Seattle-based Writer, Author, Poet, Writing Teacher

Greetings and welcome. Dancing with the Muse in Old Age is coming out on November 8, 2022. It is a book about thriving in old age! Launch on Eventbrite (Elliott Bay Books): November 15.

Dancing with the Muse in Old Age
By Priscilla Long
Epicenter/Coffeetown Press
ISBN 9781684920204 (trade paper)
ISBN 9781684920211 (e-book)
perfect bound, 210 pages
$15.95

Dancing with the Muse in Old Age is a book about thriving in old age. While focusing on creative engagement, it is for everyone who is aging. It reflects the new ways of looking at old age as a potentially dynamic, happy, and productive time. It reviews the science on aging that shows that negative views of aging can actually cause decline. The book opposes ageism and reports the evidence that old age can be a time of great happiness. It challenges the widespread notion that “peak ages of creativity” are 39 to 42. It challenges the notion that the burgeoning number of elders, the so-called “gray tsunami,” will drag down the economy (in fact, we are holding up the economy). A chapter titled “Brilliant Old Brains” provides lifestyle guidelines that do not guarantee but do influence your chances of growing into a deeply satisfying old age. The book explores the old-age time of life of more than one-hundred dynamic elders—mostly but not entirely creators in the arts, both well-known and little known, both able-bodied and disabled. Their inspiring stories model for us all how to live in old age. The sections, “Composing Our Lives: Old Age” at the end of each chapter will help readers consider and better plan for a satisfying old age.

This is a splendid, deeply researched, and much needed book. —Bethany Reid, poet, author of Sparrow: Poems, My Body My House, and You Are Very Upset.

You’re still writing?” is a question I get more frequently the closer I slide toward 80.  “And making films too?”  Not only that, I want to boast my most recent book was published by a major company and our latest documentary will be on PBS in a few months. Now comes Dancing with the Muse in Old Age, a richly documented book that spouts everything I want to say—and brilliantly.  Priscilla Long not only says we can be creative as we reach whatever age might be our last, but we may be producing our finest, most brilliant work. —Gay Courter, NYT bestselling author of The Midwife, Code Ezra, and Quarantine!


Priscilla Long is a writer of poetry, essays, creative nonfictions, fictions, science, and history. She has an MFA degree from the University of Washington and teaches writing.

Her guide to writing is The Writer’s Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life. Her books of poems are Holy Magic (MoonPath Press, 2020) and Crossing Over: Poems (University of New Mexico Press, 2015). Her collection of linked literary nonfictions is Fire and Stone: Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (University of Georgia Press). Her handbook for artists of all kinds is Minding the Muse: A Handbook for Painters, Composers, Writers, and Other Creators. Her scholarly history book is Where the Sun Never Shines: A History of America’s Bloody Coal Industry.

She wrote an every-Wednesday column at The American Scholar website titled Science Frictions. The complete set of 92 pieces on everything from Saturn to salt may be found here: http://theamericanscholar.org/the-complete-science-frictions/

Priscilla serves as Founding and Consulting Editor of HistoryLink.org, the online encyclopedia of Washington state history, www.historylink.org/