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Elder Comedian - Mrs. Hughes

A Tempest in a Blogging Teapot

[We are entering the annual award season and I'm proud to announce that Time Goes By has been given the first "Blog of the Week" award from citrus at There's Alway Something... who describes the award as "the most interesting, inspiring, funny, provocative - whatever - that I came across during the week." Thank you, citrus, and I'm sure we'll all be keeping an eye on your weekly awards.]

A couple of months ago, a new elderblog appeared among us, Code Name Nora, in which Nora, who is 80 and a newly-arrived resident in a retirement community, writes in the third person about her experiences with others who live there.

I’ve forgotten how Nora’s blog came to my attention, but I was charmed by her off-center attitude, style and excellent writing. I soon added her to the Elderbloggers List.

From the first, there were doubters. Terri of Writing Away on Cedar Key posted this comment on one of Nora’s early entries:

“So I know I'll be a regular reader here in your Twilight Zone. I'll also be adding you to my favorite page.”

Then, she amended her opinion with this comment:

“Very good writing with entertaining stories. And call me suspicious - but golly, this sure sounds like a preview of a novel to come.”

joared of Along the Way took up the drumbeat with a similar comment:

“…guess I agree with terri about this sounding much like a budding novel.”

Without referencing those comments, Nora admitted to thoughts of fiction-writing :

“Nora has in mind a novel she wants to write…Three old ladies live in a retirement home. They are Nora, Pat, and Winifred. They’ve had the usual hard knocks in their lives and now should be able to take life easy...”

A few days later, Alice of Wintersong posted this comment to Nora’s blog:

“Nora, you aren't really an 81 year old woman are you?”

Because of these comments, I took a closer look at Nora’s blog than I might otherwise have done and immediately noticed that the image of her is a Photoshopped composite, and poorly done at that. Matty of Running on Empty commented on the faked photo, to which Nora replied:

“Oh, Matty, someone noticed! At last. No, the body is courtesy of an ad in Victoria's Secret catalog. The face, of course, is prim old me.”

All this doubting would be merely an amusing cyber-aside if an elderblogger had not emailed angrily ripping me for including Nora on the Elderblogger’s List and asking if I know what credibility Nora has. Because this is a private email, I can’t quote it, but it suggested that Nora is not who she purports to be and therefore my Elderblogger’s List can no longer be trusted, that I no longer vet blogs for honesty.

Hul-lo! I collect URLs for new elderblogs I find and add them to the list, if they meet my criteria, when I have time. Let me be clear: I am not in the business of doing background checks on bloggers.

However, I’m more disturbed that elders – grownups! - in back-channel email as though it were a political whisper campaign, would impugn another blogger’s integrity with no basis in fact. Perhaps it is the excellence of Nora’s writing that makes some suspicious. I can’t find it now, but somewhere I read a comment that Nora writes very well “for an 80-year-old" which added to the suspicions that she is not who she says she is. Sounds like a little bit of elder ageism to me. Why shouldn’t she be a good writer at 80? Writing skills only get better with time and use.

Or, maybe, it is the third-person style that bothers people. It is a time-honored literary device that can be annoying but which, in fact, Crabby Old Lady uses on this blog without having been accused of dishonesty.

Nora announced in her first post that her “cybername” is Nora, implying that it is not her real name - and maybe that seems less than forthright. But many bloggers use pseudonyms for important, valid and even whimsical reasons (two I know for certain come to mind) and sometimes you don’t know that a real-sounding name is a not the person's real name at all.

We all try to read between the lines to help us determine more about the people behind the blogs we like, but unless you’ve come to know a fellow blogger off line, you don’t KNOW if any blogger is telling the truth about him- or herself. So attempting to winnow out how honest someone may be is a fool’s game.

Authenticity (a word that lately is way overused) is valued in the blogosphere and undoubtedly most bloggers are not pretending to be something or someone they are not. No one can maintain a false front, writing every day for years, without slipping. But just as undoubtedly, some do create online personae that are different from their own. It’s not a crime. (At Second Life, it is an art form.)

When they started, personal blogs were mostly collections of links to online places people wanted to pass on, usually without much commentary. They developed into personal journals, expanded into advocacy and topics and a few have now become as important as newspapers for needed information. Some blogs hardly deal in words at all, only video. Blogs are always in the process of transforming themselves and Code Name Nora may be a new(ish) direction.

Or not.

