Interesting post on the Guardian website about what hitting the big four-zero does to male writers.
Perhaps the most complete accounts of midlife crisis come, as ever, from Shakespeare. Few would question the autobiographical nature of the The Tempest, in which an ageing Prospero breaks his staff and turns his back on “this rough magic”. It’s traditionally interpreted as a play about growing old gracefully, but granted that Shakespeare died in his early 50s – in an age when, by his own account, a man could expect to live to three score years and ten – could it not be reconstrued as the middle-aged bard of Avon chucking all his toys out of the pram? Then there’s A Winter’s Tale, when Leontes accuses his pregnant wife quite unreasonably of having it off with his best friend, consigning himself and her to 20 years of misery. If someone had only given him a motorbike, it might all have been over so much sooner.
Lord knows what I’m going to be like when I’m 40. I was full of preoccupation with age and death when I was writing the Nights of Villjamur (now at the age of 27). Not in a morose way, just in a kind of White Noise how come we avoid thinking about it kind of way.
But I’d like to think if I had enough money by that age, whatever crazy shit I’d be up to, I’d be doing it in style. I’ll pencil one of those babies into a future novel. Somehow.