About the Author
Miriam Hurdle grew up in Hong Kong where she finished college and worked for several years before coming to the United States. While in Hong Kong, she taught Chinese as a Second Language in Hong Kong Baptist University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She was also the Director of Children’s Department for Asian Outreach where she published four Children’s books.
Miriam came to the United States for her graduate studies and received three master’s degrees in Education, Counseling, and School Administration, and earned the Doctor of Education from La Verne University in California. She was a counselor for two years, then went into education. After teaching in California public school for fifteen years, she was promoted to a school district administrative position which kept her busy for ten years before retirement. The retirement made life easier since she survived a stage IV melanoma cancer.
In her retired life, Miriam enjoys volunteer counseling, reading, writing, blogging, singing, drawing, watercolor painting, gardening, photographing, and traveling. She is married to Lynton Hurdle, has one married daughter, and one granddaughter who turns one-year-old on September 28, 2018
Miriam loves writing poetry. Some of her poems have appeared in four anthologies: Letter to Gaia, Whispers & Echoes Issue 2, Whispers & Echoes Issue 3, and Outcast & More Words.
More About Miriam from the Interviews
April 25, 2019 – The Indie Showcase by Richard Dockett
“Today The Showcase features a poet which is a first for the site, please welcome Miriam Hurdle.”
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Thank you, Richard for featuring me on your website to introduce myself today.
I grew up in Hong Kong where I spent my childhood, college and early career years. My dad made a great impact on me for my love of reading. He read every single day until he had a stroke at eighty-four years old. When I was at the fourth-grade, I read my dad’s newspaper. We traded sections to read. I read the horrible news describing the details of crime scenes, read adult fantasy, comic strips and the Sunday children’s section. In elementary school, my favorite literature was Aesop’s Fables. I read each story with the anticipation of learning the moral of the story. This literature has influenced my attitude toward life, my thinking and writing.
I wrote a diary as a teenager. The lessons in Aesop’s Fables weaved into the diary and I wrote what I thought of the events more so than what happened. As far as writing skills, I remember in the upper grades of elementary school, we learned how to write a story with an opening, middle, climax and ending.
After college, I worked as a Director of Children’s Department in a literature company. My job was writing children’s magazine. I worked closely with the illustrators in the Art Department. In fact, I recruited my artist. When I taught Chinese as a Second Language at the Baptist University of Hong Kong, he worked there also and sometimes wrote me notes at the end of the day, signed it and drew a little cartoon next to his signature. I liked his art so when I changed job, I remembered him. The comic strips I read in my early years helped me to communicate with the artists how I wanted to illustrate the stories in the magazine. The experience I had on this job also helped me to layout and illustrate my first poetry book forty years later.
I came to the U.S. for the graduate studies. I got three master’s degrees, then started working as a counselor for two years, and a teacher for fifteen years. Then I went back to school to get my Doctor in Education and was promoted to a school district administrative position. I took retirement in 2010, earlier than anticipated because of recovering from a stage IV cancer.
A friend introduced me to blogging, and I created my blog in 2011. I wrote twelve posts from 2011 to 2014. My blogging didn’t take off until July 2016. At that time, I was to write about my cancer and recovery experiences. It has become further and wider than expected. I have been writing short memoir, poetry, short stories, flash fiction, family stories, travel journey and post photography.
When I gained energy during the recuperation, I joined several writing and publishing groups. The Publishing group has retired professionals help each other publish. Being around the writers and volunteer helpers was an encouragement for me to publish the first Book, Songs of Heartstrings–Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude published in October 2018.
Prior to publishing the first book, I spent a year to explore the traditional and self-publishing. The initial contact of traditional publishing discouraged me with the price they charge and their control of the book. I then purchased a self-publishing instruction package for $395 to learn the basics from writing, formatting, publishing to marketing. By the time I prepared to publish the poetry collection as my first book, I could do formatting, insert photos, design the book cover and upload to Kindle Direct Publishing.
I took part in an Anthology publication. My article about the cancer was included in the UNDERSTANDING: An Anthology of True and Significant Life Events, compiled by Stevie Turner, which was published in early April 2019.
“Thank you, Miriam, for a very inspiring post. I hope you all enjoyed it.”
Thank you, Richard!
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February 28, 2019 – Conversations with Colleen by Colleen Chesebro
Hello everyone! This week I’m thrilled to bring you a new author. Miriam Hurdle participates in my Weekly Poetry Challenge and I often run into her at the Carrot Ranch Literary Community, where she participates in the flash fiction challenges. When I asked her to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE, she got really excited. We all aspire to be successful authors and the best way to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions and learn everything we can along the way.
First, please meet my guest, Miriam Hurdle.
She is passionate about poetry and her favorite poets are Robert Frost with his poems “The Road Not Taken,” and Linda Pastan with her poem “To a Daughter Leaving Home.”
Music has rooted in her life. Being a soloist as a teenager led her to taking voice lessons and to have ongoing singing engagements. She continues to sing soprano in choral groups. Lyrics have a major influence in the natural flow of her melodic writing. She writes memoir in the form of poetry.
She took photos when the films were black and white. Photography is still her enjoyable hobby. Drawing and painting were fun activities as a child. Her favorite was to draw a Japanese girl with big eyes, long hair, small lips and chin. She resumed drawing and watercolor painting several years ago. In her poetry collection, photos and paintings are included to illustrate the poems.