Nora has chosen to write in the third person in a novelistic style. I don’t care if it’s fiction in disguise; as with all good fiction, there are truths being told. And I don’t care if Nora is outed at some future point as a professional novelist or a 35-year-old, beer-swilling biker. Code Name Nora is funny, charming and a delight to read so I'm taking Nora at face value. If a guessing game about whether she is "authentic" must go on, let's keep it in all good fun and not be mean about it.

[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Rabon Saip tells a most extraordinary love story, Muriel.]

Comments

Thanks for bringing this blog to my attention! I hope it's real, since I plan to write about my own move into a senior community in about a year. Even if it's not real, it's good. There's no reason we elders shouldn't write well!

"Blogs are always in the process of transforming themselves and Code Name Nora may be a new(ish) direction...let's keep it in all good fun and not be mean about it.
"

Well said.

And I can't help but wonder if any of us are honest enough to present the 'real' us to our readers. Do we ever embellish a story, just a little bit? A tiny bit? I don't remember any specifics, but I'm sure I have.

And if Nora's not old now, she will be some day and what's the harm?

Boy, there are a lot of issues for discussion here.

I recently read a blog supposedly written by a woman writer. The blog was a writing project where she wanted to write one chapter of a book a day for six weeks. Two weeks into the project, I received an email from the authour stating that he decided to contact the regular readers and commentors of his blog to say that he was not a woman. Since his blog made no pretense of being anything but fiction, and his email explained why he decided to blog under a woman's name, I was not irritated by the deception.

And, in some ways, I don't know why Nora's identity, sex, or age plays a role about the validity or authenticity of her writing. I've read many an enlightening text about what it is like to be a woman, written by men, youth by elders, and love by those of questionable morals... isn't it possible just to read Nora's blog at face value?

I agree that there are several important points in this matter. We really don't know that the blogger is who they say they are unless we meet them face to face any more than once we knew who our pen pals really were. I take the bloggers at face value unless something comes out that indicates otherwise. Then I have a choice to make. How much does the true identity of that blogger mean to why I read the blog? Do I read for factual information and does the blogger's false identity call that information into question? If the answer is yes, do I stop reading or continue but take the information with a greater grain of salt than I used to? Otherwise, I don't see a problem. As has been pointed out, fiction can reveal truths that non-fiction misses. When I was teaching history we used "The Things They Carried" for the Vietnam section. It is fiction but is very revealing and very 'truthful.' More so than newspaper or tv or official reports. I don't see anything wrong about keeping Nora on your list of elder bloggers, even if she is not who she said she is. Or put her on a the other list of 'honorary' elder bloggers.

somewhere I read a comment that Nora writes very well “for an 80-year-old"

...and how old is Doris Lessing?

“Ask any modern storyteller and they will say there is always a moment when they are touched with fire, with what we like to call inspiration, and this goes back and back to the beginning of our race, to fire and ice and the great winds that shaped us and our world. The storyteller is deep inside everyone of us. The story-maker is always with us. Let us suppose our world is attacked by war, by the horrors that we all of us easily imagine. Let us suppose floods wash through our cities, the seas rise . . . but the storyteller will be there, for it is our imaginations which shape us, keep us, create us - for good and for ill. It is our stories that will recreate us, when we are torn, hurt, even destroyed. It is the storyteller, the dream-maker, the myth-maker, that is our phoenix that represents us at our best, and at our most creative.”

From her Nobel acceptance speech - sounds pretty good for an 88 year old don't you think?

Here’s the full version.

Hooray for Ian. I challenge anyone to write as well as Doris Lessing at any age.

I don[t think age has much to do with the ability to write well. The biggest difference is that we elders have so many more experiences to draw from. A lifetime of stories that can only come from having lived them.

I agree with you. It isn't your place to vet blogs for age.

Everyone likes a mystery. Thanks for drawing our attention to this blog. I bet it will get lots of visitors today. Whoever Nora is, she writes well. I do not believe she is 80, although, of course, I may be wrong. It is the choice of language and some words. My mom always called strokes TIAs. She had no idea what an Ipod was. There is too much glamour. The heroine jokes about the use of baby wipes? It is a fact of life for the extreme elderly. When I was reading, I felt upset that the tone becomes condescending every once and a while. I think this is fiction, not non-fiction.

