In March 2014, I interviewed the amazing Iranian poet, Mohsen Emadi. Click here to see the interview and hear Mohsen read some of his beautiful work.
A SHORT BLOG ON LIVING LONG
I remember a decade ago, when I was 60. (Yes, I still remember that far back.) One of my adult sons and I were talking on the phone and he asked me when I first noticed getting older. I said, “I don’t know. When did you?” We laughed.
The process that gets you from “young” to “middle-aged” is a series of inch-by-inch changes. You can’t run or ski or stay up quite like you used to. It takes years and mostly there are no events, no moments that stand out to tell you “Yes, I am middle-aged.”
But yesterday, at the doctor’s office for my physical, there was a marker to let me know I had moved on again. It was during my physical. He was examining my legs and feet. “Your circulation is excellent,” he said. “You have the circulation of someone who is 50.”
So now it’s official. I’m old.
I am a writer. I have been a writer for 65 years. (I began at age 5.) I have had fiction in Best American Short Stories (edited by Joyce Carol Oates), I have won grants (from NEH and NEA and the Michigan Council for the Arts), I have had plays produced in Singapore and Off Off Broadway and Boston and Detroit and Ann Arbor and Seattle. I have had 15 books published and six more are due out this year. I have read poetry with Czeslaw Milosz and Phillip Levine and Joseph Brodsky. I was Brodsky’s teaching assistant. I have had plays on youtube. I won Hopwood Writing Awards in every category when I was at the University- Major Poetry, Major Short Fiction, Major Long Fiction, Major Drama, Major Nonfiction awards. I had a poem in Time. I had my picture in Life. (Though not because of my writing.) I was a playwright in residence in Bucharest. I teach poetry and translation every summer in Tbilisi (at the Rustaveli Institute) I won a golden plaque from the World Congress of Poets for my poem about Gandhi. I teach Literary Fiction at the University of Washington. I am on Chapter 51 of a verse translation of Rustaveli’s “The Knight in the Panther Skin,” which will be published this summer and should make a big splash. There is a substantial Wikipedia entry about me which I didn’t write. (Okay, my kids did. Still–) Through all of this (and a lot more), I have never really promoted myself or my work. All that has changed. I am 70 and I want an audience. This weekend, Amazon is running a promotion of my story. You can download it for free through Sunday, May 4, 2014- After that, it will cost again the princely sum of 99 cents. Go to amazon.com, Enter Counting the Wounds in the search bar. Click on the title, and Click on “Download with 1-click.” After the story is downloaded, click “Deliver to kindle icloud reader.” (This is not really a kindle.) Read at read.amazon.com– The “free” promotion has been running 1 day, and it has gotten 250 downloads. That may not seem like a lot to you; to me, it seems huge. An agent is looking at my novel and with a strong showing of “Counting the Wounds,” she might agree to represent me. I hope you will download the story. I hope you will go to my website, lyncoffin.com, and click subscribe. I hope you will follow me (@lynco) on twitter. I hope we can be LinkedIn together. I hope you will read my blogs- on “Suicide Survivor” (also posted here) and “WhatDo You Do When A Student Threatens Murder.” I hope if you’re a literary agent, you will write me and agree to represent me. Always behind my back, I hear time’s winged chariot drawing near. I have a children’s book I would like to see published. And another novel after this one. (It’s called “Aftermath”- Chapter One describes a woman being drugged and raped by two US Marshalls. Later, she has sex with her boy friend and when she discovers she’s pregnant, she’s sure it’s the boy friend’s baby. Then–)
I am tired of being the most famous writer nobody’s ever heard of. It’s not the money- My unpublished manuscripts are like children who are starving in my basement. I want them to see the light of day. I would be happy to go back to being humble once I have an audience.
I have now, I suppose, done the unthinkable. i have publicly tooted my own horn. Toot! Toot! Thank you for reading.