Would you rather be a boomer, baby? Or a baby boomer?

Montgomery Bus Boycott

Common usage defines baby boomers with reference to one attribute: age. Anyone born between 1946 and 1964 is a baby boomer, plain and simple.

That definition is easy, but it misses many of the truly defining characteristics of the group.

I like the term boomer instead of baby boomer.

Jimi Hendrix

A boomer is a person who grew up in the new normalcy of post-WWII America.  He didn’t  stop there.  As he came of age, he fought the Vietnam War, protested against it, grew long hair, listened to Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones.  She grieved the loss of the Kennedy brothers, marched with Civil Rights leaders in Montgomery, voted Republican, Democrat and Independent.  She packed her love beads and took the flowers out of her hair to enter the workplace, where she fought for equal rights for women.  He built a company from scratch and watched it prosper, went belly up a time or two along the way.

He put the space program together, landed a man on the moon ahead of schedule, created the Internet, learned how to scuba, ran faster longer than any prior generation.

He raised his kids, and sometimes grand kids, put them through college, then went back to school himself. He cared for an aging parent, buried his mother when Alzheimer’s took her.

I once heard a man say that his goal in life was to live forever or die in the attempt.

That sentiment sums up boomers.

There is no give up in them.  They haven’t realized yet that they are getting old.

They never will.

If you want to make a boomer mad, tell her she can’t do something.  Don’t issue him a challenge, or he’ll take you up on it.

Now, we have a new world of digital publishing.

The boomers are all over it.

They are writing books, pouring out on every page decades of experience and insights learned in the school of hard knocks.  They are listening to people half their age advise them on technology, jumping into social media, formatting ebooks, studying how to market books.

There a discussion raging about boomers and their books.

What is a boomer book?  Is it possible to articulate a boomer book genre that does boomer’s justice?

Claude Nougat, an American author who lives in France, has jumped out in the lead in the discussion.  She recently formed a Baby Boomer Novels discussion group on Goodreads.  Drop by and check it out, join the discussion.  Claude will also soon honor us at Caleb and Linda Pirtle with a blog about how she sees the current state of the debate.

Author Claude Nougat
Author Claude Nougat

For now, boomers are doing their research, planning their strategies, preparing to assault the book business with a vengeance.

When we look back a few years from now, we may well say that 2013 was the year the boomers did it again.

They refused to believe they were a group of washed-up old people.

Instead, they built a body of literature that made the world wiser and better.

Who knows?  They may all live to be a hundred and twenty.

(Stephen Woodfin is an attorney and author who was born in 1952, and he is a boomer.)



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