See Me Perform Live On Stage!

     Yes, friends, I will be performing live! I am thrilled to be part of the cast of “Listen To Your Mother!” What is “Listen To Your Mother?” Well, click here to see what it is all about. http://listentoyourmothershow.com/indianapolis/
     As you can see from their website, I will be reading my own original work on stage, along with thirteen other creative women.
     There are two shows on Sunday, April 27th. For show times, tickets and more details, click here:  https://tickets.indianahistory.org/Info.aspx?EventID=1

     Ticket prices go up after April 14th, so get your tickets now! Hope to see you there!

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Featuring Author Debi Hurt

debi cook book     Today’s Pursuing My Passion spotlight shines brightly on author, Debi Hurt. In addition to creating Pen It! Magazine, she has published five books, including a children’s book and a cookbook. Debi is a wonderful resource for fellow authors, teaching classes, conducting workshops and hosting conferences. She has several exciting projects in the works!

When did you start writing?
     I think I have written since I could write!  My grandmother used to read me stories when I was very small, and eventually I started telling her the story back without even knowing how to read….and I would embellish! LOL.

What is your favorite type genre to write?
    I like to write poetry and children’s books. I like fiction, but I think it is probably the hardest for me to write. Probably because I mainly read non-fiction.

Where does your inspiration come from?
debi3   
I like to sit somewhere where there are lots of people, have a pencil and paper and just listen to conversations. You can get some great inspiration that way. Also, I love the books “The Pocket Muse.” There are two of them and they are awesome!

You organize many workshops and classes. When and why did you decide to help others with their writing?
    
I don’t think I “decided” to help others. It just transpired that way. I have always been a “nurturer” my mom calls it, and I love to help others. Writing is a passion and when I see someone else with that passion, it is my natural inclination to help them. I’m a real “people person.”

You publish PenIt! Magazine and Heritage Magazine. Tell me a bit about them.
    Pen It! Magazine is a bi-month E-Magazine for Writers (and readers alike). It started out as a published magazine, but has since gone to an E-Zine because of the huge expense involved in printing and mailing of magazines. Pen It! Magazine has a wealth of information for writers:  Articles on writing, poetry, short stories, information on local authors’ books, author of the month, and much more. This is our 4th year and I am very proud of it. Since it is now an E-Zine the subscription rate has been significantly decreased from $40.00 a year to $15.00 per year. debi pen it

     The Heritage Magazines are published individually for people who have researched their heritage and want to put it in a magazine-style publication, so that they can share it with relatives. I have done several of these and they are a great keepsake.

What has been your favorite project to work on?
  
I love working on the Workshops/Conferences that I promote. They are fun and I get to meet so many new/upcoming authors and make some lasting friendships. The one I sponsored at The Crump Theatre was really great. It was October, 2012, and we had a great turn-out.

Who are your favorite authors/books?
   
For someone who reads mostly non-fiction, my favorite author is a fiction author:  Jonathan Kellerman. He writes the “Alex Delaware” novels. They are about a psychologist/sleuth! I like them because they are continuing characters. I have been reading his books since the 80s. I am also a big Shakespeare fan! I saw a play when I was 14 (The Taming of the Shrew) through school and I was hooked!

Tell me about the books you’ve written.
 debi donnie dachshund  
The Daring Adventures of Donnie the Dachshund is my children’s book. It is about a little dachshund who thinks he is the “Big Dog on the porch” until his owner brings home a little puppy. I hope to write at least two more books in the series.

     The Quest for Shireman is my young adult to adult novel. It is about a young girl (14), Olivia Shireman. Her father passed away a year ago and on the anniversary of his death, she takes a horrible fall from her horse. She wakes up in another land where she finds that her father may be there, searching for something he lost. She makes wonderful friends and begins her quest to find her father.debi shireman

     Recipes from a Country Cook is my cookbook. They are all my own recipes and are just down-home cookin’ style!

     Ride the Spirit Horse is a collection of my poetry and short stories.