Because of time constraints, I don't read a lot of blogs and only rarely surf through unknown ones to avoid possibly finding another to add to the list I do read. I hadn't seen Nora's blog but it is entertaining. It reminds me of the things we saw when my mother-in-law lived in an assisted living center. It could indeed be fiction; could be someone working there; could be really the person. A lot of folks are quite sharp at 80 something which is really a little young for even needing such a living facility from what I saw when I spent time there before my mother-in-law died.

There are many reasons for choosing to not use a person's real name and certainly living in a facility where others would be mad, maybe even sue, would be one of them. I use my art/writing name because it's safer for protecting my family from anybody who gets offended by my political opinions, also means I won't get any unwelcome visitors at my door who traced me to it-- hopefully. I am familiar with how internet encourages some to get fantasies going about someone they have never met and felt it was safer to use a name that didn't trace-- on the other hand when I write something about the neo-cons, I wonder if I'd be safer if my name was public record. Six of one-- half dozen of another. My name though is actually mine, just not the one on the mailbox.

Just a thought: Only tell your e-mail address to friends! Sheesh!
A terrific writer is "Golden Lucy" and what is her age? I've loved her writing from the very beginning of my discovery of blogs.

No, it isn't your job to play detective. You give enough of yourself to TGB without adding such an onerous task.

As to her "writing well for an 80-year-old", we elders went to school when before our educational system decided to water education down. When I returned to college finish my B.A. in my late thirties, I asked my advisor if college had gotten easier or I'd gotten smarter. He told me that I had obviously kept learning and reading on my own but yeah, that they had had to lower their standards because the crop of high school graduates hadn't the skills I had learned. And it's a fact that SAT scores have done nothing but drop since 1965.

And I wish I'd remembered that lasr little nugget for my rant on Mark Zuckerberg!

aloha all!
I discovered Nora's blog and just loved it and have no trouble believing she's 80. I emailed her and asked because I thought her blog WOULD make a terrific novel but I also said it wouldn't make a bit of difference.
As a novelist myself (and one on the far side of 50) I know blogging is a virtual universe. I think it's interesting how we jump to conclusions based on assumptions of skills or knowledge one is apt to have at 80.
I wrote as a cognitively challenged man and people had no trouble believing that.
I say go for it Nora!
And the nay sayers? Well, don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out LOL!
Patricia Wood
Author of LOTTERY

Authenticity. Hmmmmmm. I have to say, if I can have an authentic experience as a blog reader, I really don't care if the blog writer is exactly what s/he purports to be. The truth told in a blog, like the truth in a novel, isn't limited to the testimony-under-oath variety.

From another angle, there may be those who think my own blog isn't authentic! Most caregivers, after all, are women.

Can't remember which commenter (above) said it but I, too, noted that Nora's "tone becomes condescending every once and a while." I also have no problem with her being in her 80's AND a good writer at the same time. I hope I am when I'm in MY 80's. What I do have a problem with is someone whom I sense is much younger using the elderwriter forum as a draw for readers/attention or whatever. There are too many nuances in the posts that suggest the writer is much younger. I may be off-base in that I felt my "fraud hackels" rising rather quickly, but I chose NOT to link Nora until she has the candor to be upfront about her writing. I wouldn't care if it's fiction, as I suspect it is, but I do have problems with someone amusing themselves at how easy it is to "fool (old) people" or use them, whatever the motive. By the way, when Ronni took off a few days, someone who called herself Mary Ann was very quick to whip up a new blog and link to many on Ronni's list. When someone suggested she post a few comments about who she was, the posts stopped and a few days later Ronni came back. (http://www.tgbcommunity.blogspot.com) Since both Mary Ann and Nora blog from blogspot, I admit my suspicion was aroused. If there's a real Mary Ann I apologize for my skepticism. I notice, however, that blog seems to have been abruptly abandoned with no further explanation. It may be, and I hope it is, just a coincidence, but I admit I'm curious.

Just want to say from my experience that Alice does have a knack for detective work.

If we're going to continue on this guessing game just for fun, I'm putting my money that Code Name Nora is a fictional story.

Ronni, you are generous and, as partial reward, you de-clutter your life, freeing you up for following your bliss. Thanks for modeling sane thinking on deciding when caring matters and when it doesn't. Not one bit.

It's not the blog writers we have to worry about; it's the politicians.

Just to clarify, in my previous comment, I am NOT saying that Nora can't be an 81 year old. I am merely guessing on rather her blog is real or fictional. I have no idea rather Nora is 50 or 80. I don't have psychic power. I can't tell a person's age just by reading a blog.