She earned a Doctorate of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California. She makes frequent visits to her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter in Oregon.
Hi, Colleen, thank you for the invitation. I looked forward to this interview.
Hi Miriam. It’s a pleasure to learn more about you. You’ve had a magnificent career in education. When you look back at your past, do you feel accomplished?
Colleen, looking back at the past, I feel content with my accomplishments. I was a vocal soloist as a teenager which led me to take voice lessons. I had ongoing singing engagements. The thought of becoming a professional musician came across my mind but it was not a profession that guaranteed a steady income. Yet, the singing engagement enlarged my social contact and helped me land two respectable jobs when I was in Hong Kong.
After graduated from college, I got a job teaching Chinese as a Second Language at Hong Kong Baptist University. My students went to Hong Kong as medical doctors, professors, military personnel, pastors or priests. While written Chinese is the same, there are over 200 dialects in China. Cantonese is the spoken dialect in Hong Kong and that was the language I taught.
Mandarin became the official spoken language in 2013. Both Cantonese and Mandarin are tonal languages. Cantonese has seven tones and Mandarin has four tones. The same sound in different tones has different meanings. Mā, 媽 means mother, Mǎ 馬 means horse and Mà 罵 means scolding.
A student told a joke of long ago that one language student tried to say, “I like táng rén 唐人 (Chinese people),” but he said it in a different tone and made it like “I like tāng rén劏 人(slaughtering people).”
The symbol above the vowel determines the tone of the word and changes the meaning. To help the students find the right tone, I used the equivalent pitch from a piano. It seemed to help many students. I had an interesting two years of teaching Chinese.
My second job, I was the Director of the children’s department in a Christian Literature Organization. I wrote a correspondence course for a series of four children’s books. The books were aimed at fourth to sixth-grade students. They contained short stories, cartoons, and the retelling of fairy tales such as Pinocchio.
I held student assemblies at city schools to present the books. Students who were interested received the first book, read and answered the questions at the end of each book, mailed the answer sheet to my office and received the next book in the mail. When they finished the four books, my office team held rallies with game booths and slideshows for the students. We asked students to show interest and whether they wanted to join youth groups in their local areas. I believe it is important for young people to associate with healthy groups.
I came to the US for my graduate studies, got three master’s degrees in education, counseling, school administration and a doctorate in education.
The first job I had in southern California was being a rehabilitation counselor to help the recovering mental patients to get back to the job market. I remember one client who was a Vietnam veteran who suffered from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). He said whenever he closed his eyes he saw the buddy lying dead next to him. I loved helping people, but my job ended in two years due to lack of government funding.
My second job was the longest one which I held until my retirement. I taught kindergarten to fourth grade for fifteen years. My pride and joy were in the first year of Kindergarten to have a student come in knowing the alphabet. I provided individualized teaching for her. I had her again in second grade and referred her to the GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) program. She went on to college, and upon graduation, she surprised me with a present of her college sweater shirt.
After fifteen years of teaching, the superintendent promoted me to the school district office as an administrator. My job was to process the testing results of English Learners so that the teachers could tailor the teaching to the targeted students. I also worked with the parents in providing parenting education and in planning the annual parent involvement conference.
I loved my job in education and would have stayed longer. Due to my melanoma cancer in 2008 which resulted in me becoming a full-time in-patient, one-week on, three-weeks off treatment for six months, I was too weak to hold on to my job.
I went back to work for one more year after the treatment to make the most of my retirement. According to the California school retirement system, if the employees have less than twenty-five years of service, the retirement benefit is calculated based on an average of three highest consecutive years of earning. But if they have more than twenty-five years of services, the calculation is based on the highest year of earning. The last year of working was difficult, but I had a lot of help from the office to make it through.
Miriam, I’m so glad you are still here with us. What an experience. So, after all that are you where you want to be in your life?
Yes, I am. It took me several years to recuperate from the harsh bio-chemotherapy. In 2014, I eased into more activities. Currently, I’m doing volunteer counseling, singing in choral groups, taking classes for retirees such as watercolor painting, poetry, and publishing.
It’s my greatest delight that I published my first poetry collection, “Songs of Heartstrings.” The poems reflect different stages in my life and it is storytelling in poetry form. I’ve included two of the watercolor paintings from the book in this interview.
Mirian, you have so many gifts to share with the world. Your paintings are lovely. Does you family support you as a writer?
My daughter was the first one who encouraged me to write my own story. She wanted to know more about my childhood, the jobs I held (in a chronological sequence), what I think, and how I feel. In a word, she wants to know about me. Besides our having a verbal conversation, I wanted to write these experiences and leave a legacy. That means more storytelling is on the way.
My husband has been very supportive during the last two years of my writing and editing. He watches TV with the headphone on so it wouldn’t disturb me.
I also want to thank you, Colleen, for hosting your weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge. I selected several poems written in response to your challenges which found their way into my poetry collection.
You’re so welcome. I’m happy to provide the means for you and other poets to showcase your poetic talents. Thanks for sharing your book with us. ❤
Thank you, Colleen, for having me.
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Author Links and Contacts
Amazon Universal Link: http://smarturl.it/SongsofHeartstrings
Amazon UK Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07K1S47W9
Amazon.com Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07K1S47W9
Contact the Author
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Miriam-Hurdle/e/B07K2MCSVW?ref=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000