     Writing Creatively is my most recent book. It is a “how to” book on Creative Writing taken from the classes that I teach. I teach creative writing via one-on-one Email classes and have taught at the Mill Race Center in Columbus, Indiana.

What can we expect next from you?
     March 15th I will be doing a Conference on Publishing your book as an E-Book at the Bartholomew County Library in Columbus…and I hope to hold an Authors/Vendors Spring event.

     My sixth book, The White Sofa, will be out some time this year. It is a suspense novel about a young artist who has a nervous breakdown and the psychologist who works to bring her back to sanity.

To find out more about Debi Hurt, the latest Pen It! Magazine contest, and her upcoming events, contact her at: Debih7606@frontier.com.

Copyright © 2014 by Suzanne Purewal

Reflection – The Invisible “VAN”

invisible van     Today’s post was written by my friend and former colleague, Tim Conrad. He periodically sends out reflections to his friends and family via email. I wanted to share this particular reflection with you. It is humorous and insightful. So, with Tim’s permission, I am sharing his entire reflection here. Thank you, Tim!

     Driving into work the other day, I was thinking about something that my wife mentioned to me. She claims that our vehicle, our van in particular, is apparently “invisible” and it seems as though everyone is out to “get us”. You see, no matter where we seem to be going, no matter how fast or how slow, it is as if no one can see us. People are constantly pulling out in front of us, either to get to the other side, to change lanes so they can turn from our side of the highway, or just pull out so as not to be behind us. It feels like we need to tap (or slam) on the brakes to avoid a dented fender (at best) or a smashed front end with potential physical injuries (at worst?) every time. What is it that makes our van so unique?
     So, for the next week or so I became more aware than usual of how other people drive. I really wanted to know if my van was invisible! I was the 2nd vehicle in line at a stoplight and glanced at the driver next to me who was fiddling with his radio, the guy in front of him was watching the cars pass by, and the gal in front of me was putting on lipstick. Across the way a young driver was texting on his cell phone, a mother was yelling at her kids, a woman was putting on make-up, and a guy was shaving with his electric razor. Ok, when you witness 6 drivers out of 7 doing something other than driving, does that scare you? More than a little bit? I actually thought that the purpose of driving was to get you to a destination. To get to work, or to school, the shopping mall, or grocery store, something along those lines, not as something you did while you finished (or started?) some other task! Am I crazy? OK, I reasoned that since I observed this all while at the stoplight, maybe it was just their chance to take advantage of the “idle” time while their car wasn’t in motion. Maybe I was getting worked up over nothing.
     Well, as I was waiting at the stoplights in the days since then, I watched the drivers that were passing by in front of me. Well, imagine my surprise when I saw 2-3 more people trying to text while driving, several on cell phones, one trying to read a newspaper balanced on their steering wheel and even one driver with their visor down trying to put on mascara! YIKES! I will admit I saw more folks watching the road when they were moving versus when they were stopped at the red light, but this was more than disturbing. I was on the verge of a panic attack! Are we all really like that?!? Am I!?!
     It was at that moment that I was reminded of the following comment, “There are only two types of drivers on the road, slow-pokes who need to learn how to drive, and crazy drivers that need to watch their speed.” Of course the slow pokes are ALL of those drivers who drive much slower than we are driving, and the crazy drivers are the ones who drive much faster than we are driving.
     Sure enough, the next day I was running late and everyone seemed to be going 10 miles under the speed limit. I reached for my cell phone to call ahead to let them know I was running late. I hit every red light (or so it seemed) and was always waiting on someone to speed up (if I was behind them), or to slow down (if I was trying to cross traffic in front them). In my mind, they were all “idiot” drivers, if you know what I mean. And then it hit me, here I am being an “idiot” driver too!
     And then another thing hit me. People are not out to “get me”, and my vehicle isn’t “invisible”. People (including me) are worried about our own little world, our own little concerns and what we need to get done before we get to wherever it is we are going. We are not thinking about the others that are on the road, or about their concerns or their over-whelming problems. We are thinking almost 100% about ourselves, our task or mission at that moment in time. That really is it, isn’t it? Nothing more. Nothing less.
     But what if that weren’t the case? What if instead we all took our time to get from point A to point B, and worried about others doing the same? What if we were courteous to the other drivers out there ALL the time? What if we all drove within a few miles of the speed limit? What if all drivers’ eyes were on the road and were D-R-I-V-I-N-G instead of applying make-up with electric cell phone shavers wrapped in newspaper articles? I would imagine that most of the “idiot” drivers would disappear. What if WE personally, you and I, were to start being THAT DRIVER. What if we, when we encountered that “idiot”, would say a prayer for them, that they got to their destination safely, along with their passengers, and did no harm to others on the road? What if we, while saying that prayer, imagined that it was us driving too fast because we had a sick child in the back seat, or were told we would be fired if we weren’t at work within the next 10 minutes? What if we imagined that slow driver as our grandfather or grandmother on the way to the grocery store, or as a person lost looking for the turn that they may have missed? What if we, you and I, started to show compassion for those “idiot” drivers? What if…?
     So the next time you are out driving and you sense that the Holy Spirit is tapping you on the shoulder and you suddenly realize you are driving like a “slow-poke” or a “crazy-driver”, don’t be surprised if you see a guy driving a van who seems to be praying for you. Then again, maybe you won’t see him….
     I hope that together we grow in our faith, we help each other in this ultimate adventure, we strive to overcome all of the evil of the world and in the end we triumph as heroes gaining the ultimate reward, heaven.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Conrad

