If we're not supposed to dance / Why all this music? --from Gregory Orr's poem "To Be Alive"

This lovely poem by Rumi, as translated by Coleman Barks, says everything I want to say about the possibility of meeting you.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.  I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.

Isn’t that wonderful?

I’d love to speak to your group, wherever you may be in the world.  Sometimes so much more can be said and understood in direct dialogue, don’t you think?  I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have, if you’ll send me a note on my Contact Page.  My promise to you is this: you’ll get an enthusiastic, authentic, honest, fresh, and personable speaker who is prepared and punctual.

Book Club Visits

I’ve met such wonderful people by visiting book clubs.  There’s nothing quite like meeting my readers in person.  Depending on my schedule and travel feasibility, a visit can be scheduled by contacting me on my Contact Page.  The only thing I ask is that all participants buy a copy of Eve.  By doing this, we’ll each be doing the other a favor.

The next best thing (to an in-person visit) is a Skype visit.  It’s free.  It can be set up anywhere in the world as long as you have a free Skype account and a computer.  See Kate Messner’s wonderful description of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Skype visit to her middle graders (along with a list of what you need).  If you’re game, I can help you through the process.  Use the Contact Page to contact me.

Most Popular Workshops/Programs

Although I’ve listed my most popular workshops/programs below, I’d be happy to tailor a talk to a specific audience.  So please ask.  It’s as simple as that.

The Craft of Creative Writing

Transform your writing.  Expand your capacity to tell the story you’re most passionate about.  Quiet the inner voices of fear and self-doubt, so you can speak from your place of deepest authenticity.  Rather than imposing dry technique, The Craft of Creative Writing will encourage you to celebrate your originality.  Only then will you reach the audiences you desire.

What is your daily creative process?
Where do your ideas come from?
How do I find what I’m passionate about?
How do I write to my strengths?
Is it possible to think about the marketing of your book before you start writing?
How do you go about doing research?
Characterization.  What is it, and how do you do it?
Revision.  Help!
How do you find an agent (and should you)?

Each participant’s contribution to the writing world is unique.  There is absolutely no need to manufacture cookie cutter writers.  You’ll emerge with a renewed sense of who you are as a writer—your strengths, your weaknesses—and what’s next.  Each attendee will receive a personal list of handy-dandy books to have on his/her writing (or creative) shelf, as well as lists of resources to complement one’s own writing journey.

Honoring Your Spiritual Journey, No Matter Where It Takes You

Listen to your heart.  Ask necessary and difficult questions of life—whether you are currently practicing a particular faith or whether you have no need for a faith practice.  By “living the questions,” you will be embarking on an extraordinary, and altogether unpredictable, path.  This is both terrifying and exciting.  Embrace the experience.  When you’re in the depths of honest uncertainty, the greatest light can shine in.  Remember Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem?”  There is a crack, a crack in everything /  That’s how the light gets in.

As a child, what were the standard practices or conversations in your family?
What made them true or right for you (or for your family)?
Are they still true or right for you?  Why or why not?
Do you feel like an outcast when asking thought-provoking questions?
Can you speak your truth without difficulty?
Where do you go to feel heard?
How do you differentiate between truth and what feels right?
How do I begin my exploration without feeling condemned before I begin?

It’s difficult to silence the voices that we’ve heard all our lives, to discern what’s true and what’s not.  Fortunately, there’s a solution.  Do you have a little patience, a smidgen of curiosity, and an open mind?  Then Honoring Your Spiritual Journey is for you.  Each attendee will leave with a set of questions and explorations he or she needs answered, along with a plethora of reading suggestions, stemming from all walks of life.

Your Lips Are Moving, But I Can’t Hear You

Have we forgotten how to have animated, yet charitable, interbelief conversations?  The ability to converse with someone who believes differently from you has little to do with who-went-to-what-school or who-has-the-highest-degree.  It has everything to do with listening, rephrasing, and validating the other’s viewpoint.  A little humility doesn’t hurt, either.  Is it possible to say, like Socrates, “The only real wisdom is knowing you know nothing?”

Who makes you angry and why?
What are your emotional triggers and what is your immediate response?
How do you know you’re right?
What are some concrete (and successful) ways you might respond to others?
How do you ask questions that are welcoming and not antagonistic?
What will it take for you to change your mind about an issue?  And can you admit that you have?
Worst case scenario: How might we gently end the conversation with those who don’t agree to be charitable?

Civility can exist in the middle of the strongest disagreements over the most difficult issues.  Are you starved for fresh, insightful, engaging conversation?  Then Your Lips Are Moving, But I Can’t Hear You will give you personal tips on how to engage in meaningful conversation and how to redirect a conversation gone awry.  We need every thread of thought to change the world.  Each attendee will leave with a set of ground rules to incorporate in his or her interbelief discussions—whether those conversations are occurring in person or through a media outlet or in specific discussion groups.

To express your interest in any of these topics (or another), or to simply begin a conversation, please contact me via my Contact Page.