Sorry, Ronni. This is not a comment on your blog. It is a (readable, I hope) copy of John Edwards' 11 point Declaration of Independence for Older Americans. Please look it over, try to overlook the use of the term, "senior," and then react if you believe it worthwhile. (I recall your preference for "comments" as opposed to receiving e-mail, therefore my use of this clumsy mode of communication.)


Security, Dignity and Choice: A Declaration of Independence For Older Americans

"It's time for a new kind of declaration of independence – a commitment to helping older Americans live independently, with choice over their health care, financial security and lifestyle. It's not enough to congratulate ourselves on living longer, if we are not living stronger." – John Edwards

Financial Independence: Strengthening Retirement
1. Keep The Promise Of Social Security

Edwards is committed to protecting Social Security, because there is no more important retirement program in the country. He has strongly opposed President Bush's efforts to privatize it, which would cut guaranteed benefits and risk individuals' retirements in the stock market. He does not believe we need to reduce benefits, change the retirement age or increase the burden on average workers. Edwards has proposed changing the Social Security tax exemption for individuals making more than $200,000 a year, who now pay Social Security on less than half of their income violating the fundamental principles of fairness under our progressive tax system. He also supports a nonpartisan, non-ideological commission to examine ways of ensuring that every American can retire with dignity and that the life of the Trust Fund is extended.
2. Protect Pensions And Help Families Save

Employees who have worked hard all their lives should not be denied the pension benefits they have earned, and corporations must honor the pension promises they've made to workers. Edwards opposes allowing companies to either switch out of defined-benefit plans in order to deny long-term workers their pensions, or go into bankruptcy just to avoid keeping their promises to employees. Edwards will give workers claims for lost pensions just like for lost wages, prevent corporate executives from walking away with millions while companies are going bankrupt and reform the bankruptcy laws to prevent companies from shedding their obligations to workers. At the same time, because nearly half of working Americans do not own any type of personal retirement account, Edwards has proposed a series of initiatives to help millions of families better realize financial security and retire with dignity, including:

* New universal retirement accounts requiring every business to automatically enroll its workers in at least one plan: either a traditional pension, a 401(k), or an IRA – workers will be allowed to build up these accounts over the course of their careers and take them from job to job;
* New "Get Ahead" tax credits to match the annual savings of low and middle-income families, dollar for dollar, up to $500; and
* Free savings accounts for the nearly 28 million Americans without them, so that they also have ways to save and avoid exorbitant check-cashing fees. [Aspen, 2007; Federal Reserve, 2007]

3. Fight Predatory Lenders

Older Americans' 80-percent homeownership rate makes them prime targets for predatory mortgages. Some seniors are also especially vulnerable to payday lenders, who charge over 300 percent interest on cash advances on Social Security checks. Edwards will protect families through a new federal regulator, the Family Savings and Credit Commission, whose sole job is consumer protection. He will also ban all payday loans at interest rates over 36 percent, prohibit predatory mortgage lending, and rein in abusive practices in the credit card industry. [AARP, 2007; CRL, 2006]
4. Preserve Freedom To Work

The freedom to work is critical to the dignity of older Americans. Edwards supports vigorous enforcement and strengthening of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and of the Americans with Disabilities Act, in order to fulfill Congress' original intent. He will also protect older workers from early retirement "incentives" that push them out of their jobs. His health care plan will guarantee quality, affordable coverage for older Americans who transition to temporary, part-time or independent work but who are not yet Medicare-eligible. He will also modernize unemployment coverage to give more security to workers.
Health Security
5. Protect The Future Of Medicare

Skyrocketing health care costs have put enormous pressure on Medicare and threatened its long-term solvency. The Medicare Trust Fund is projected to be exhausted in 2019. But instead of strengthening Medicare for our seniors, George Bush has surrendered it to the drug companies and the HMOs. The first step toward extending the life of Medicare is universal health care reform that makes health care more cost-effective, including investments in preventive and chronic care, electronic medical records, and promoting proven cost-effective care. Within Medicare, Edwards will also clamp down on skyrocketing drug costs and stop the overpayments to insurance companies, using the savings in part to ensure that low-income Medicare beneficiaries have access to the care they need. [OASDI Trustees, 2007]
6. Make Prescription Drugs Affordable

