When Enough Is Enough:
Age and the Creative Impulse

An Essay

by Lynn Freed

I'm a fifty-nine year old writer who needed this article, and especially this quote!

“Have you still got your space?” Doris Lessing asks new writers, “your soul, your own and necessary place where your own voices may speak to you, you alone, where you may dream. Oh, hold onto it, don’t let it go.”

Thank you. What a pleasure, Lynn Freed at her best: tart, witty, writing with a bite to it. The subject feels like one whose importance will only increase, touching as it does on age and its affect on women writers in particular, who in future years should have less fear of being set aside, abandoned, erased.

What an absolute joy to read. So much of what I have read lately bores me beyond belief, but Lynn Freed's writing is refreshing in its honesty. I look forward to reading her books. Thank you for making her essay available to those of us who are hungry for good writing and thank you Lynn Freed for taking me along on your solo journey.

What a lovely, inspiring article to read at the start of the day. Thank you.

Still cupping my hands over the creative flame after seven decades, eight books, and more, I am touched to the core by this beautiful essay and grateful for it.

BRAVA! The build-up, the eddies, the whammo . . . perfect. Makes me remember why I love reading good essays.

What a joy ride! Intelligence, depth, wit, subtlety, and story. Thank you, Lynn Freed. My husband published his first book at eighty-five, and moi, a mere sixty-seven, am just now at that threshold. If you want to see into at least part of your personal creative mystery, have your astrological chart done.

Lynn Freed, what a pleasure to share our aging.
And, slapping an adult daughter--how satisfying!

Excellent. These sentiments are long overdue. Tenaciously yours, from an admirer just peering out of the writer's cave after years of a pretty satisfying solitude.

I've read this essay three times, and I appreciate that it has made me think. Perhaps all of us eventually tire of the professions we love, I'm not sure. I became distracted from writing--first by teaching children and then by mothering a child--but I wouldn't do it differently even if I could. Writing has become the child of middle age for me. And as writer who wants to be published and a cancer survivor who is unlikely to see the seventh or eighth decades that Freed imagines, I envy the writers she describes who struggle to keep their writing fresh.

The first time I read this, I thought to myself that I have not so far wanted to slap my adult daughter but that I did want to slap her for being self-absorbed. But when I read it a second time, I thought that if I compared my feelings about teaching after 35 years to her feelings about writing, I could offer her a bit more compassion. And now that I've read it a third time this evening, I realize that readers don't return a second or a third time to a piece unless it speaks to them.

So at the risk of appearing to be following fashion, I compliment Ms. Freed for her ability to keep it fresh, keep it coming in a way that makes me want to slap her and congratulate her at the same time.

What a marvelous piece of work. Thank you, Lynn Freed and Narrative Magazine.

Brilliant, brilliant, as is everything Lynn Freed writes.


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