Boomer Lit Friday (excerpt 1)

We are participating in Boomer Lit Friday.

Boomer Lit Friday is a project by a Goodreads group to introduce readers to works of fiction of particular interest to Baby Boomers. These books feature characters in their fifties and sixties dealing with real life issues. Every Friday the Boomer Lit Friday Blog will list a selection of short, relevant excerpts for readers to enjoy.

This is an excerpt from the very beginning of The Crone Club:

The Crone Club Cover Final“So what have you achieved in your life, then?” Susan asked. Her sharp profile seemed poised almost to stab at Mary across the dinner table. “Come on, dear. Tell us all about your wonderful achievements.”
Cass looked on in guilty silence, despising herself for not speaking out. She wanted to defend Mary, but lacked the nerve. Susan’s sneering voice reminded her of all the bullying she had suffered at school and she felt like a self conscious, awkward teenager once again; the ‘fatty’ of the class. So she stayed silent, just like the rest of the table, and wished again that her old friend George would turn up. George would have given her the courage to stand up to Susan.

Interested in Boomer Lit? Join the discussion group on Goodreads or the new group Boomer Lit Writers and Readers on Linkedin.

Snip! Snip!

In the Crone Club Jan and Jess challenge Dr Alison Green to turn her feminist doctorate thesis into a book that even they can understand. The result is Snip! Snip! which is being issued in parts on the Crone Club website. This is an excerpt from the book.

The father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud asserted that girls develop penis envy and this then leads to castration anxiety in boys.
  In other words, men are living in terror that their women could be carrying a pair of scissors hidden behind their backs with intent on a certain part of their anatomy.  Of course, unless his name happens to be John Wayne Bobbit, the man is unlikely worrying about her going for the penis – from her point of view, this seems to be a bit counter-productive. However, providing the man has already served his function and fertilised the female, then what men are probably meant to be so anxious about is a sharp pain in the groin and the sound of “Snip! Snip!”
This irrational, barely acknowledged terror, that women are going to suddenly reach out with the scissors to snip away two very important objects and thereby emasculate their men, has dictated relationships between the genders for at least the last two and a half thousand years. Obviously, the castration being imagined is symbolic in nature rather than literal, but men fear a loss of their virility, or sexual dominance, particularly in the eyes of other men. Their response is to assert their masculinity in every way possible and at the same time to try to control their women.  
  This theory explains why ‘traditional men’ and many young men, unsure of their masculinity, are homophobes and intolerant to being asked to do any job, or chore, which could be regarded as ‘feminine.’ Also why they are so quick to condemn any woman, who challenges, or strays too far from ‘the box’ they would like to keep her in.
  In 1975 a British feminist film theorist called Laura Mulvey applied Freud’s theories to the study of films and their audiences. She came up with the notion of’The Male Gaze’ asserting that in films, at any rate, men objectify women, viewing them as either whores or madonnas.  Of course, once have they turned women into sexual objects, men no longer need to worry about what their wives or girlfriends might be holding behind their backs.

Challenges and Dreams – Rites of Passage into the next stage of our lives

The Crone Club Cover FinalEach of the crones in the Crone Club set themselves a dream and a challenge and vow to complete them. The point being that these are ‘Rites of Passage’ to help them grow and to lead them into the next stage of their lives.
This idea grew out of my own experiences. I first recognised the importance of challenges and dreams as “Rites of Passage” after the break-up of my disasterous first marriage to an alcoholic in my 30s.  Like many women at the tail-end of a bad marriage, I found that my identity and self-confidence had been considerably eroded.  My response to divorce was to complete three personal challenges within the space of three months: I undertook a 30 mile sponsored walk, a parachute jump and took myself to Crete to live and work. The sponsored walk was a pure challenge. The parachute jump was both, because it was something I had always wanted to do after having been recommended it years ago by my uncle who was a parachutist in the war. He told me that it was the most wonderful feeling in the world and he was right. The move to Crete was the fulfillment of another old dream. I had always wanted to live and work abroad and Greece had been a dream destination after reading Geral Durrrell’s ‘My Family and Other Animals” at school. But indeed, it was also in itself quite a dramatic challenge.  I had never been to a Mediterranean country, so I had no idea what to expect.  I gave up my job and my flat and as ‘The Magic Bus’ (as it was called by the young backpackers) pulled out of Victoria Station for the first leg of its 72 hour journey through Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia and Greece to Athens, I freely admit that I had some qualms.

But the dream is as important as the challenge and you have to conceive of what you want out of life before you can reach for it. I had the most wonderful year in Crete.  I fell permanently in love with Greece, made friends who are still dear to me and most importantly of all,  I met Vince, my husband. He was part of my dreams.  As my first marriage broke down,  I had longed more than anything else for a husband, who was a friend and companion and in Vince I married my best friend.   Last July we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.

As I now enter my sixties I feel the need to set myself new challenges and dreams.  In fact, for me there is just one big one. It is both a challenge and a dream.   I intend to retire from teaching in a year or two and I want to become a full-time writer.  I want the Crone Club to become a series of books.  The other six are already planned in out-line draft.  The next book “Crone Club Mayhem” should be ready in late Spring.