Drug costs have risen three times faster than inflation since 1994. Top pharmaceutical companies now spend twice as much on marketing and administration as they do on R&D. Edwards will take on the pharmaceutical and insurance industries to help seniors. He will allow Medicare to negotiate drug costs with drug makers and will give Medicare beneficiaries the choice of a public plan for their prescription drugs. He will also permit safe reimportation from Canada, restrict direct-to-consumer advertising for new drugs, ensure evaluation research is truly independent, eliminate loopholes and trade obstacles that block generic drugs, and let the FDA approve biogeneric drugs in order to bring down costs. [KFF, 2007; Families USA, 2007]
7. Revolutionize Chronic Care

The 23 percent of Medicare beneficiaries with five or more chronic conditions account for 68 percent of its costs, yet Medicare makes almost no effort to coordinate care. Doctors may unknowingly provide duplicative treatments and undercut each other's efforts, resulting in unnecessary problems and hospitalizations. Edwards will revolutionize chronic care by promoting proactive disease management, ensuring that doctors regularly check up on their patients, encouraging doctors to communicate with each other, and making sure that every American with chronic conditions has a patient-centered "medical home" allowing a doctor to coordinate their care and promote life-improving care as well as treat life-threatening emergencies. [Anderson, 2005]
8. Strengthen Geriatric Primary Care

Patients treated by doctors trained in geriatric care are a third less likely to become disabled, half as likely to develop depression and 40 percent less likely to require home health services, according to one study. But reimbursement rates for this care are so low that the division was shut down soon after the study was completed. The number of certified geriatricians fell by one-third between 1998 and 2004 and only 330 doctors nationally will complete geriatrics training this year. Edwards will emphasize primary care in the Health Care Markets by writing reimbursement rules that encourage proven geriatric care. He will also call on experienced geriatric doctors to train the next generation of primary care doctors and nurses in geriatric care, including how to identify treatable conditions in older Americans – like depression, malnutrition, isolation and podiatric problems – that, if ignored, often lead to a downward health spiral. [Boult at al., 2001; Gawande, 2007]
Living With Dignity
9. Offer Choice In Long-Term Care

Our long-term care system is poorly equipped to give independence to older Americans, and it forces many families to either juggle elder care, child care, and their jobs or spend themselves into poverty to pay for nursing homes. Edwards will reform Medicaid and Medicare to let people choose home-based care in their communities and to test innovations such as asset and income protection programs. He will also support states and communities offering much-needed and often less expensive alternatives – like adult day care and senior villages – that allow seniors to live at home with their loved ones.
10. Improve Nursing Homes And Crack Down On Elder Abuse

Independence is the goal, but we also need to strengthen quality and safety protection in nursing homes. Edwards will establish national standards for nursing home care, increase national enforcement against abusive nursing home chains, expand inspections, and increase penalties for homes that fail to provide decent care. He will also help improve the quality of care with measures like reducing patient-staff ratios and improving care provider training.
11. Promote Livable Communities And Accessible Transportation

Too many seniors are forced to move from their private homes because they lack supportive services or reliable transportation. Edwards will promote livable communities to make sure every American has the right to age in the setting of their choice. He will create new supportive housing options that give older Americans the choice of community-based living, vigorously enforce civil rights laws to ensure that federally-funded housing is accessible, and protect supportive services like meals-on-wheels and senior centers that sustain independent living. He will also meet the special needs of senior drivers by helping health professionals educate them about the interaction between health and driving and by encouraging automakers to make affordable, wheelchair-accessible vehicles. In the Edwards administration, the Department of Transportation will prioritize transportation access requirements, fund accessible mass transit like "kneeling buses" that are easier to board, and support para-transit services in rural areas.

I discovered Nora from a comment she made on my blog recently and I was enchanted from the first post I read. I have caught up - now I have read everything on the blog since she began. I noticed the composite photo - so what? I thought it was a "current/used to be" pic and quite inventive.

Whatever age she is - and I have NO reason to doubt her age or motives - she is funny and a good writer. I plan to keep on reading her posts, no matter what.

I don't understand the vitriol some people have about certain blogs and bloggers. They are there to be enjoyed and entertained by - or not. If you suspect someone is not who he/she says he/she is - don't read it.

When I first saw Nora's picture on her blog, I just glanced at it. Then I did a violent double-take. Then I looked more closely and realized she had put an old woman's face atop a glamorous young woman's body. I took it as a sophisticated visual joke, a trip-up of our expectations, and possibly even a comment on how we continue to feel young inside even as we look in the mirror and see old.

