The Strange Surprising Deeds of Daniel Defoe at LaterBloomer.com

On the night of November 24, the winter wind turned murderous. It toppled walls and sent the Thames raging into cellars.

Within 48 hours, it mutated into the worst storm in England’s history.

Coastal towns were “torn to pieces.” James Baker of Lymington heard that, in New Forest, “4000 trees were torn up by the roots.”

James King of London reported that a chimney came down upon a sleeping woman, who somehow walked away. Yet in Wells, the bishop’s wife was “found smothered in bed.”

By the time the storm subsided, it had killed over 8,000 people.

“No pen could describe it, nor tongue express it, nor thought conceive it unless by one in the extremity of it,” wrote an author who barely survived the collapse of his study.

This disaster sounds like it occurred last year, but it took place in 1703. By documenting it, Daniel, the fortunate author quoted above, gave the world its first piece of long-form literary journalism.

At age 42, he was a recent inmate of Newgate. But The Storm wasn’t his greatest late-blooming triumph.

After his release from prison, he went by the surname Defoe. {Read on—>}

Kathy Pooler: Memoir as a Tool for Transformation at LaterBloomer.com

 “..ordinariness, when imbued with mindfulness, is greatness at ease with itself…” ~Lorraine Ash, Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life (2014)

We all have a book inside of us—a narrative about who we are and where we fit into the world. For those of us who wish to put our stories into words for touching and inspiring others, writing a memoir can be a tool for transformation.

Sometimes our narratives or the perception of them are shaken by life experiences and we are forced to reframe how we view ourself and our place in the world.

That’s why it’s difficult to know our stories until we’ve lived our lives more fully. There are always exceptions, but how many of us have stories like Malala Yousafzai (the Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban for wanting an education)? {Read on—>}

The Archaeological Exploits of Agatha Christie

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In her 40s, after a mysterious disappearance, a divorce, and a breakdown, Agatha Christie found true love and became an archaeologist.

How Leo Fender Found His Groove

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He’s been called “The Henry Ford of electric guitar.” But this late-blooming rock innovator didn’t even know how to play an instrument!

Telling Life’s Stories: Four Late-Blooming Personal Historians by Lynne Strang

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While people of all ages become personal historians, many are in the second halves of their lives. As their awareness of time’s fleeting nature increases, so does an interest in capturing and preserving life memories.

The Late Bloomer and The Cat Who Could Read Backwards

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At age 52, Lilian Jackson Braun published her first novel featuring a feline gumshoe. But her fourth was rejected it didn’t contain sex and violence.

Julia Margaret Cameron on Failing in the Dark

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At age 48, Julia Margaret Cameron taught herself to use a new invention, the camera. Photographers still admire her images, many of which have changed the way we view the medium.

The Imaginary Landscapes of Henri Rousseau

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After decades as a customs inspector, Henri Rousseau picked up a brush and taught himself to paint. He submitted his work to the official Salon, but they rejected him for lack of skill. Rousseau refused to give up.

From Richard Adams: Clean Air and A Classic Tale

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Watership Down may have started as a way to entertain two little girls on a car trip, but it made author Richard Adams a literary sensation at 53.

The Mystical Midlife Adventures of Alexandra David-Néel

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In 1924, at age 56, a genteel Frenchwoman disguised as a peasant hiked through the Himalayas to become the first Western woman into Tibet’s forbidden city, Lhasa.