I know there are people who will hear about the 99-year old Japanese woman whose self-published book of poetry has become a bestseller and think that this is a heartwarming and inspiring story.
I guess that when you sell 1.5 million copies of any book (and particularly poetry), it would warm any heart.
But I can’t help but see this as a tragic waste. The woman did not begin writing until she was 92 years old, and while “better late than never” certainly seems to apply here, imagine what she might have been capable of had she begun writing earlier.
I’m not surprised that one of the messages in her poems is "Don't try too hard."
And please don’t try to tell me that she required 96 years of life in order to gain the experience and wisdom needed to write her poetry. The argument that a writer needs a certain degree of life experience before he or she can write successfully may have some truth to it (though I doubt it), but 92 years seems like a long enough time for anyone to begin writing.
Incidentally, my boss told me when I was 34 that I could not publish a book before the age of 40, citing that time-worn experience argument.
Something Missing was published when I was 37.
I often say that the only reason I wrote the book was for spite.