Gayle Beveridge is a past winner of the Boroondara Literary Awards and her work has appeared in Award Winning Australian Writing. Gayle is passionate about family, writing, photography, and with Victoria’s beautiful Bass Coast which she now calls home.
Published November 19th 2021
Life begins at 60
When I turned twenty-one, my mother told me I would never feel any different. It was a commentary on adulthood, and for a long time it seemed very apt, but now I'm in my sixties and retired and things do feel different. There is freedom that the rigour of working in a job could not offer, a smorgasbord of choice to be picked at and savoured at my leisure. Rather than being 'pensioned-off', I have the time to enjoy and to create, to discover new things, to do things I haven't done before. Life really has begun at sixty and this sentiment is echoed in The Human Writers Creative Ageing in Australia Program.
The Human Writers say, of their mission: "The Human Writers, a collection of writing by older adults across Australia, is a project years in the making. It's an online magazine about the human condition, human connection and the creative process. It was founded on the principle that everyone has a story to tell, and provides a forum in which to tell it. Designed for older adults 60 to showcase their thoughts, ideas and musings, The Human Writers celebrates the fact that writing can enrich the mind and nurture the spirit regardless of background, life circumstances or age. It is specifically designed for non-"writers" so it is a safe space for people to express, reflect, review, engage and tap into their experience regardless of formal training."
I can't remember how I came across The Human Writers, but wow! Here's a program that recognises people still have much to offer in this later stage of their life and are doing something about it. What first caught my eye amongst the Collective Works on The Human Writers website was 'This is My Story' by 93-year-old Margaret Brooks from Bacchus Marsh in Victoria. Margaret shares her early life with us and provides a delightful snapshot of life in the 1920s and 1930s. Margaret's story has been transcribed for the website, but The Human Writers has respectively included scans of the tale in Margaret's own hand.
I urge you, do not be shy. Send a story, a poem, a memory. Send something. Have your voice heard, you are still important, you still have much to say. Submissions, which can be up to 1,000 words long, be your own work and not have been previously published, should be emailed to the editor. Click herehttps://thehumanwriters.com/contact/ to visit The Human Writers How to Submit page. There is no cost to submit.
At the head of The Human Writers is editor Caitlin O'Toole. Caitlin, who has a wealth of experience as a freelance writer, editor, blogger and producer, hails from New York but has made Australia her home. These days Caitlin's former career is in the rear-view mirror as Caitlin pursues a passion to encourage creativity in older adults. Caitlin created The Human Writers in honour of her father, John O'Toole, who following an impressive career in the field of ageing, went on in his seventies to write a politics column in the world-renowned Huffington Post.
Caitlin O'Toole, creator and editor of The Human Writers (Photo supplied)
So, what are you waiting for, click here to visit the Human Writers website, read the wonderful stories and poems already there, and to submit your own. We are all waiting to read what you have to say. And don't keep this a secret, tell you friends, your community centre, your local writing club, tell everyone. The Human Writers is also encouraging Age Care Providers to hop on board and develop creative programs in their facility. Click here for Information for Carers and Aged Care Residents.