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We Are Not "In Between" Anymore, Toto!

Greetings All! It is high summer here in North Carolina. Last month I suggested that we might be between heaven and hell.  Well, I can tell you which we are closer to - with temperatures that are consistently in the 100+ heat index this last week! The neighborhood dogs are excited to go for a walk but once they get out in the heat, they just want back in the house. My pandemic victory garden yields more lessons than vegetables. Don’t plant what you don’t eat, is a message I won’t forget. In the absence of restaurants, I’ve become a better cook, but it would take Julia Childs reincarnated to do something edible with a fridge full of summer squash.

The pandemic does have unexpected consequences, and they are not all bad: Of necessity we have learned to be farmers, cooks, and hair stylists. And even as we mourn the loss of in-person contact, we find new ways to connect. For example: my California erotic writing group has gone online, and I get to write with women I haven’t seen since the 2019 West Coast launch of Aphrodite’s Pen. The joy of meeting with them reminds me that my original (slightly subversive) goal in writing the book was to start a network of Elderotica writing groups. I figured an army of women writing about erotic life after fifty would make us all more visible.

And we could use some visibility now. Much has been written about the resurgence of ageism during this pandemic—among the many harrowing effects of the virus. One gerontologist suggested that the relatively weak public health response in the United States is tied to our disregard for the health of older people. A reminder of our vivid natures as older women—for our own benefit and for society at large—is clearly in order.

Another thing I’m noticing is that my calendar, which emptied of events in March, is filling back up with online commitments to teach classes, give sermons, and lead workshops. If your calendar is filling up like mine, please remember to reserve time for writing. My accountability buddy told me last week that it’s time to start saying “no,” and she’s right! I need to be smart about how I use my time—it’s no longer abundant as it was in March and April. The one thing to which I need to say yes is social justice work, which I must prioritize in the weeks and months and years ahead. We are all connected and we must support justice for everyone.

Last but not least, I am committed to finishing the edits on my story collection about Late-Life Love on Lockdown.
This was the inspiration: Several friends who are my age live in active senior communities and have been singing their praises for years. All kinds of facilities and services, and if a resident needs assistance later in life it’s right there on campus. But when the pandemic hit, the people managing these communities took highly restrictive measures to keep the residents safe. For example, if a resident left the grounds for a reason other than an urgent medical appointment, they might not be allowed back in. Hearing all that, I realized two things: First, I am thankful to live in a single-family home where we decide how to manage our own risks. And second, how the residents of a fictional North Carolina active senior community crafted vivid sex lives with those restrictions would make a great premise for a story collection. If we olders can create vibrant sex lives in those circumstances, we are a pretty amazing bunch. Look for announcements about the upcoming publication of that story collection. Also in the same series will be stories of late-life love in lockdown in New York and on the West Coast.

May we all stay safe in the month of August. May you be well, may you do good work, and may you find time to create and remember and write. You are valuable, your stories are important, and together we can nudge the world in the direction of joy.

With all best wishes,

Join An Elderotica Writing Group
Email me to Join In

In late July I posted an invitation on my Facebook page for women who want to participate in a new Zoom-based Elderotica writing group, based on the playful approach and supportive feedback models in Aphrodite’s Pen.

My concept is that a group of five to seven women will set a mutually agreeable time to meet online once a month. At the first meeting we will discuss group safety, including confidentiality and structured ways to give one another positive and useful feedback. 

Then at each meeting we will:

  • Start with a short “appetizer” prompt, and write for about ten minutes
  • Women who wish to do so can read their response to the short prompt and receive supportive feedback
  • Then we will continue with a longer prompt and write for about twenty minutes
  • Women who wish to do so can read their response to the longer prompt and receive supportive feedback
  • Then off we will go, empowered to write more!

Shared leadership will be key to our success. At the first meeting, I’ll review the feedback principles and provide prompts. But since I’m not planning to charge a fee, I look forward to all the women taking turns providing the short and longer prompts in later meetings.

The response to the invitation was immediate. I’ve sent out full introductory packets to the women who inquired. Stay tuned for updates on the progress of this group, and I’d love to see more such groups start up. If you’d like to be on a list of interested women for a future writing group, please email me.

New From The Blog
Click for my Blog

I publish two blog articles (published online on the 10th and the 20th) and this newsletter every month, so you hear from me every ten days or so by email.
Below is a brief extract from each of last month's blogs - click the links for the whole enchilada!
If you've ever considered getting your voice out there, I welcome suggestions for topics, or a fully written guest piece in line with the philosophy of the site.  Drop me a line......

Header image for Sexuality Down the Decades
Different Boats – Same Ocean

I recently gave a sermon at my UU church and it struck me afterwards how aligned it was with my Manifesto – with the exception that I have, since, moved on to grey hair. Of course, it should be aligned. The same experiences and life events shaped me and my alter ego Stella in identical ways, as you would expect. The title I chose ‘Different Boats – Same Ocean’ is an allusion to the belief that Americans have that the tide raises all boats equally. And then along came 2020 to – perhaps – show us that some boats leak, some are above the tide line and never get to float, and so on. You get my drift.

And so I want to talk with you about the mix of joy and woe that is our life. And I want to talk with you about denial: How humans choose not to believe in the struggles of others, and how we outgrow denial as our spirits grow.

Read More........

Image for blog on Spectrum of Sex book interview with Maria Nieto
The Surprising Bliss of the Non-Consumer

One of the best things I’ve done lately is to set up a weekly conversation with an accountability buddy. I talked about doing this for years but just started during shutdown—partly because video calls make it easy, and partly because other things disappeared off my calendar.

My accountability buddy is not part of my household. This turns out to be key. I don’t sit across the breakfast table wondering whether she did what she said she would. Or, worse yet, whether she’ll ask whether I did what I said I would do. I actually sit across the breakfast table from my life partner with the daily update on my obsessive reading about coronavirus research.

Just once a week my accountability buddy and I sit in front of our screens and talk about how it’s going. Sure, we talk goals.

Read More .....

More Blog Posts
A FREE Email Writing Course
Writing Your Erotic Journey

You may remember the terrific guest post by my friend Simone LaBerge, “Sexuality Down the Decades,” where she reflected on her own sexual development from childhood to her seventies and talked about her hopes for the years ahead. 

Her writing inspired me to create a free short course to help you to reflect on your journey so far and your hopes for the days to come. 

Sign up for a fascinating interior journey, and share the details with your close friends and on social media please!

Stella's Books are Available at all good booksellers & online stores

This is Stella's monthly newsletter.  Please help by sharing it with your friends via email and social media.

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Stella Fosse

125 S Estes Drive #4311, Chapel Hill
NC 27312 United States

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