I started off being just another East Yorkshire Grandmother trying her best to survive in a world that no longer values older people. During my career I had status and people listened to me, valuing my opinions and insight. During my child-rearing years I had status and people listened to my wisdom and experience on raising three children, and helping mothers to breastfeed in a society that had forgotten the art thereof.

Then I retired! It was wonderful having all this time to explore things that I hadn’t previously had time for – art, poetry, writing, the environment and gardening. But I started to notice a strange thing happening. Friends stopped visiting – well people I thought were friends – colleagues and acquaintances linked to work. I slipped off the register in many ways. On surveys and marketing or competition forms, suddenly I was part of a huge age range – 60+. There’s no way that I have the same ideas, values and interests as 70 yr olds, let along 80 and 90 years olds – but there I was lumped in this huge group of after thoughts. I noticed a lack of adverts on TV aimed at my age range;  novels and drama either ignored us older women or made us into victims and comedy extras, or gave us illnesses and dementia; someone for the hero or heroine to ‘mother’ or ‘pity’. I no longer fitted into any fashion group unless you count twin sets and Crimplene or elasticated trews. I am single and on singles sites and dating agencies, men were no longer interested in me – even 70 and 80 yr olds wanted bright, slim, young things. I was becoming INVISIBLE.

I became more angry than I’d been since I was part of the feminist and anti-cruise, anti-whaling (etc) campaigns of my youth. As I got angrier I became determined to resist this invisibility. I started to dress more radically, painted my nails, grew my hair and got … tattoos. I became my alter ego Elven Stardancer – a woman who wouldn’t go quietly into the night. Now I write my thoughts through my blog, my stories and my poetry; paint them in journal art and watercolours; ink them into my body (hence the title – Just another Canvas).

One of my latest projects is organising a conference on anti-aging for September 2014 where I will promote nutrition, exercises for mind, body and spirit, meditation, self image and inspiring attitudes in order to Add Value to Age. the conference will gather the views of older women on how they are, and want to be, treated in the 21st century – these I’ll send to parliament via my MP if she is willing.

All of these experiences, and more, are the raison d’etre for my website.

I hope more women will join me until we grow into a force to be reckoned with.

Since beginning this blog I have started to explore my own psyche and spirituality through the medium of meditation, and journaling. The process is throwing up some very interesting insights, and not unexpectedly, I am feeling more relaxed, more confident, more settled in my skin. Meditation is something I want to explore more of, perhaps research and write a book, with experiences and my own created visualisations.

I have recently set up a group to explore Happiness co-leading it with a friend, a kindred spirit who practices and teaches yoga. On which topic (yoga) I have also recently renewed acquaintance – it is gently but effectively helping my on going and endless pain due to hyper-mobility syndrome.

Meanwhile Elven Stardancer enjoys reading – particularly, but not exclusively, science fiction and fantasy but ESPECIALLY my beloved Lord of the Rings which I first read in 1966 when I was 15, and since – more than a dozen times, at least; writing – stories (including a children’s novel in the process), poetry (several published), life-writing including this website and my own meditations for a group I occasionally run; art – watercolour (not so good yet, but improving) and journal art (addicted); gardening – I’m turning my tiny urban garden into a wildlife and free food, sensory haven; the cinema – some of my fave films are Jurassic Park (1), Lord of the Rings (all 3), the Hobbit (so far 2), Kingdom of Heaven, Love Actually, Under the Tuscan Sun, A New York Winter’s Tale; and my biggest love of all is – Doctor Who – my hero since it started in 1963 when I was 12 (not so sure about the forthcoming 12th {13th/14th} incarnation though – my faves being Matt Smith, he had a brilliant combination of youthfulness and manic enthusiasm yet managed to convey deep, weary age; then David {DW10} then Peter {DW5} then Tom {DW4}). I have an eclectic musical taste from folk music to indie from film scores and classic to rock and blues.

I have three very special grown up children and four fabulous grandchildren – 3 boys and a girl (who share my love of reading & art; Doctor Who & Tolkien).

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… and why Elven Stardancer? Elven because of my obsession with Tolkien, and Stardancer because of a book I once read by Spider Robinson called Stardance. I just loved the idea of dancing amongst the stars – the ultimate freedom. Stardancer also links, vaguely, to Doctor Who, I suppose. Stardancer with a starburst design was the first tattoo I got when I was 61 (not quite making ‘get a tattoo before I’m 60’ on my bucket list) – see elsewhere on my site.

Note: All art work on the site – poems, paintings, journal art, stories (if I ever get to post them) etc are mine unless specifically named.

To read more of my thoughts on exploring expectations of femininity, spirituality, life, the universe and anything (to misquote) in the 21st century:  go to Just Another Canvas

To read about: Journal Art

To read my growing poetry anthology: Mythhumbrian Dreams

To read: Stories from my Soul

To visit my therapy site: Lavender Fields Therapies

Buy my artwork on Folksy.com; go to Art then scroll through the watercolour paintings or prices (mine tend to be £15-20 or £40). You can’t seem to search by artist’s name.

To read more of my poetry go to sister site Many Souls … in ‘creative words’ … on many Souls one Heart

To read words by another writer similarly interested in nature, connections, aging, life, the universe … go to Heather Gordon-Young’s site

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