Enjoy the journey into ageing through new book
THE NSW Seniors Card Short Story Competition reveals the hidden talent of the state's older writers who have shared their perspective on Positive Ageing.
Of the over 200 submissions received through the competition website, 100 stories were selected and published in the annual Seniors' Stories, Volume 4 which was launched this week by the NSW Minister for Ageing Tanya Davies.
"This book is a wonderful example of talent, experience and wisdom of seniors who are living their lives amongst us," Minister Davies said. "It's wonderful this book gives a platform to our community to share their story."
Two stories that caught the Minister's eye were Julie Davis's On the Three-Twenty-Four and Pam Reynolds's Maybe the Best is Yet to Be.
"Julie wrote, 'Four carriages. Bummer. It'll be packed, standing room only to Wollongong'", Minister Davies read out. "It's a wonderful story of your experience; very sad and very revealing story about the challenges we as a society still face with ageism, ageist attitudes and with aged discrimination."
Mrs Davis, 79, collects her short story ideas from the people she meets and sees on the Wollongong to city train. "It's not an autobiographical story; bits of it are, but it is fiction," a delighted Mrs Davis said. "When I submitted it, I thought they will just think it's a bit of a rant because everybody is complaining about the trains down our way."
"The postscript to this story is our government has now expanded that train service to eight carriages," the Minister added.
Pam Reynolds's story delves into starting retirement and what it is all about. 'I asked many retired people what they did all day, but I never go a very satisfactory answer. Most were "so busy" and life as "pretty good", but they never actually told me how. It was all very vague and unsettling', Mrs Reynolds writes early on in her short story.
"It's wonderful to see how well you have (now) adapted and embraced retirement," Minister Davies added.
Never too old, never too late
The stories cover a wide selection of positive ageing themes. The creative headings also caught the eye of the editor, Colleen Parker of the NSW branch of the Fellowship of Australian Writers - Recycled Teenager, Hello You!, Dogs and Dongles.
"The book is a montage of our social history," Mrs Parker said. "Lots of Australian idiosyncrasies included; kids and billycarts, bush life, immigration, assimilation, war facts, friendships and fatalities, family research and pilgrimages."
In the lead up to finalising their stories, writers were given the opportunity to participate in free writing workshops held in the major regions across NSW.
It's the ultimate prize to be published
There are no winners for this writing competition other than the joy of authors seeing their efforts being published. There is however something for everyone in the Seniors' Stories, Volume 4 book Mrs Parker promises.
Loan copies of Seniors' Stories, Volume 4 are in libraries across NSW. The book can also be downloaded for free from seniorscard.nsw.gov.au.