From the Booking Desk:
I have always said, if you go to crime fiction conventions – or any convention really – make the effort to volunteer. It is during those moments when you are giving back to the community you love that you will truly find *your people*. This is how I first met today’s Composite Sketch participant. I was then formally introduced to him by none other than Judy Bobalik and I now look forward to catching up with him at every Bouchercon I attend. This is a man with a wicked sense of humor and enough heart to fill a thousand rooms. I just know you all will love these answers to start your Friday right!
Name: John Purcell
Location: Harrisburg, PA
This person from my personal life is such an inspiration:
Our daughter. She was born with congenital problems including heart defects, which required a lot of medical intervention over the years. As a result, she also reached milestones later than her peers. But she never got discouraged, or complained, or lost hope. Always being poked, and prodded, and stuck with stuff, and cut open and medicated, with never a complaint. Learning to ride a bike, she tried, and tried, and never gave up, until she mastered it. Everything she does, if she wants it, she does it. If she doesn’t, forget it. But if she puts her mind to it, she succeeds. She’s been plugging away at learning how to knit as I type this, and I know I’ll have a new scarf soon.
She’s 34 now, and still going strong. She’s our inspiration.
One of the people I admire most in the crime fiction community is:
Well, not one, but two. A couple. Married. Probably already mentioned by many people in this series. You’ve already guessed? OK. Jon and Ruth. Need I give you their last names?
I first encountered them online, in Rec.Arts.Mystery, a newsgroup, as “No Doze and No Dozette”, back in about, well, let’s say Y2K territory. Met them in real life in Las Vegas in 2003, and at many Bouchercons thereafter. I watched them run at least three Bouchercons in some combination with others, and I’ve watched them also run their own local crime fiction convention (Murder and Mayhem in Milwaukee), a crime fiction magazine (Crimespree Magazine) and numerous and sundry miscellaneous projects, all with unflagging energy and devotion to the community, winning awards and accolades in the process. I like to contribute myself occasionally, but, damn! I don’t have their stamina. They even have a cookbook! I don’t know how they do it. Coffee? Maybe. Reciprocated love? Yes, lots of that.
There are a lot of people in this business I admire, but Jon and Ruth are at the top.
STALKER ALERT! If this fictional character were real, they would likely need to get a restraining order against me:
I’ve always possessed a perfectly plausible penchant for the protagonists’ pets in the publications I peruse. (Phew!). I can’t say I’d need a restraining order, because cats make me sneeze, but anyone who names their cat “Robert Johnson” is good with me. That would be Tres Navarre in the Rick Riordan books. I wish he wrote more, but he got big and famous with his Percy Jackson YA books, and I don’t blame him for not writing about Tres or Robert Johnson anymore. Still…
People are always surprised that I am a fan of this individual (singer, actor, or artist):
I consider Garry Trudeau, the creator of the Doonesbury comic strip, an artist. I’ve read his strip religiously since I was in college in Boston in 1972. He’s created an alternate reality to provide ongoing commentary of daily life, and it always hits home, from the Vietnam War through Trump. I know all of the characters, who have grown with me through the years. The most recent Sunday (2/16/20) panel has Mike Doonesbury with hearing and vision problems, and is a case in point I can empathize with. Then there is Zonker as a gold-medal tanning champion then cannabis entrepreneur; Joanie, the single mom becoming a lawyer, later a Senate staffer; Duke, as Ambassador to China with his Chinese sidekick, Honey; Mark Slackmeyer as NPR radio host who confronts coming out of the closet. It’s so timely and real. I’ve written letters to the editor when the local paper refused to publish the strip during Roland Hedley’s trip through Reagan’s brain, and I won a t-shirt from Trudeau himself as a runner-up in a contest to write the dialogue to one of his strips. I still have it around here somewhere. And his politics have always mirrored mine.
I’m a lifelong fan.
My personal catch phrase is (or should be):
The purpose of Time is to keep everything from happening at once…
It’s not working…
I try to take one day at a time. Lately, several days have attacked me at once. (And work this week is proving both your quote and mine true.)
Your daughter is amazing!
I love this human and wish he’d visit those WI. People more!
Brilliant! Such a good post. John is a wonderful guy!