An Encouraging Word

From the late John Updike:
[The rookie writer] may feel, as the gray-haired scribes of the day continue to take up space and consume oxugen in the increasingly small room of the print world, that the elderly have the edge, with their established names and already secured honors.  How we did adore and envy them . . . we imagined them aswim in a heavenly refulgence, as joyful and immutable in their exalted condition as angels forever singing.

Now that I am their age -- indeed, older than a number of them got to be -- I can appreciate the advantages, for a writer, of youth and obscurity.  You are not yet typecast. You can take a distant, cold view of the entire literary scene.  You are full of your material -- your family, your friends, your region of the country, your generation -- when it is fresh and seems urgently worth communicating to readers. No amount of learned skills can substitute for the feeling of having a lot to say, of bringing news.

He goes on to talk about what it's like to be an old writer, and about aging in general -- he knew whereof he spake, as he died just a few months after this article was published.  The golden years are as fascinating as they are unknown to me, but I can only hope and pray that I can someday write with half the gravity and elegance he seems to command at the drop of a hat.  I suppose, to use a clumsily mixed metaphor, that the grass is always greener on the other side of the generation gap.