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Was Late Bloomer John Muir the Father of Steampunk? 

April 2019

I'll bet the image above is not the first that comes to mind when you contemplate John Muir.

The beloved naturalist is usually associated with Sequoia National Park and The Sierra Club. 

But it's true. Not only was he a Later Bloomer, some people consider him the Father of Steampunk.  

Muir spent his childhood in poverty and near-servitude to his father's wilderness farm. In order to complete his education, he invented the clockwork desk above.

At 1:00 am, a device rattled his bed and dumped a bucket of water on him. Then, he descended to the freezing cellar where his clockwork desk rotated his school books in order. Each hour, one book closed and another opened.

Algebra, geometry, trigonometry, Shakespeare, and ah! Emerson.

"I gained five hours, almost half a day!” he exulted years later.

I can hardly think of any discovery I ever made that gave birth to joy so transportingly glorious as the possession of these five frosty hours.
At 6:00 am, he went out to work his father's farm. His cleverness eventually led him into engineering.

Until the day one of his machines broke and partially blinded him. 

He vowed if his sight returned, he would "be true to myself" and spend his life observing nature. At age 54, he founded The Sierra Club.

Click here to read more.

April Celebrations

April 2, 1647: Birth of Maria Sybilla Merian. In 1699, more than a century before Darwin explored the Galapagos, Maria voyaged from Amsterdam to South America to study and paint the region's insects. She was 52 years old. READ MORE

April 21, 1838: John Muir was born in Dunbar, Scotland. The beloved environmentalist came to America as a boy and almost lost his sight in an industrial accident at age 29. That set him on a journey to see and save the natural world. He founded The Sierra Club at age 54READ MORE

April 22: It's Janet Evanovich's 75th birthday! She began writing her wildly popular Stephanie Plum mystery series at 51. The New York Times calls her books the "mystery-novel equivalent of comfort food." (Dear NYT: What's wrong with that?) But Forbes lists her among the World's Most Powerful Celebrities. READ MORE 

Did you miss your 2019 Later Bloomer Calendar in January? You can still download it here. Enjoy!

Words from the Wise Ones

"Chances are there every day. Don't give up, and always try something."
—DJ Sumirock

More Proof It's Never Too Late...

Sumiko Iwamuro receiving her DJ certificate

The Japanese Grandma Who Makes Dumplings by Day and DJs at Night

I have no idea how she does it. But the Guinness Book officially named Sumiko Iwamuro, age 84, the World's Oldest DJ. 

By day, she runs a Chinese restaurant in Tokyo. Several nights a month, she gigs at Shinjuku's Dekabar Z. 

After her husband (with whom she cooked for 50 years) passed away, her friend Adrien suggested she give DJing a try. It sounded intriguing so, at age 77, Sumiko enrolled in DJ school and graduated as DJ Sumirock.

Seven years on, she's a master. Often, if she needs to DJ at night, she won't abandon her restaurant. She'll cook through the evening before she turns up for her 1:00 am gig at the club. 

Sumirock loves techno and constantly changes things up, often mixing in anime soundtracks.

Bruce Sterling, Father of Cyberpunk, once said: "Follow your weird, ladies and gentlemen. Forget trying to pass for normal…woo the muse of the odd."

And that, my friends, is the secret to Later Blooming. If a steampunk engineer turned naturalist and a dumpling maker turned DJ don't convince you, nothing will.

Seriously, go for it! You're never too old and it's never too late.

Thanks for reading! I'm Debra Eve, proud late bloomer and possessor of many passions.

At, I've written profiles of more than 80 people in the arts, humanities, and sciences who followed their creative passions later in life. You can also find Later Bloomers on Facebook.

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