I have exchanged e-mails with "Nora" and have read all her posts, and I'll go out on a limb and say I think she's for real: an 80+ woman in a retirement home. She's also a real writer, of course.

If this were a novel, she'd make it more exciting. So many of the conflicts are petty and the excitement is over small things. That rings true to me. What makes it compelling is the subtlety of her observations of the other "Twilight Zone" denizens' personalities.

Could I be fooled? Oh, sure. Would I feel betrayed, made a fool of? Hell no. Whether Nora has won my belief through integrity or skill, or both, I am enjoying the experience.

Bloggers write for the sake of expression and the reader has two choices:

1) Read the blog
2) Don't read the blog

As a blogger, you can add any links you choose to your own blogroll, make rules or don't make rules, comment, link, don't link...basically, there are no rules.

If people like to read Nora's blog, they'll read it. If not, then they won't. As a blogger, I've also received mean-spirited emails. They always surprise me -- more because of the vitriol woven in to the negative assumptions than anything else.

For a woman her age, she writes well?
P.D. James was "only" 85 when she published The Lighthouse, and I heard an interview of hers recently on the BBC, she is currently 87.
I haven't had time to look at Nora's blog yet, but I certainly will.

My, my, my....First of all Ronni, of course you're not expected to vet through any blogs you choose to list here. It's your choice who's listed with no explanations needed.
However, I must say...and yes, even more I now doubt Nora is who she claims to be in the blog world...I feel she accomplished what she set out to do....gain herself some notoriety. For what reason? I have no idea.
Of course she can have excellent writing skills at age 80! But after reading a few of her posts, what bothered me was the "voice"...call it instinct or whatever, but it didn't resonate to me as legit.
And while I love fiction and superb writing as much as the next person, what I don't like is being bamboozled.
Any of us in the writing industry know HOW difficult it is to "make it." A little notice goes a long way. And timing is everything. This Nora obviously has writing talent. But if she's not who she claims to be and is looking for a break....then I say, bravo to you, Nora....because although I prefer honesty, you just might accomplish what you're hoping to!
And I can't remember if it was in Nora's post or a comment she left somewhere....but she questioned as to how to increase her readers to her blog. NOT how she could make more friends, read more elder blogs herself, but how SHE could draw more readers.
Again....call me suspicious....make that now very suspicious. BUT I am marveling at how many people/readers she has now drawn to her blog and the attention she has created. As I said, I think she's accomplished what she set out to do and nothing wrong with that. But honesty...especially in today's world....is everything to me.
And sorry...I just do not think Nora's "voice" can be compared to legitimate bloggers like Golden Lucy or Millie Garfield.
Just my opinion.

Terri, you've expressed it much better than I did. We seem to be the exception rather than the rule here, but the honesty thing bothers me a lot. Yes, Nora is fun to read and I wouldn't even mind linking her to my puny blog, IF she is honest and upfront the way the other bloggers I feature on my blogroll have been. I will not knowingly be a part of deception for any reason. Neither am I jealous. The writer has to live with themselves, not me.

I agree with Terri and Alice. Honesty does matter, even when it comes to a blog. Here is a line from Nora today, Tuesday: "In the past, when they had dark hair, smooth skin, bright eyes, good ears, quick minds ..." Excuse me. Most of the elders I met, my mom's friends, had quick minds, well into their late eighties, and at 81 would never have described the inevitable changes old age imposes in such a flippant tone. I think Nora is in her early 30's.

Regarding: "read a comment that Nora writes very well 'for an 80-year-old'"
I received the Time Goes By via email today.
It immediately sent me to a "critical" NOT "mean" reading of Nora's blog out of curiosity.
What stood out for me, as an elder writer (not as old as Nora, but still..) is not that she writes all that "well" for an older writer but she writes differently. My mother is currently 91 and no longer writing. When she was in her 80's her output and style, as well as lots of flips back down memory lane, were much like how she spoke. Our Nora's style and certainly vocabulary is of a younger generation.
I have lived for years with older women. Even someone whose skills are as honed as 88 year old Doris Lessing's does not produce the verbal quantity or tone our Nora does.
Of course, she could be exaggerating about her age as well....

Alice makes a good critical, again not a "mean" observation. There is a demeaning tone creeping into Nora's work.

So if we are being fooled, so what? What harm is there in it? We elders are, after all grownups.

