Ruskin Bond on why writers shouldn’t stop writing because the human brain is most creative in older life.

Popular author Ruskin Bond advises writers in their 60s or early 70s to take a page out of the books of legendary writers Agatha Christie and PG Wodehouse and keep writing — even if it is just for themselves. He claims that, unlike the body, the human brain keeps “ticking away” and is at its “most fertile” in later years.

Bond, who turns 89 on Friday, believes that one benefit of getting older for writers is that it gives them more material to write about, including love, friendship, adventure, accomplishments, a changing nation, a changing world, changing ways of life, and history in the making. His new book is titled “The Golden Years: The Many Joys of Living a Good Long Life,” and it is available now.

“There is a certain joy in writing, in putting words down on paper and creating a story or a poem or a novel or even a memoir, and if no one else enjoys what you have composed. never mind, you have done it for yourself and your own pleasure.

“The human brain is at its most fertile in our later years, when there’s a lifetime of experience at our creative disposal,” Bond writes in the book.

In response to the question of why individuals even retire, Bond cites the examples of renowned crime writer Agatha Christie and well-known English author PG Wodehouse, both of whom continued to produce outstanding works well into their 80s and 90s, respectively.

“Well into her eighties Agatha Christie was inventing crimes for her detective Hercule Poirot to investigate and solve. PG Wodehouse, when ninety, was till regailing us with the exploits of Bertie Wooster and his butler Jeeves, the members of the Drones Club, and Lord Emsworth and his prized pig,” he notes.

Since publishing his first book, “The Room on the Roof,” in 1956, Bond has penned over 500 short stories, essays, novellas, and more than 50 children’s books. He is a man who lives what he teaches.
The renowned novelist from Landour continues by saying that neither success nor failure should determine when a writer should stop producing work.

“If you have reached the pinnacle of your writing career, why stop? And if you haven’t achieved what you set out to, why give up?,” asks the illustrious author.

He also acknowledges Indian writers — including RK Narayan, Mulk Raj Anand Khuswant Singh and Nayantara Sehgal –– in the list of those who continued to be productive in the later stages of their lives.

Though dealing with writers mostly, he clarifies that there are so many in other professions — films, music, politics, scientific, research, medicine — who do not allow the advance of age to deter them from their creative pursuits.

“As we grow older we are bound to be hampered by health issues — our bodies were not made to last forever — but if life is to be worth living, we must continue with our work, be it for pleasure or profit… The body might falter, but the brain keeps ticking away,” he adds.

The author of “The Golden Years,” a book about getting older and enjoying it that can be purchased from Harper Collins for Rs 399, discusses how to embrace getting older and make the most of the incredible gift that is life.

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