When I was in high school, I read “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” and loved its intensity. Carson McCullers published it when she was 23.
I decided I would write my first novel by the time I was 23. I didn’t succeed for a simple reason: At 23, I hadn’t even started a novel.
Writing takes a combination of talent, hard work, and life experience. I knew I wanted to write pretty early in life, but I’ve been a late bloomer in a lot of other ways. I had my first kiss at age 21, first boyfriend at 22. Married and had my son in my mid-thirties. (My mom was 23 when I was born.)
Carson McCullers died at 50. According to her bio on Wikipedia, she had health problems, including addiction, throughout her life. Perhaps the universe sped up her talent just as it sped up her time on earth. Perhaps she simply had experienced a hell of a lot in her childhood and adolescence and was also lucky enough to be ready at a young age to translate her experiences into literature.
There’s something thrilling about “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter,” a passion may have been the result of McCullers’ youth. But there’s also something special about a writer like Alice Munro, whose stories convey a long life lived.
Nowadays, I love stories about late bloomers, whether in writing, art, film, music, sports, career choice, or business, because they give me hope that anyone can blossom, regardless of age.
Got any good late-bloomer stories for me?