 

Does Boomer Lit have the potential to save the book trade?

I added this comment to the Boomer Lit discussions on Goodreads today:

According to an article in the Independent newspaper today “more than 400 bookshops closed in 2012, seven times more than the year before. There are now fewer than 2,000 bookshops in the country, less than half the number of seven years ago. Ebook sales doubled last year, to £261m, while physical book sales fell from £1.51bn in 2012, down from £1.59bn in 2011.” The article ends by making a comparison with the music industry.

It is not mentioned in this article, but the music industry tends to rely a lot these days on its back catalogues, rather than on promoting new and therefore risky genres. It seems to me that is similar to how, at present, literary agents and publishers alike seem to be ignoring Boomer Lit. In fact it seems that they had rather go for ‘Young Adult.’ This is strange as we Boomers are an enormous demographic – now making up around a 29% of the U.S. population and 15% of the UK population – and are far more likely to be found browsing in bookshops than buying e-books. Is it me, or are they missing a really good business opportunity?

Celebrate the Rise of the Crone in You. She’ll help you to achieve your potential.

Facebook cover picI remember having thick, long hair.  Now I seem to be developing a bald patch.  I mentioned that to my hairdresser a while ago and he said his wife was the same.  She had gone to her doctor who had told her that it was down to her ‘male’ hormones.

Germaine Greer once termed the time of a woman’s life when she reaches post-menopause as “peaceful’ potency. It is also very interesting that the anthropologist Margaret Mead described a stunning burst of energy and assertiveness in the post-menopausal women of all the cultures she studied.

When you think about it the reason for this is obvious. It is, indeed, why so many of us experience a thinning of hair on our heads at exactly the same time we often acquire some embarrassing facial hair. All of us have the  testosterone in our bodies. As the level of oestrogen goes down, our male hormones begin to assert their influence.  We therefore start to exhibit what some people consider to be “male characteristics” – this sudden increase in confidence and assertiveness.

We post-menopausal women have finally got off that hormonal roller-coaster, which has dominated our lives, defining and to some extent, limiting us.  It really is a new stage in life – a positive experience and perhaps it is finally time to celebrate it, publicly. We should cheer on that rise of male potency in our lives.  It has always been present in our lives, but now it is coming into its full power in time to help us to reach our full potential.

Cass’s wedding song

I have attached here Cass’s secular wedding song.  The words have been written recently, but Vince wrote the music many years ago. It was sung at our own wedding 25 years ago, with different words, by Vince’s uncle who was a member of the BBC Synphony Chorus.
 
 It seems to me that there is a real need for wedding music which is not overtly religious.  We try here to celebrate the circle of family and friends “blessing” the happy couple as well as themselves, in that wonderful epitomy of peace, love and hope for the future that a wedding represents for the whole group.

You are very welcome to download and use our Wedding Song if you wish. The lyrics and music are below:

Wedding Song (from The Crone Club by S. V. Peddle)
Wedding Song
Click on the link for the music.

Come, my friends, let’s celebrate
Now that love is here to stay.
Even when it seems quite late.
Love is never far away.
Though it may be hard to find.
Absent from the heart and mind,
Love must always have its day.

Sing this message to the sky.
All the world should hear the call
Friends and soulmates must unite.
Like the couple in this hall.
Married now, in tender peace,
Vowing love that will not cease,
Their love will unite us all.

Meet the author

Facebook cover picThe Crone Club is my third book. The first two were written in collaboration with my husband Vince, under the pen name S. V. Peddle.

Vince and I met 26 years ago when we were both living and teaching in Crete. Our first book The Moon Maiden grew out of our love for the site of Knossos, which we have visited many times. It s a reworking of the myth of Pasiphae, the bull and the Minotaur and is based in our vision of the ancient Minoan culture.The Moon Maiden was published in 2003 by Blackie and Co.

We presently live on the beautiful island of Jersey. Our second book, Pagan Channel Islands, a work of non-fiction, Fully illustrated with many photographs, this was published by Robert Hale in 2007 and re-issued in paperback in 2009.

I started writing the Crone Club as I neared 60 myself and started to reflect on the next stage of my life.  I was actually born in 1952, which makes me slightly younger than The Crone Club members and somewhat behind the age of the  “hippy.”  However, I was profoundly inspired by the ideals of the times.Most of the characters of The Crone Club are parts of me that have been given free rein to be themselves. Like Cass, the protagonist of the first book of the series, I had a difficult relationship with my first husband.  Like the bookish Alison, I came from a working class background and attended a Secondary Modern school, before transferring to a Grammar School to take my A levels.   I also developed strong feminist beliefs at university in the 70s. Like the nomadic George, I have travelled abroad, teaching English as a Foreign Language. I have also become something of a heavy weight over the years so I can empathise with her struggle with the loss of her looks.  Despite being a teacher, I don’t really share Mary’s need to control, but I can identify with the way she keeps charity and old-fashioned notions of service at the core of her values.  I have to admit that I share the twins’ mischievous streak and raucous sense of humour.   The only character you’ll noticed I don’t lay claim to is Bambi.   I have to admit that she originally grew out of the need to provide a fairy godmother, but there is much more to Bambi than that, as both this book and future books in the series will show.

