I’ve missed you. Have you missed me?
I’ve been trying to write for the past couple of months but I haven’t been able to. It isn’t writer’s block. I know what that feels like and I know the remedy for that. It isn’t that. I’m still sussing what’s been holding me back from engaging in something that is so important to me — writing. Writing about our travels through the life course. Something which gives my life meaning, which actually keeps me alive. I have some ideas about what’s getting in my way but, as I said, I’m still sussing.
Don’t fret, though, because I have been doing other Gero-Punk stuff. I’m happy to report that I convened the first ever Gero-Punk Salon this past Thursday evening. Twenty fine-folks covering an age-range of 7o years (the youngest participant was in her 20s, the oldest in her 90s), and representing other positionalities and life experiences, gathered with open hearts and curious minds to be mutually entertained and educated, in the grand tradition of the salon.
The question I posted for our first salon was: What kind of ancestor do you want to be?
This question inspired a wide-ranging and quite beautiful discussion about legacy, history, memory, heritage, indigenous knowledge, wisdom, hope, despair, discrimination, closed-mindedness, open-mindedness, generational patterns, resistance and cross-generational collaboration and activism.
I invited participants to capture any thoughts that emerged from our discussion, as well as ideas for future salons. Here’s the collage of what they offered:
If you were going to come to our next Gero-Punk Salon, what would you like to converse about? What’s on your minds?
About Jenny Sasser, Ph.D.
I am a freelance educational gerontologist, writer, community activist and facilitator.
I am former Chair of the Department of Human Sciences and Director of Gerontology at Marylhurst University. I joined the faculty as an adjunct member of the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program in 1997 and since that time, I've been involved in designing many on-campus and web-based courses and programs for adult learners, including in Gerontology. As an undergraduate I attended Willamette University, graduating Cum Laude in Psychology and Music; my interdisciplinary graduate studies at University of Oregon and Oregon State University focused on the Human Sciences, with specialization areas in adult development and aging, women’s studies, and critical social theory and alternative research methodologies. My dissertation became part of a book published in 1996 and co-authored with Dr. Janet Lee--Blood Stories: Menarche and the Politics of the Female Body in Contemporary US Society. Over the past twenty (or more!) years I have been involved in inquiry in the areas of creativity in later life; older women's embodiment; sexuality and aging; critical Gerontological theory; transformational adult learning practices; and inter-generational friendships and cross-generational collaborative inquiry.
I am co-author, with Dr. Harry R. Moody of Aging: Concepts and Controversies (now in its 10th edition!) and first author, also with Moody, of the recently published Gerontology: The Basics, as well as author/co-author of several book chapters, articles and essays.
I am on the Portland Community College Gerontology Program faculty.