Author: Lucile Horsley Blanchard

Publisher: Aventine Press

ISBN: 978-1-59330-779-0


The author began writing fiction early in her life and later turned to poetry to express her feelings. The transition was natural insofar as her fiction style is itself so poetic. In this memoir she combines her gifts for both prose and poetry in a manner that flows completely naturally.   She also mentions having studied dance and music during childhood and  that shows in the rhythm and grace of the writing. She doesn’t walk the reader through her story but dances the reader through it, circling from childhood to the present and back. It is clear that writing, like music, is a way in which she feels her life.

I write the way some people jog. It’s an exercise  that makes me feel good. I wake up turning dreams into sentences. A compelling scene in nature becomes a short paragraph. The emotional interaction of two friends becomes a journal entry. Life streams in through my eyes and  ears and I write it down. If I didn’t write, I wouldn’t feel real. It’s an anchor, what pins each day in the flow of time. . . . “ (p.28)  

Later she mentions appointments with her Doctor, dentist, acupuncturist and mentions her gratitude to them for keeping her healthy because she wants to be active and thinking, dancing and singing right up to the end. And certainly it is evident in this gripping memoir that she is doing exactly that.

She speaks for writers everywhere when she expresses her excitement at hearing from a reader who liked one of her poems: 

I got a fan letter for my poem Dorothy’s Dream. Somebody read it and liked it! This is so unusual, to get any acknowledgment that your words spoke to a stranger. Mostly its like dropping a pebble into a well and waiting for the plop. Which never comes.” (p,89) 

I think I can safely say that I am a fan. My only criticism of Turning Seventy (if you can call it a criticism) is that I am left wanting more, more about the difficult childhood, the father, the lesbian mother, the angry stepmother, more about the husband who’s suicide sparked this work, more about her own children, the daughter’s book, the son’s films. I want another verse or three, another turn around the dance floor.  I will certainly be looking for her short stories and individual poems published widely in literary magazines and hope that they might someday be gathered together in a collection.  Once you read this author’s exquisitely chosen words, you won’t feel like a stranger.