finding beauty, silencing complaints — two stories

About 35 members of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) heard my talk last week as the last of a week of free workshops. RSVP “connects individuals who are 55+ to meaningful volunteer opportunities throughout New York City.” Since people who do meaningful work on a regular basis aren’t retired, RSVP is a lousy name, as director Meredith Gemeiner readily admits. But it’s a good program, the volunteers liked what I had to say, and two of them told great stories during the follow-up conversation.  

 

a "fresh voice in age studies"

Readers of this blog know how much the work of eminent cultural critic Margaret Gullette has informed my thinking. A Resident Scholar at Brandeis University, she couldn't make it to my talk at the Cooper Union but her envoys reported back enthusiastically. This week she generously recommended the talk to her network of age scholars, calling me "a public intellectual with a fresh voice in age studies who can attract undergrads and grad students and explain to large mixed audiences what anti-ageism is." Make my day! And then some. 

Do I give death its due?

A good friend passed on a DVD of my This Chair Rocks talk to a filmmaker acquaintance, who had a serious critique. She found the talk compelling and called me “a smart and wise cheerleader for this next passage,” but continued, “What I felt missing in her talk was death. She moved quickly over it, saying that her big surprise was how little older folks feared death. I think she is wrong, but she has been immersed in this research far longer than I have.  I think we [all] fear death; it is the great unanswered question.

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