Retiring Minds

Susan Thurin, friends collaborate to create retirement book

Molly Wendtland |

Not many people have read a humorous anecdote about a colonoscopy. Editor and writer Susan Thurin, however, has included one in her recently released book, Retiring Minds: Life After Work, a collection of stories about retirement. Thurin, a retired English professor from UW-Stout, says she was going through a difficult time several years ago, and wanted a project to occupy her mind. “I thought of this idea to get friends get together this book on retirement,” she says. Thurin wanted to create a space for active seniors to relate and find humor in their new adventures. “It’s sort of a gift item for people who are retiring,” she says.

Over the course of three years, Thurin put together a compilation of stories from 20 retired friends, more than half of them fellow professors. She says her favorite part of the project was hearing the stories. Even now, she nearly loses her breath laughing at some of the more comical accounts, such as the story of a man going for his doctor visit and being pointed toward open heart surgery rather than a colonoscopy due to slight misuse of medical terminology. Many of the other stories are reflective or motivational.

Of course, as an English professor with years of experience in critiquing written pieces, Thurin takes satisfaction in the structural, behind-the-scenes work she devoted to the book. “I enjoyed the technical part and doing the editing and mechanics,” she says. Although many of her contributors had been English professors themselves, she says she encountered only positive feedback regarding her edits, and jokes that they were more welcoming of her advice than many of her former students.

While Retiring Minds: Life After Work may hold greatest appeal to those who are retiring or already retired, Thurin says the book is entertaining and meaningful for all adults. “Everybody who has read it has enjoyed it,” she says.

Retiring Minds is available at Crossroad Books, 301 S. Barstow St., and Bookends, 214 Main St. E, Menomonie. Learn more at