The idea of each character setting themselves a dream and a challenge grew out of the way I have tackled the big stages of my life in the past.

If you want to find out more about the Crone Club or our other books go to our websites on:

http://www.thecroneclub.co.uk
http://www.svpeddle.co.uk

If you have read the book and wish to talk to me about it you can e-mail me at: author@sthecroneclub.co.uk

What is Boomer Lit?

The Crone Club has been identified as Boomer Lit. Indeed, one of our reviewers Lynn Schneider commented: “This novel is a good reminder that it’s never too late to become what we were meant to be. It’s a good example of baby boomer literature; that just because we reach our later years doesn’t mean we are done just yet.  We have a lot of living to do, and this book allows us to remember that’s possible.”
But what is Boomer Lit exactly? Well, basically Boomer lit supports a social revolution which is now coming over the horizon. We are the Baby Boomers, as in those born between (and including) 1946 and 1964 and our demographic has always been too too big to for anyone to ignore. We now make up about a 29% of the U.S. population and 15% of the UK population. We have always been likely to throw out the rulebook and challenge all the old ideologies. We are already indicating that we are not prepared to conform to society’s expectations of age-appropriate behaviour any more than when we were in our teens. A new genre of Boomer Lit and films is rapidly growing to support the changing aspirations of a generation that is ageing, but not prepared to be counted as out of the game.  This first became noticeable in the cinema with films such as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Hope Springs and Mama Mia, being produced for the ‘more mature’ audience and at the same time giving employment to brilliant, but ageing actresses.
It is particularly in the new genre of Boomer Lit where the values of our generation are being extolled and reinforced, however.  Literature has always been central to our ideology.  We were always readers and perhaps more than any other generation, we still are. While our formative years were influenced by such big events of the sixties as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the rise of the Beatles, the Vietnam War, the deaths of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King, books such as Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, Robert A. Heinlein’s Stanger in a Strange Land, Robert M. Prisig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance arguably made a bigger impact on our consciousness. They inspired us to want to make more meaningful lives for ourselves than it appeared we were offered. This thinking led us to revolt against the rigid, structures of society of the time and the differential attitudes of our militarised fathers.
However, Boomer Lit is not certainly not about extolling our triumphs in the past.  Neither is it intended as a nostalgia trip into the wonders of our youth – dreams of yesterday.  Life is not going to stop for us at 60, anymore than it stopped in the 60s.
We were the generation that was going to change the world, but we got side tracked.  Life swallowed up our dreams, but now we’ve got the time to finish the job we started, the way has opened up for us once again and perhaps for the last time.  Possibilities beckon.  Many of us are just as minded to refuse to obey the ‘rules’ when it comes to facing encroaching retirement, marginalisation and old age as we were in our teen years.  We certainly intend to have a lot more fun before we leave the stage.
Just like before there is a need for literature to support our changing values and beliefs, to help us to search once again for ‘meaning’ and go forward into a positive ‘can do’  future.  No wonder there is a growing demand for Boomer Lit.

Buy The Crone Club from amazon.co.uk:
e-book – http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Crone-Club-ebook/dp/B007IRFM1U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363186331&sr=8-1
paperback – http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Crone-Club-S-Peddle/dp/147502097X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1363186331&sr=8-2

Buy The Crone Club from amazon.com e-book
e-book – http://www.amazon.com/The-Crone-Club-ebook/dp/B007IRFM1U/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1363186150&sr=8-2&keywords=The+Crone+Club
paperback – http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=The+Crone+Club

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Go to The Crone Club website: http://www.thecroneclub.co.uk

Go to the author’s website: http://www.svpeddle.co.uk

The Crone Club by S. V. Peddle

When Cass attends a reunion of her old class-mates she has no idea that her life is about to be changed forever. She only accepted the invitation in the faint hope of seeing her best friend George again and finally discovering why she vanished so completely on the last day of school. Unfortunately George does not turn up and as Cass waits in vain, she soon wishes that she’d stayed away too, especially when her other friends start boasting about the interesting things they’ve done over the years. With increasing shame Cass realises that her adult life has been a dull one: forty years of wasted talented and unhappy marriage to an abusive husband, without a single achievement, or even a mildly exciting experience to talk about. Feeling uneasy in the company of her old friends, she prays that no-one will ask her what happened to the old Cass, that promising musician who left school so full of energy and ambition in the ’60s.
But Cass finds out why George suddenly disappeared all those years ago and it makes her angry enough to walk out on her husband and boring old life forever. She embarks on a challenging new life with the friends she had known in her schooldays, a time when life was still exciting and her dreams were fresh.
Re-united, Cass and her friends form themselves into the Crone Club, in which each of them pledges to recover and realise the dreams and aspirations of their youth. Nothing is going to stop these women having fun and not a single one of them has any intention of ‘acting her age.’
The Crone club can be bought on amazon as a paperback and as a e-book (Kindle version.)

Visit the Crone Club website: http://www.thecroneclub.co.uk

Lynn Schneider Books

Baby Boomer Lit: Author and Reviewer