Paying Homage To Women Over 60
by Ace Antonio Hall @sylvaslasher on Twitter
Truly, I would've never published my young adult zombie novel, Confessions of Sylva Slasher, if it weren't for women over sixty. I was five years old when I left my parents in New York to live with my Grandmother in Jacksonville, Florida. My grandmother, who told me to just call her Nana, was 70. Strangely, it didn't dawn on me until I reached my forties that my Nana was that age because she never truly acted her age. Sure, she had bouts of arthritis, and took pills for her high blood pressure, and said “Ooh-wee," whenever she bent down to work in her vegetable garden, but she never truly made me feel like I had an old parent.
Nana took me to see my first movie, the Apple Dumpling Gang, and taught me to ride my first bike, exposed me to Sammy Davis, Jr. Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin—men who influence my very persona, this very day. She showed me how to bake biscuits from scratch and made homemade donuts—Hmm-mm-mm, so delicious. In essence, she taught me that a woman over sixty is still vibrant, and full of life, should be cherished, loved, honored, and hugged often. That is why the mentor in my novel is the mirror image of a woman over sixty, and why the females in my stories face subjects that deal with coming of age, overcoming disrespect from men, and learn to empower themselves through seeing their own inner beauty and strengths. I saw my grandmother win those battles time and time, again, growing up. Women like Katherine Hepburn, who won her first Oscar at sixty or Mother Theresa, who got world-wide attention for her bold humanitarian efforts at the beautiful ripe age of sixty, and strong political leaders like Hilary Clinton, helped form the consciousness of the men like me; individuals who champion women who share shades of gray.
When my other grandmother, Grandma Rhodie, contracted cancer in her sixties, battled it, and defeated it to live to an age of 100, it inspired me to believe in my heart that the human spirit receives empowerment from within. That is one of the core themes of my novel, and part of the coming-of-age story that I will always tell. Nana taught school for 44 years, and she also died after a century of living, at 102. I don't think that there was one individual in my family that she didn't raise. Truly. When she had her first stroke, in her nineties, and my heart was broken when she couldn't remember where the kitchen or bathroom was, I nearly cried a thousand tears. A year later, she was back in the kitchen, fussing at my siblings and cousins to sit at the table to enjoy the delicious meal she cooked for dinner. These are the types of images I will always portray in my writing.
We, as a male species, should value the treasure that our women over sixty bring to the world: their beauty, their stories of triumph, their love to care for children, their pains, struggles, and their joys of life. I, for one, would've never been the man that I am, had I not been lifted on the wings of a woman who stands for not only my grandmother. Each and every one of the grandmothers of America and abroad, truly raised a generation of everyday people like you and me.
So when I say I love women over sixty, I'm saying that I love your mother, your grandmother, and you, if you are one of the precious creatures that share the shades of gray. For you taught me to respect my craft, to always give love to my craft by studying it, and immersing the integrity that comes with love and passion, and to always be a significance to the world, whether it be in my words, my actions, my preparations, or my novels.
Thank you, women over sixty. I cherish you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ace Antonio Hall is the author of the novel, Confessions of Sylva Slasher. His short stories, They and Raising Mary: Frankenstein, have been awarded Honorable Mention for the Writers of the Future Awards 2013 and 2014. He published his short story Dead Chick Walking in Calliope Magazine Fall 2013 #141.
In 2015, Hall has sold his short stories to be published with Weasel Press/The Haunted Traveler, Bride of Chaos/9 Tales, Pure Fantasy & Science Fiction, Vol. 4, Jitter/Prolific Press, and Night to Dawn Magazine #29.
Ace on the set of ABC's hit TV show, How To Get Away With Murder
Follow Ace on Twitter @sylvaslasher
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