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Panelists:
Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes, 'Tis, and Teacher Man
Poet Nikki Giovanni, author of On My Journey Now and Acolytes
Larry Gelbart, producer/comedy writer. M*A*S*H/Tootsie

Alan Rosenberg:  We're all lucky--we all have careers that kind of are right in line with our passions.  I don't think any of us are considering retiring.  Are you?

Nikki Giovanni:  Ah, you don't retire from being a writer.    

Frank McCourt:  No you don't.

Nikki:  You just continue to write, and eventually nobody buys your books, and so, you know, it doesn't bother you.  I think, you know, I think about someone like Ella Fitzgerald, for example.  I'm a big jazz fan, and Miss Fitzgerald reached her peak at 50 with "Live at the Opera House" and her live albums.  It's just never, you know, that was a peak point.  And I think about my own work, and I think that I'm, I'm not particularly peaking, but I'm learning so much more and, I'm so less concerned.  It's wonderful to be able to just wake up in the morning and follow your heart.

Larry Gelbart:  I think part of the reason we're blessed is that we get to keep beginning--everything we do is new for us.  I think if we think of what we call "retirement" as really kind of a time to retune, you know?  To get in touch with those parts of you that are so curious, that are still interested, that are still adventurous, that are still passionate.

Alan: We're lucky.  We do have the resources to kind of follow our dreams and our passions.

Frank:  In a sense I envy the Nikkis and the Larrys of the world who developed over these years.  I'm a newcomer.  I was a teacher.  That's how I was identified for 30 years.  I had to start all over again, and I think this is what we're faced with in this society, people who are engaged with that awful thing called "retirement."  Because it's an adjustment.  It's like getting married.  It's like having a death in the family. You have to adjust to it and you have to manage it.  Now you reach 60, 62, you can get social security, and then you look along the long vista of longevity, down to the grave at 95.  "What the hell am I gonna do with myself?!"  Well, you'd better find something to do, or else you'll be thinking about your operations and your sutures and your procedures and your constipation.