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Crone: Insult or Celebration?

Crone club badge1 copyI have recently had a very interesting discussion on goodreads (see Goodreads/Boomer Lit/monthly read/The Crone Club) with someone who said she found the title so offensive that she would never even open The Crone Club, let alone read it.  I was taken aback, not so much by her view, as by the vehemence with which she expressed it, even going so far as to state that she had asked all her friends and they had agreed with her.

I found this strong objection to the title “crone” very surprising and in the end, thought-provoking. As the book makes clear the reunited friends choose to call themselves the Crone Club. It is not a name imposed on them. Alison, the feminist member of the group, points out that ‘crone’ is a title given to the reigning goddess in ancient mythology, the other two titles being maiden and mother. The name ‘crone’ therefore celebrates the power of the feminine; it does not denigrate it. It also celebrates a special time in our lives when we are no longer at the mercy of our oestrogen levels and our increased testosterone levels are also giving us more confidence and assertiveness. We are free from many of the responsibilities and expectations of society regarding ‘correct’ and appropriate female behaviour, so we can reinvent ourselves.

It seems that some of my fellow Baby Boomers are challenged by the word “Crone.”  It is time to rescue this term from the negative connotations imposed on it by a patriarchal society. This is well beyond accepting that we are growing older.  By embracing the ‘crone’ in us we can go forth empowered, to take on all the challenges of our new lives and strive for our dreams.

Interestingly, I was recently introduced to this article, which supports and develops many of the points made above: http://wildwomansisterhood.blogspot.nl/2013/04/croning-ceremony-celebrating-wisdom-of.html#.UXpkFkoZPEz

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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.

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?

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

Like us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thecroneclub?ref=hl

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