I will very soon be 86. A young man once wrote – or rather sent an email – to me asking about the magazine Kyk-Over-Al, which I used to edit once upon a time. He pointed out, with brutal frankness, that I had failed to keep Kyk going and that the cultural torch I had tried to uphold was now flickering low. The young man reminded me, cruelly but correctly: “The fact is, Mr. McDonald, you are mellowing….. The fate of the Guyanese writer is the fate of all old soldiers: they don’t die, they just fade away. You are going gently into the good evening of your life. You have lost the fire in your belly. What has happened to the poet-warrior, Ian?” That message was sent years ago.
The young man was right. The creative fire dims with age, the abundant and easily renewable energy needed to get things done promptly and efficiently slows and slackens. And so now on the brink of the 87th year of this extraordinary adventure, I again take God to task for spoiling his fundamentally sound conception of the living man with the terrible defect of growing old. That is like a workman creating a masterpiece only to introduce a deliberate flaw into his masterly design to satisfy some perverse quirk in his personality…..