I am very sensitive at the moment because I am in the midst of watching a Netflix DVD film called, "Falling" with Michael Kitchen. British drama about an older woman's life being gradually and carefully taken over by the charming and somehow sinister Michael Kitchen (who I adore as an actor). The film is so relentlessly claustrophobic. It is like watching a vulnerable, dear, old rabbit being trapped and in some way I feel that I could be that bunny.
It is only 95 minutes long and after two days I still have not finished watching it. (Solid good writing!).
I am on a break right now. And I simply must turn it off when I start feeling something that many older people/women may feel. A fear or suspicion of being taken advantage of because of our age or vulnerability and, for myself, somehow I miss certain details in my life, or life appears to be going faster than ever before. Someone can show me how I am missing an important/obvious point or fool me. Perhaps it is about control?

So, yes, in a way I resent being used by" the blogger we know as Nora." But she/he is trying out a style and technique for future publication. She admits to this. Who better to pass off her fictional narrator and characters than other older women? If it can get past Time Goes By, then perhaps, it can read authentically in the larger world?
Writing research happens all the time.

Feeling a bit used by it?
Try watching, "Falling" then see how you feel!

Nora is real. Because real people are sometimes put out, smug, not always pleased with other's behavior. There is much more to be suspicious about when a blogger is always upbeat and having a generous, gracious, jolly good time. Nora is proof that life is funny, entertaining, and consistently reminds us that there is something to be found in simple things. As for me, I knew she was authentic the day she wanted the last piece of carrot cake. You can't get more "real" than that.

If "real" is what a reader wants, there is no reason to even discuss Nora's passions, age, perspective, purpose. I ponder it, but I don't have a clue why some would feel that this should all be investigated. Makes me think a grand discussion could arise about authenticity if some of us let readers know we have fake teeth, fake breasts, fake eye-lenses, a prosthesis, and some kind of uncommon way of processing the world.

The discussion of this issue has been most interesting. Here is my take
1) Ronni need answer to no one regarding her blog roll
2) Nora is writing a faux blog - a novel in blog form
3) The line between reality and fiction is already vague. As some have pointed out, we get more real news on the comedy shows than the news shows. We have to be discerning. That's why I particularly found this comment section helpful. It reminded me think about what I think.

To Nora Naysayers:

Many here are quick to convict Nora as a fraud, but not one of you knows. It's all speculation.

What if - just. what. if - Nora is everything she says she is and you later find out that to be so?

What will you say to Nora then?

Good question, Jessie. I would say to Nora that she sounds more like a novelist than a blogger. Not exactly a slur.

Most of the comments regarding this issue seemed to think that Nora is just what she says she is, an elder writing about her experiences in a new place, and have said how much they enjoyed what she has to say. In fact, I think Nora would probably find this whole thread quite interesting, since she is obviously a student of Life.

Opinions, stated with respect and in the spirt of goodwil, are part of the joy of the blog world.

I just had a very heated discussion with some people who think that bloggers are either perverts trolling for victims or unscrupulous tricksters who create a persona just to deceive readers. Their minds were closed to the fact that bloggers are writers.

If you don't like somebody's newspaper column, you don't read it. If you don't like a certain book, you don't buy it. If a blog is fun for me to read, I bookmark it. If not, I don't. This is a hobby...an extracurricular...nobody's making you read something you don't enjoy. I can't imagine holding a blogger responsible for the content of the blogs on their blogroll. They are just suggestions, people! If I recommend the cauliflower and you don't like it, am I responsible for the way it tastes??

To answer Jessie's question here...If Nora was for real, I'd certainly have nothing to feel bad about saying. So I have to agree with what Sharry said here. Nobody's being rude or mean. But we certainly have a right to DOUBT and to question. This country should have done a lot more questioning a few years ago.
My blog today actually features the infamous "Nora" and back to Jessie's question.....IF Nora is real, then I say Nora Girl.....you need to be out there beating the pavement for an agent and share your retirement days with more readers.

If you really did find a working formula that made you, say $1,000 a week online on average and it kept producing income no matter what, would you want to sell that idea to a bunch of noobs for $47 a pop and expect to retire on the proceeds? No way, man! It does not compute. It does not add up. And it does not make any sense to do that. I certainly don’t go shouting from the rooftops how I make my money online. Hell, I don’t want the competition taking a slice of my pie and neither would anyone who really does make good cash online.

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