Ferron: On Ageing, Acceptance, and the Granny Drug (Part 3)

Here’s part three of an interview with Ferron, done from her home in Michigan.

For Part OneFor Part Two) 

What do you think is most important for the last one-third of life?

 I read this book, I think by Krakauer, on survivors. It wasn’t on sexual abuse survivors, but people who were in sailboats that sank, or who went hiking and fell off a mountain, and that stuff. I got out of it that the people who survive are the quickest ones to accept their situation, and not only accept it, but also accept it enough to be able to find some beauty.


I mean, yeah, you’re in a raft, but the person who can still say, Look at that sunrise over there!, has probably got the most chance of survival. So acceptance, I think, is really important for the third act.


I think that we get tired of pretending. In the third act we’re pretty well saying what we feel. But again, we’ve got to have some compassion for other people.

I think people in the third act of life should have more time to do the work of acceptance and not have to work so hard just to stay alive, because whatever we can pull together in our final days is as far as we can go when we leave here. You’d think there would be more honor in that kind of responsibility.

It’s hard. I noticed when I was working with people who were homeless and powerless and cold and bitter. I’m supposed to give them hope, and it’s like well, let’s see, how do you get them back into realizing their spiritual strength or their path when they’re like, Fuck that, I want a burger.


I’m going to focus more on the act of creation, on the act of serving beauty and gratitude. I think I’m going to do three or four workshops this summer, about just making a box, or decorating a this or a that, and feeling it in your heart…and feeling that you’re doing something, that it’s adding.

Fifty-one percent changes a trajectory. You could be the one percent. You don’t have to be 51 percent; you just have to be 1 percent. And I think we do that by exuding gentleness, creativity, and love – and love what we’re doing.


Anything else you want to say about ageing?


 I’m thinking that we need more opportunity to think about it. My partner just came home with a six-by-six-by-six and a half, heavy material-ed greenhouse, that I can put on my side deck. I was very excited today, thinking about little seeds and starting all that. If someone had told me 20 years ago that that’s what I’d be thinking about, excited about, I wouldn’t have believed it, but it puts love in my heart.


Also, lot of women have grandkids now. My partner’s got seven or so; she’s got the granny drug going big time. And somehow that’s the same thing. You get the gift of contributing to the future, with everything you have had in your past. So…that’s all I know about that right now. That’s how we make the present. We get those two things to meet.