Creativity is Becoming a Lost Art

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   Here is a phrase you hear daily: “Think outside the box.” Interesting how we, as a society, must be reminded to do just that. Creativity is dying on the vine. And we need to do something about it.
  
Give a toddler a box and watch the child do the following, in no particular order. Hold it up. Fling it around. Flip it over. Look in it. Fall into it. Sit in it. Hide in it or under it. Scoot around in it. Throw it. Kick it. Crush it. And a really persistent child will end up destroying it. This is rudimentary creativity at work. An unspoiled, untrained mind goes in a multitude of directions. The box is not just a box to that child. The possibilities are endless.
  
Give a teenager or an adult that same box. The first question asked: “What do you want me to do with this?” If the question remains unanswered, the person will most likely decide to use it to hold miscellaneous junk or dispose of the box in the nearest recycle bin.
  
Music and art programs are being cut nationwide. And the latest trend of removing handwriting from grammar schools’ curricula is becoming more widespread. That is a travesty—plain and simple. There is nothing more personal or creative than your handwriting. Whether you have neat penmanship or an illegible scrawl, your written words, and more importantly—your signature, represent your true essence. Ask any handwriting expert.
  
But how can we insist that people think outside the box when we no longer provide the tools to accomplish that task? Children and adults alike are glued to computers, televisions and cell phones. We claim we are “connected” and have never been closer. But nothing could be further from the truth. We need to unplug from the electronic world and get back to basics.
  
Creativity springs from the imagination. There is no better way to accomplish this than by using your senses.
   Consider, for instance, the street you walk down every day. You might look or glance at the familiar surroundings. But do you really see what is there?
   Throughout the day, you hear noise all around, but do you
listen to the individual, unique sounds?
   You take a break and lean against a brick wall, but do you
feel its varied texture?
   Rushed for time, you eat a meal in your car, but do you
taste each delectable flavor?
   And as corny as it might sound, when was the last time you stopped to
smell the roses?
  
Great works have been, and will continue to be, produced as a result of what an artist, writer or musician felt, saw, heard, smelled or tasted.
   Think about your senses as you go through the rest of today. Close your eyes. Take a deep cleansing breath. Exhale and expel the tension and negativity. Push aside the age of the Internet and instant gratification. Our minds are becoming numb and dull. Before we know it, so will our souls. And then creativity will be all but lost.
   So, the next time someone hands you a box, what are you going to do with it?
Copyright © 2013 Suzanne Purewal