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Karen Bayly

Author and Copywriter

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Invisible Me

This month, I was going to write about why I prefer genre fiction to literary fiction, but I’ve become so invisible lately, I can’t see the point.

StunningArt / shutterstock.com

This invisibility is something women experience as they age. It seems to apply more to the average woman rather those who have already achieved some fame. For example, Jane Goodall and Oprah Winfrey continue to command attention despite their advancing years. Although, I am merely guessing this as I don’t know any famous older females. Perhaps they feel more invisible than they did when younger. Maybe the two I mentioned are exceptions.

These days, I’m overlooked for many things. Jobs, relationships, friendships - and marketing. Despite happily promoting other people on social media, the reverse rarely happens. I get pushed to the background or just plain ignored. This has happened on more that one occasion in my writing career. If it was just once, I’d brush it off. But when it happens multiple times, you realise something else is at play.

I have considered asking why, but don’t like my chances of getting an honest answer. Few literary folk will say, “We didn’t use your photos because you’re too old / not artsy enough / not good enough”. Unlike the acting business - I’ve been told all those things in my thespian past!

Worse still is that I’m not comfortable saying much about it. I am cursed with the name Karen, and in that age group referred to as the baby boomers (although for many younger people, boomer seems to refer to anyone over 30). Apparently, neither Karens nor boomers have any right to an opinion. They should just shut up, no matter how different they are from those stereotypes.

Anyway, I’m not the first older woman trapped in a cloak of invisibility. I won’t be the last. However, I no longer believe my voice is welcome in the world outside my fiction. I am running out of things to write for blogs and newsletters. So I am taking a hiatus of sorts. Rather than writing monthly, I’ll just write when I have something to say.

No idea when that will be.

GOOD NEWS!

My work is part of an online art and writing event called “Arcana”. It’s usually held in Munich in a gallery - but not this year, thanks to Covid. The show is based around the Major Arcana of the Tarot. Twenty-two artists and the same number of writers are randomly assigned a card to spark their creative vision. I received “The Moon”. You can read (or listen) to my story “Hekate’s Daughter” here. Scroll down - it's toward the end.

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