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Nobel laureate Toni Morrison did not write her first published novel, The Bluest Eye, until she was 39. She didn’t write her most famous one, Beloved, until almost two decades after that.

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Writers are not ballerinas or football players.

Or, in other words: stop worrying that you aren’t already the writer you want to be, even if you’re well into middle age. You may or may not get to be that writer someday, but the age you are at any given moment is not what’s going to stop you. If anything, being older makes you more likely to write well.

At 81, Morrison has a new book out. I haven’t read it yet, but I will. Meanwhile, this interview in The Guardian is a great portrait of the artist as a (powerful) old woman.

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