Authors: Caroline Lodge, Eileen Carnell
Stage manager: Marian Lennon
And an audience of hundreds
Place and date premiered: Drury Lane, London. Thursday 12th March 2015
Setting: The foyer of City Lit and room 508
Eileen made her way down Drury Lane on a lovely sunny afternoon. She had been attending courses at City Lit for the last 50 years – from movement, speech and drama to art, calligraphy and writing. Her favourite class had been Acapella singing and it was there she had sung with Marian Lennon who was a member of staff at City Lit and whose idea this event was. Eileen was excited about her new role of co-author and meeting up with Caroline to sell their book and promote their course*.
Meanwhile Caroline and Marian had prepared the stage. A massive table in the foyer had been laid out with the books, posters and flyers – all in bright red and yellow it looked really eye-catching. The backdrop was a huge electronic display of the book – very impressive. The only concern had been whether the props would arrive on time but phew Retiring with Attitude published by The Guardian had arrived.
Act one: The foyer of City Lit
Excited crowds gathered to talk with the authors and declare they had either retired last week, last year or were just about to. Some spoke about the joys of retirement and that were having the time of their lives. Books started selling. Caroline and Eileen were thrilled at all the interest.
Act two: room 508
Five characters turned up to meet the authors: Jenny who had been part time for the last year, Anne who was experiencing the slowest retiring period in history, James a novice retiree who teaches as a sideline occupation, Ashley who was looking for strong role-models and Veronica who wondered if she needs to work for a further seven years. Key themes emerged: considering the process of retiring over time, the concept of retiring zones and the importance of belonging to at least three communities in order to flourish, being busy and finding purpose, making your mind up to retire, the importance of singing to bring joy to one’s life, finding resources within ourselves and outside.
Act three: The foyer of City Lit
More crowds of enthusiastic people, more smiling, more selling and signing. More retiring stories: working in the community, political activity, attending courses, living with loss, writing novels, jewelry making. Bustling atmosphere and movement.
Act four: room 508
Five new characters: June, a novice retiree, Timothy who had set his retiring date, Belinda who was considering her options, and Mary and Fiona who were thinking about retiring. The main themes were worry about the loss of identity in retirement, taking control of one’s life, stopping running around like a headless chicken, the importance of inter-generational living, the role of ‘carer’ in the family, maintaining self-esteem after work, where to live and rolling in the hay!
19 books were sold during the day. Two men had signed up already for the one-day course in June and many more people said they were going to apply. At the end of the afternoon one person came back to show how much of the book she had already read! She was beaming. Caroline, Eileen and Marian were delighted.
Really useful and fascinating.
That really cheered me up.
It was nurturing.
The ‘Attitude’ is great.
This is really a good thing that you are doing.
Brilliant marketing to be here at City Lit for this perfect demographic.
The themes are so relevant.
Although the groups seemed on the small side it was richer for those who came.
I found the session very helpful, inspiring and timely.
The course at City Lit is PG732 Retiring with Attitude, on Saturday 6th June 2015, 10.30 – 16.30 at City Lit, Keeley Street, Covent Garden, London WC2B 4BA. On-line details can be found here.
Retiring with Attitude: approaching and relishing your retirement by Caroline Lodge and Eileen Carnell (2014) published by Guardian. Available from the Guardian Bookshop (at reduced price) and all good bookshops.
Thanks to Eileen Carnell who was the guest blogger for this post.
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