Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Harry Bernstein & Me

Having put enough distance between myself and the feedback I received on the latest draft of my novel to pick up my pen again, I'm once more sitting at my favorite desk in the Thousand Islands, writing away.

Even if the book never makes it to the marketplace, I'm thankful that persistence comes so naturally to me. Whether I learned it from my parents or it's simply a manifestation of my innate stubbornness, I can't say. Whatever the case, I count it as one of my blessings.

Lest you think I'm crazy for persisting, consider the case of another late-blooming author, Harry Bernstein. For decades, Bernstein tried unsuccessfully to eke out a living as a writer. He ended up editing a construction trade magazine instead. In 1981 he finally published a novel, but it was a flop. He joked that he knew he sold at least one copy because a reader sent him a letter.

Still, he never gave up writing.

At the age of 96 he published a lauded memoir about growing up as a poor Jewish boy in England.  Even at that advanced age, he wasn't finished.  He went on to write two more volumes about his life.

He died at 101.  His obit was published in the New York Times.  His final book will be released in 2012.

Photo Credit:  Mike Mergen for the NYT.