Monday, July 7, 2014

When is Old, Old Enough? By Linda S. Glaz

            All eras through WWII.
Through the Vietnam era.
Post WWII but pre-fifties.
As long as I can remember as a writer, and that’s 23 or so years, historicals have been accepted as through WWII. But very little has changed in that requirement, though I have seen a couple places willing to look at works through the Vietnam era.
It seems to me that the biggest generation would love to read stories about when they were kids…the late forties, the fifties, maybe even the sixties. A time that is truly lost. There are a few books that take in this era, that of the baby-boomers, but not enough.
In the fifties, we experienced the introduction of coast-to-coast television. The beginning of the space age. The start of far-reaching influence by public schools. Medical care for most folks. The post war era introduced us to many moms starting to work outside the home and thus, the first tv dinners. Writers had begun to touch on all kinds of taboo topics. Music exploded with rock ‘n roll pushing to the forefront. Girls tried on slacks…and liked them. Automation of the auto-industry was ushered in along with stereo recording technology. The first heart-lung machine was used as well as the first use of the pill. AND along with all of the steps toward a technological age as well as an age of convenience, the first tranquilizers were used. Maybe just in time. Ahhh, the fifties.
My point is, this was an age of wonder. Some amazements for the good, some not so good, but an age that has the interest of the largest generation in the US, so why can’t we read more about our time growing up? I love WWII novels, but I would love even more stories that could take me back to a quieter time that I could relate with directly:
Looking forward to Christmas and whispering my Christmas wishes in Santa’s ear. Riding a new bike that my parents saved a whole year for instead of chucking it on a credit card. Eating whatever was in the house because we only had one car to get to the store and dad was using that for work. Ponytails and poodle skirts just waiting for us to grow up.
This culture was rich with fundamentals and therefore just ripe for stories that could push boundaries and teach the next generation about respect for home and family, the true value of a dollar. Morals and absolutes. Once an area becomes gray, there is less to shock, less to bring us out of our apathy. Less to write about that’s fresh.
When will post WWII be old enough to be considered historical by the entire writing community? I’m ready for it. Anxious for stories about little boys and girls in cowboy and cowgirl hats shooting their cap guns on Christmas morning feeling every bit an Annie Oakley or Roy Rogers. I’m anxious to read about a time that will resonant with so many of us today.
So when is old, old enough?


Terri Tiffany said...

Eating whatever was in the house because we only had one car to get to the store and dad was using that for work. Yes I relate to this and books in that era would resonate with so many of us!

Linda Glaz said...

I know. Wouldn't it be awesome? I watch The Christmas Story every year because it brings back so many memories. While it was a few years before me, I still remember Dad plugging dozens of plugs into one outlet and blowing fuses like the rest of us take breaths. He would mumble and grumble and find a way to make it work. I loved being a kid!

Janet Grunst said...

I agree with you, Linda. There was so much that was fun and positive in our culture back in the fifties, even an innocence that seemed to disappear in the following decades. With so many Boomers around, one would think there would be a ready market for these books. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

Iola Goulton said...

I agree with you, Linda. I'm the child of Baby Boomers, and I'd like to better understand the environment they grew up in (my family is British, and have that British stiff upper lip when it comes to talking about their past).

I do have one question: do you, as an agent, have publishers actively seeking post-WWII fiction?

Linda Glaz said...

There's always someone looking at it, Iola. Heartsong and Harlequin do a lot, and plenty of the other pubbers are publishing it as well.