|Cezanne: The Plodder|
I like to think of Cezanne and Ben Fountain as Plodders (and I mean that in the kindest of way). They are among the five varieties of late bloomers I've discovered:
Some late starters have had a lifelong desire to be a writer, painter or musician, but have been sidetracked by family duties, work obligations and/or fear of failure. Late in life, these classic late bloomers are finally able to realize their dreams.
EXAMPLE: Working as a nurse and raising children (including the future writer Ann Patchett), Jeanne Ray couldn't indulge in what she called her "little joy time" activity. When the kids were raised though, she completed her first novel, Julie and Romeo, about two aging lovers. She was 60.
Not everyone dreams of creative pursuits, but some crusading late bloomers are drawn to launch creative careers to champion a cause or to share a lifetime of expertise.
EXAMPLES: Helen Prejean was 54 when she wrote "Dead Man Walking," a book that inspired an Oscar-winning movie (and a national debate) on capital punishment. Dr. Ruth was 55 when she wrote "Dr. Ruth's Guide to Good Sex" and launched her sex advice radio program.
Some writers, painters and musicians start working early on their art but they are plodders. They need time to get it right, only achieving their best late in life.
EXAMPLE: Karl Marlantes took three decades and many rewrites to finally finish Matterhorn, his novel based on his experience as a Marine on combat tour during the Vietnam War. "Over the years, the book got better," he says. He finally published it, to critical acclaim, in 2010. He was 65.
Some creative people who have been working at a high level of achievement for decades have had to wait a long time for the world to recognize their genius.
|Susan Boyle's debut album.|
THE REPEAT LATE BLOOMER
Some people achieve success early in life and then fade from view only to reappear stronger than ever.
EXAMPLES: Comedian Betty White in her late eighties staged a heralded "comeback" in the field she never left. Oscar-winning actor Anthony Hopkins has been excelling in a completely different creative pursuit: In his seventies, he is touring as a concert pianist.