‘It’s never too late’ to share your story

By: Jonathan Shead | C&G Newspapers | Published October 30, 2019

 Sylvia Durant, 83, of Farmington Hills, is the author of “A Better Man, Woman & Child” and “Rich Wisdom.”

Sylvia Durant, 83, of Farmington Hills, is the author of “A Better Man, Woman & Child” and “Rich Wisdom.”

Photo by Jonathan Shead

METRO DETROIT — Author Sylvia Durant, 83, of Farmington Hills, knows firsthand that it’s never too late for anyone, especially seniors, to share their stories of wisdom and learning with the world.

Her book “Rich Wisdom,” which she self-published in January, is a testament to that.

“No matter what age you are — I’m 83 and I’m doing this book, (and) I’m doing other things. Do not stop if you are able to get out there,” Durant said.

“I want to point out that I respect the people that are not able to get out, that may have medical concerns or physical concerns. The same message applies. It’s so important that they know they’re just as important as a senior that can get out … not only to themselves, but to their loved ones and the world.”

Prior to becoming an author, Durant worked as a reporter for WDET-FM public radio interviewing celebrities, including Aretha Franklin and Pam Grier. She also worked as a public relations and professional writing consultant for Olga Loizon, the founder of Olga’s Kitchen. She wrote her first poem at the age of 7.

Today, Durant’s professional life consists of being an author and a creative writing consultant.

Durant’s career as an author began back in 2004, when she published a book titled “A Better Man, Woman & Child.”

From there, her journey of sharing wisdom led her to write “Rich Wisdom,” which she worked on off-and-on for four years.

Durant said she purposefully wrote “Rich Wisdom” to be consumed in bite-size chunks. It’s broken up into themes so the reader can directly find wisdom for whatever is personally affecting them. Overall, Durant said, the book carries the message of counting one’s blessings and realizing one’s individual importance and uniqueness in the world.

“There’s always something good you can do, so you can focus on that,” she said. “A lot of seniors my age and older — or younger, for that matter — may be incapacitated, may have a medical condition that may limit them from getting out much … but what they can do in their own home is smile at themselves. They can smile and know that they have air they’re still breathing and are surrounded by loved ones.

“That’s what ‘Rich Wisdom’ is doing. It’s helping people to realize that they’re so important, not only to themselves, but to the people around them and that are looking up to them.”

Sylvia Hubbard, the founder of the Motown Writers Network, said she’s always trying to encourage seniors, especially, to write a book and pass down their individual wisdom.

“There’s a lot of unwritten stories that need to be passed down through generations,” Hubbard said. “A lot of people are not talking anymore. They’re not sharing those past memories that can help other people. I always say, ‘Your message is your message,’ so you don’t need to share those stories, but there is a great need for people to tell those stories that the next generation can learn from.”

Hubbard said seniors telling their stories is not only beneficial as a learning experience for those who are younger, but it can benefit the seniors too. Storytelling is good for the brain, she said. It can help with depression, loneliness and memory retention.

While some seniors might feel overwhelmed by the advancements in technology, Hubbard said those technology improvements have actually made it easier for seniors to sit down and share their stories. With upgrades in voice-to-text technology through Google Docs, seniors can forgo typing and speak their stories into existence.

“Google Voice actually has one of the best programs out there that can even decipher slang and pick up tone better,” she said. “There’s so many things out there now that can help seniors write more. They have great spelling programs. It’s now cheaper to get it edited, printed and published. Without even going out and getting a job, they can make the extra money they need to support themselves.

“To make money from your memories is an awesome benefit.”

Overall, Hubbard echoed Durant’s thoughts that it’s never too late for anyone, especially seniors, to begin sharing their stories.

“I don’t care how old you get — the fact that you’re still living, you’re not done helping other people, because that’s what we’re here to do,” Hubbard said. “Even though it may feel like time has passed, you still have time to teach future generations about what to do and what not to do through storytelling.”