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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Baby Boomers, What Are We To Do?

There's a new genre of writing developing called Boomer Lit, What is boomer lit?, apparently being brought to you by the same people who developed, or for whom, YA Lit was developed, us Baby Boomers. Now that we're aging (retiring), what are we to do? How are we to fill our days? What is expected of us? What do we expect of ourselves? Of course, our writings will reflect the answers to those questions. But actions speak louder than words. So, what are we to do?

Are we to sit back and luxuriate in the large and small fortunes many of us have amassed over the past forty years? Are we to pat ourselves on the backs and watch T.V. off into the sunset? Do we go out with a whimper or a bang, to borrow from T.S. Eliot? We came into the world rather quietly, I believe. I don't think our parents realized what they were doing, what they were unleashing on the world, when they produced us out of the goodness of their hearts and love for each other. Our parents were the products of The Great Depression and WWII. We children shared in the spoils of their victory.

My father was a U.S. Marine who fought in the Pacific. He was never one to boast about the war. In fact, I don't think I've ever heard a single WWII veteran boast about what he did. They were too busy getting back to living. The war was their launching pad to a new era and a new way of life. Like so many of the men who fought in WWII, my father came off the farm to live a different life than his parents had lived. He experienced too much in the war to ever go back to just struggling on the farm. And there was no blueprint for my father to follow, or for many of the men back then to follow. They had to figure it out for themselves. And they did. We are a part of their experiment.

I plan on writing more and more about Boomer Lit and living this end-stage of my life. Hopefully, I'll be better in old age than I was in my youth.

18 comments:

Clarissa Draper said...

I have never heard of baby-boomer lit but I'm glad you're writing as much as you can because I love your writing.

Julia Hones said...

I've never heard of baby boomer lit. It intrigues me.

Richard Hughes said...

Thank you, Clarissa, you're a talented writer yourself.

Richard Hughes said...

Hi, Julia, Boomer Lit is developing as we speak. I'm not exactly sure of its parameters myself. All I know for sure is that it's about old age.

Claude Nougat said...

Excellent post, Richard, but Boomer lit (I'm the main proponent of it and founder of the Goodreads Group discussing it) is NOT about old age! It's about HOW YOU ADDRESS AGING. Challenges are huge as we face our Third Act in life: we leave behind a job we knew (and perhaps liked) to go into uncharted territory. Who are we really, what do we really want out of life? A second career? An eternal holiday, but then, to do what?

Questions, questions, so many questions and, oddly enough, very similar to the ones adolescents ask themselves when they get into adulthood - hence YA Lit and it's no coincidence that the success of YA Lit started 40 years ago, along with the swell of baby boomers reaching adulthood.

Now they're reaching retirement, at the rate of 3.5 million/year in the US alone - that's 10,000 people a day! - and they will do so over the next 18 years (there are 77.5 million boomers in the US alone). A huge market! And people who need guidance in this new stage in their lives, seek solace too and that's what Boomer lit can provide - it's entertainment of course, it features characters boomers can identify with, and that's why Boomer lit can answer questions.

I've always felt that literature has a BIG role to play in a society and its culture!

Curious about our Goodreads Group? Here's the link:
http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/81261
Copy and paste in your browser, come for a visit!

Richard Hughes said...

Claude, thank you for giving me a better understanding of Boomer Lit.

R. Mac Wheeler said...


Holy cow did Claude's info throw me into a fit of introspection. I stared at the screen for ten minutes. Hmm. Maybe that is a little bit what the 'lit' is about.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I've never heard of baby boomer lit either - I am intrigued!!

Helene Titsch said...

Gee Richard, I wonder if there is or will be something like Boomer Photogs for all of us who were so busy trying to make a living, we only now can pursue our passion for photography? Interesting! And your post is so timely...I'm in the process of cleaning out my mother's home now that she is in a care facility and yesterday I came across two War Ration Books from 1943 in wonderful condition with several pages of stamps left...what history and what a time that was. The back of the book has a government slogan which reads: "If you don't need it, DON'T BUY IT." I believe we ought to take up that slogan today!

Richard Hughes said...

Helene, there's probably a place for Boomer Photogs. Whenever I go to nature preserves, places like that, I usually see people my age carrying their photo gear, long lenses and all, so they're pursuing their new, if not lifelong passion, to take photos.

You should take photos of the books you found, maybe put them on your blog. They would be interesting to see.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Boomer Lit! I hadn't heard of it. From reading Claude's explanation, it sounds as if most of it is nonfiction. But a couple of years ago I came across a mystery with a 60-year-old sleuth and thought, "Well, that's refreshing!" I hope we encounter more older protagonists in books to come. (Even though I'm writing an MG mystery series with a ten-year-old sleuth.) Boomer Photogs sounds good too.

Rachna Chhabria said...

I have never heard of Boomer Lit. Sounds unusual.

Ann Carbine Best said...

Ah yes! We old/older people have a LOT of experience to draw on. On this topic, get a used copy of the most wonderful book (also a great movie with Joan Plowright), Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont.

And as Clarissa said above, I too love your writing! Don't stop writing!!

Richard Hughes said...

Elizabeth, Rachna, and Ann, you're three of my longest blogging friends. Thanks for your comments and support.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Thanks for stopping by my post about opera and Quartet. Really, I think you would love the movie. And all the stars are retirement age, which fits right into this post on boomer lit and boomer photogs. :-)

Richard Hughes said...

Elizabeth, I was thinking the same thing.

Tanya Reimer said...

I'm so curious about this. Baby boomer lit. Sounds like a market I'd enjoy writing for.

Richard Hughes said...

Hi, Tanya,
Give it a try; I'll be glad to read it if you like.