Sunday, February 09, 2014

I Want What Ringo's Having

Tonight I watched The Grammy salute to the 50th anniversary of The Beatles appearing on Ed Sullivan.  The program was ambitiously titled: The Beatles: The Night That Changed America — A GRAMMY Salute.  And at the ripe old age of 61 years old, I stayed up way past my usual bedtime to watch it. 

I loved every minute of the program, but especially the old footage and Paul and Ringo's performances at the end.  It was well worth the late bedtime. I even recorded it just in case I dozed off.

I remember with great clarity watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan that night 50 years ago.  We were clustered around the big black and white TV in our den in Whittier, California. My mom and dad were still together, though things were rocky.  I was 11  a student at Evergreen Elementary School.  The last time I drove by the corner where our house stood, the house and many around it were gone and a car dealership had popped up in its place.

But the thing that struck me the most tonight was not how many years have gone by, but the durability of the music and the remaining men who created it.

Paul McCartney is 71 years old. Ringo Starr is 73. Yet both seemed pretty spry on stage, especially Ringo.  He hopped around singing, dancing and drumming like a bunny with a hotfoot while I groaned as I got up from the sofa when it was over.
I don't know what Ringo's on, but I want some!

Recently I've had the privilege of going to the theatre to see several iconic actors of a certain age:

Brian Dennehy - age 75
Christopher Plummer - age 84
Judd Hirsch - age 78 (in two plays in one year!)
John Hurt - 74

At an age when most people are long retired and looking forward to quiet evenings and relaxation, these notable actors were memorizing hours and hours of dialogue and delivering it without a hitch, night after night.

There's a lesson to be learned there. A big lesson about keeping active and staying focused, busy and productive. Maybe that's the fountain of youth.

Elmore Leonard was 88 when he passed away last year and he was still writing.  Mary Higgins Clark is 84 and going strong; Sue Grafton is 73 and still plowing her way through the alphabet.  Like the rock stars I watched tonight, these literary giants were and are still working well into their golden years.

I currently have open contracts to deliver 4 more books. It will take me until I'm 65 years old to fulfill those contracts. When those books are done, will I sit back and breath deeply with relief that they are done? Hell no!  My editor has already received proposals for 3 more Granny Apples novels and I'm developing a new series to spin out after the Odelia Grey series comes to an end in four years.

It's my plan to keep writing as long as I can pound the keys and put sentences together and as long as people want to read what I put on the page.

Whenever I get tired, I'm going to remember Ringo Starr bouncing up and down on stage tonight.

When I turned 60 years old, people told me 60 was the new 40.  From what I saw tonight, I think 70 is the new 35.

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