Posts with Category This Writer’s Life

Harper Loves Griffin

Our kids get a bath every night whether they need one or not.

Bath times are extra special at our house. I think that’s why we wash our kids every night.

Our five-year-old daughter, Harper, and our three-year-old son, Griffin, don’t play together much during the course of the day. Griffin has autism and is in “Griffin Land” most of the day.

“I don’t know why Griffy won’t play with me, but I still love him,” Harper said one day, summing up her relationship with her brother.

You try not to compare your kids to other kids. You try. But you do. Watching special sibling bonds develop in other kids and not seeing them in your own is tough.

But bath time is time for Harper…

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1 Book, 1 County, & a Host of Awesome Librarians

 Trying to win the Photo Contest at Wells County Public Library

You can go to West Africa to meet cocoa farmers (although not advisable at the moment with the ebola outbreak). You can write a book about your experience meeting farmers on four continents. But none of this guarantees that your stories will reach the hearts and minds of readers.

For that a little help never hurts.

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Wells County Public Library in Bluffton, Indiana. They used my book WHERE AM I EATING? in their One Book, One County reading program. Basically, they pick a book, get a ton of copies of it for their patrons, and start a community-wide conversation around the book. If…

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Thankful for the Support of Hoosiers

Wells County selected WHERE AM I EATING? for their One Book One County community read program. Tomorrow night I’ll be speaking at the Main Library in Bluffton, Indiana, from 7-8 PM. Here are the details.

The event was made possible by the Indiana Humanities Novel Conversations program. Over the past year I’ve had the chance to interact with Indiana Humanities, The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation, and the Glick family, which supports both programs, and I’m so thankful for all the hard work all of them do.

Indiana Humanities

Indiana Humanities mission is to connect people, open minds and enrich lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk.

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Why academic writing stinks?

Please call me Bachelor Kelsey Timmerman or if you prefer Kelsey Timmerman Bachelor of Arts.

Actually, no one ever calls me that. A BA isn’t as noteworthy as, say, Dr. Evil’s PhD at Evil medical school.

I speak at a lot of universities and have the pleasure of chatting with a lot of really smart professors with PhD’s and Masters. Sometimes for some reason, folks assume that I at least have my masters.

“Where did you go to grad school?” They’ll ask.

My grad school was writing 100,000 words of travel columns cooped up in my Key West attic apartment accessed by a fold out ladder. That’s where and when I learned to write and found my voice.

So, I didn’t learn to…

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Dance Like Everyone is Watching

Harper didn’t know it, but the future of her dance career depended on this one dance. It all came down to 90 seconds of Itsy Bitsy Spider.

She enjoyed the dance practices, but from her first class, she was dreading the recital, which would take place on Muncie’s largest stage — Emens Auditorium — in front of 1,000 people.

I sat in the audience as a nervous dad. The first group of kids came out and one little girl folded her arms and stared at the floor. She was not dancing. Other little kids beamed under the spotlights.

For a girl who was still hesitant to say “hi” to her preschool teacher whom she had known for three years, performing on a stage was going to…

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Fathers actually matter, dammit!


The day I became a father, I felt like I didn’t matter.

Sure there were a few moments of feeling like the tiniest of cogs in a universe of space and time and life and death, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

I mean that I felt invisible at the hospital. I know that I wasn’t one of the patients, but I was a part of this new family, and the the hospital staff acted like I wasn’t there. Family structures are complex today, so I’m sure that nurses rarely assume that someone is the father, but it seems like there should be some inclusion or instructions for the father as well. Some kind of “You Contributed Your DNA, Now be a Dad,” guide…

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CrossFit has me asking, “Can I jump on that?”

I’ve been doing CrossFit now for about a year at The Arsenal in Muncie. One of the many skills that we work on is the box jump.

No mystery here as to what this is. There’s a box and then we jump on top of it, leaving the ground with two feet and then landing on the box with two feet.  You can spot someone who does CrossFit by their scarred shins. (see photo of my shins above four months after I missed).  At some point everyone misses the box.

Most of the time during workouts we jump on 24-inch or 30-inch boxes, but sometimes we go for max height.  I think the highest I’ve done is 36-inches. I’ve never been…

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What my dad taught me about the work of writing

Today I work as a full-time writer. I have no boss. Sure, I answer to the occasional editor and deadline, but on a daily basis it’s just me sitting in a seat writing sentence after sentence. When I look back on what I’ve written, sometimes it’s not good enough and I have to start all over again until I get it right.

Dad wasn’t one to deliver lessons on subject-verb agreement, spelling, or the overuse of adverbs, but when it comes to the work of writing, he taught me everything I needed to know.

I share how and what over at Wasson Nursery’s blog this week.

And an even deeper dive into all that Dad has taught me appeared in Wabash Magazine a few years…

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The Myth of the Writing Space

To write you don’t need a quiet office lined with cherry-scented book shelves, an Aeron Miller chair, a hand-made wooden desk topped with inspirational quotes, or eight hours of uninterrupted silence.

I’ve signed two book contracts in my writing career. After I signed each one, I thought the same thing:

Holy crap! Is that enough time to write a book?

Having the time to write was less important than having a reason to write. Turns out being contractually obligated to write is a very good motivator.

For my first book, WEARING, my editor if I could write the book in four months (all the travels had already been completed); I lied and told him yes. The truth was that I had no idea.

My writing space…

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There is no “next project”

I’ll spend an hour on stage sharing the stories of the factory workers and farmers I’ve met on my travels. Then the question always comes:

“What’s your next project?”

It’s a legitimate question. It’s one that I might ask an author after hearing them speak. But here’s the thing: for me, there is no next project. I feel that having a “next project” implies that I write a book, dust off my hands, and turn my back on that book to focus on the next shiny thing.

I can’t do that. I write about real people with real lives and real families. People who’ve shared their stories with me so I could share them with others.

Some of these stories I’ve told hundreds of times over…

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