Stay Inspired!

JoaniOne of the best vehicles to take you down the road to “Being Ageless” is passion.  Find that passion, your creative juices will flow, and you will be on your way to Agelessness.  And, along the way, never stop learning.

Just recently, I traveled another leg of that journey together with a group of journalists, who over the past several years have become my peeps. We are the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and every year we learn together and play together in a new city. Not the least of my joys every time we gather is meeting new and exciting writing friends.

This year, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists Convention was held in Indianapolis.  I had the time of my life. We stayed at the Alexander Hotel. It was as though we were all living in a museum for the weekend. On every floor there were interesting and fabulously varied pieces of art, done in many different mediums. Even tIndy 2015he parking garage had murals on every floor. You can take a peek at the hotel and see some of the highlights in Suzette Martinez Standring’s great piece. Suzette is NSNC’s past president and a very talented writer.

Columnists in Indiana – What Suzette the Tourist Saw


In order to encourage the bonding that is so important to kindred souls (which is what we are), we meet every night in the hospitality suite. This year the suite had a deck overlooking the city. An added benefit:  You never had to drive home. All you had to do was remember the picture on your floor and someone could get you there.

The commonality between all of us provides a chance to hone our skills and stay inspired. All of the presenters offered us an opportunity to do that, often hilariously. I always come back with something new, something I didn’t possess before.  We are all together in a big think tank. It’s like a brain explosion.

Our keynote speaker on Friday was Mary Schmich, Pulitzer Prize winner (2012), from the Chicago Tribune. Dinner was served and we ate right there in the Indiana State Museum, soaking in its ambiance. Mary was fun and interesting and gave us “25 Writing Rules.” I don’t remember any of them clearly; the wine may have affected my recall. We are promised a copy of them later. You might remember one of her most famous essays that had been given as a commencement speech. Her first instruction to the graduating class was, “Wear sunscreen.” Mary claims to have written that essay while high on M&M’S and black coffee.

A pleasant surprise was Miss Manners, a syndicated columnist and author of eleven books. “Born a perfect lady in an imperfect society,” as she has been described. Miss Manners’ presentation revealed a great gal. Not at all stuffy or perfectionistic. I knew that if I had food on my face (which I sometimes do), she would let me know about it in a very gentle way. And she drank white wine.

A highlight of the event was Bill Foley, photo journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner.  We all toured his exhibit, with Bill Foley himself telling us about the intimacies of his work. You may have seen his work and been touched by his portrayal of the complexities of war, politics, and the human spirit. He captured the last living portrait of Anwar Sadat. He is the first person I have ever asked for an autograph; his work has touched me so.

And, of course we experienced the thrill of the must-see Indianapolis Motor Speedway! All of this has been just a tidbit of an event that was so much more.

Remember, do something for yourself to “stay inspired.”  And, if you write, join us next year in Los Angeles.  The hospitality suite will be open.


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