall of the year
we gather into barns and are gathered.

“When did the skin around my eyes crinkle?” I ask my mirror.
“When did I trade pimples for dry skin and grey hair?” I ask my doctor.
            He laughs.  “Better grey hair than none at all.”
Overheard:  “Didn’t have one grey hair, but she died last week at 52.
            Brain tumor.  Can you believe it?  If the tumors don’t get you,
            the cholesterol will. Pass the eggs, Sue, will you?”
When did I choose the same dilemmas, the same house of bricks.
            the same car that stalls on left turns?

                                    Honed down, like clay twice fired,
                                    shaped up, no dross remaining.

                                                Now in the fall of the year
                                    we gather into barns and are gathered.
                                                Maturity is what’s left
                                                after the pain has subsided.

I want to teach people, especially women, to ask sensible questions on route to sensible solutions:
1.               What do most women really feel at this time? What am I really feeling?
2.               What medical help do I need, or how can I handle this event by myself, using whatever techniques have succeeded in my past?

3.               How can I make this a transforming experience—not a “silent passage” but a “soul event”—a stage to anticipate instead of dread?

No comments:

Post a Comment