Posts with Category This Writer’s Life

Grandma Betty is washing bananas in heaven

Betty holding our son Griffin.

Annie’s grandma, Betty Ludwick, recently passed away. She was 93.

She listened and she loved. She humbly led a life that led others to listen and love. If you spent five minutes with her, you felt like one of her grandchildren. That’s why I was so honored to read the tribute below written by Betty’s three granddaughters at her funeral.

Stephanie, Emily, and Annie did an amazing job writing this. It is touching and funny, and most of all it’s Betty. Even if you weren’t lucky enough to meet her, I think you’ll enjoy it.

In Memory of our Grandma, Betty Ludwick

March 10, 1921-November 13, 2014
By: Stephanie Pfefferkorn, Emily Taylor, and Annie Timmerman

If you knew…

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I met Temple Grandin!

My hair wasn’t brushed, neither were my teeth.

I wondered down zombie-like to the hotel’s continental breakfast. My eyes weren’t really working yet, but it wasn’t hard to discern that Temple Grandin was sitting in the lobby on the phone.

If you aren’t familiar with Temple Grandin, she’s sort of a patron saint of the autism community. Born with autism, Temple has been able to make an impact seeing the world from a different perspective. She was played by Claire Danes in a movie and is a rockstar speaker at events across the country.

SHE IS A BIG DEAL, especially to parents like me with a child on the autism spectrum.

I didn’t want to…

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The Gold Nugget in My Wallet

(This story originally appeared on the blog of the Indiana Authors Award.) 

I carry a gold nugget in my wallet. A slave owner in Burkina Faso gave it to me.

The bus ride that took me from Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, ended at a flooded road and a trip in a tiny dugout canoe where the oarsman joked about crocodiles. From the canoe I got in a taxi that didn’t have brakes. The driver stopped the car using the “Fred Flintstone” method – sticking his foot out the door and dragging it along the road.

We arrived to the town of Poura, Burkina Faso, at dusk. There were no rooms to be had. The proprietor of the town’s only hotel had taken all of the keys with him on vacation. Fortunately,…

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Suit-Wearing Kelsey Says Stupid Things: My Evening at the Indiana Authors Award


The sun poured through the glass walls of the library and made me even more aware of the fact I was wearing a hot and itchy suit.

“Man this suit is hot,” I said to Jessica Brockmole, one of my fellow Emerging author finalists at the Indiana Authors Award. She socially appropriately acknowledged my statement.

And then I went on.

“I don’t normally wear suits. Actually, borrowed this one.” If only I had stopped there. “My suit doesn’t fit any more. I started doing CrossFit about a year ago and my butt got bigger.”

The more dressed up I get, the more socially awkward I become. It’s a law that is as true as gravity to me.

(In a suit at the wedding of a former…

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I’m looking down on Times Square

I was scrolling through Facebook, wasting time, not expecting to see a picture of a picture of me on a Jumbotron in Times Square. Why would I?

But there it was…

“That’s cool,” I thought. “Probably photoshopped, though.”

The Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Author’s Awards had shared the photo. I haven’t officially mentioned it here on my site, but I won the Emerging Author Award. (I should write about that later. It was an awesome evening and honor.) The photo featured Norbert Krapf, the regional award winner, Michael Shelden, the national award winner, and me . . . in a suit . . . a borrowed suit.

I never wear a suit.

I had to ask if this…

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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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