Never too late. Harry Bernstein’s first Memoir at 93!

by Jerry Waxler

I was wrong. You can wait before writing your memoir. Author Harry Bernstein started his first memoir when he was 93, and it’s just coming out now that he’s 96. This is great news for anyone who thinks it’s too late, or they are too lonely or tired. There’s plenty of time.

In fact, there are several benefits of writing your memoir later in life:

  • The world is changing so fast that your memories from a few decades ago seem like you’re telling about a foreign land. This adds a flavor of distinction to your memories, without you needing to do anything fantastic.
  • Long term memory is the most persistent. As we age, our short term memory becomes more difficult but longer term memory persists. You can find all sorts of memories lurking in there once you start looking, at any age.
  • Because you’ve been alive lots of years, you can see the way events unfold across decades. This ability to see the long view adds a sense of wisdom and continuity to your perspective that younger people can only get from books – such as the one you write.
  • You have time.

Bernstein already has a contract for his second book. And that’s the reason his story popped into my mind. I was sitting at my desk thinking how odd it feels not to be working towards a book deadline. I just sent my book “Learn to write your memoir in four weeks” and am thinking about which one of my next projects to focus on. I thought, “Writing books is addictive” and then I remembered this quote from the article about Harry Bernstein.

“Now that he’s got the hang of book writing, Bernstein says he could probably write a few more and is considering writing about his marriage. His second book, “The Dream,” is almost finished and centers on the family’s move to the United States; Ballantine has already signed on as the American publisher.”

I’m also finding, once you get the hang of it, immersing yourself in writing a book is as addictive as immersing yourself in reading one.

The title is “Invisible Wall” about growing up in England a long time ago. I can’t say too much about it yet, because I just ordered it. But when I read it, I’ll share my observations and teaching points in this blog.

Click here to read my article about Invisible Wall.

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