What is your next book about?
I'm calling it Holy Envy after Krister Stendahl, who proposed holy envy as one of his three rules for interfaith understanding. The book will be a classroom memoir, focusing on the teaching of Religion 101 (Religions of the World) at a small college in rural Northeast Georgia. The book's publication has been delayed twice but I have my fingers crossed that April 2019 will be the magic month.
Will you sign a book for me?
Gladly. Just send it to me at Post Office Box 1030, Clarkesville, GA 30523. Be sure to include a self-addressed stamped book mailer along with your instructions to me for signing.
My book club is reading one of your books. Can you meet with us—in person or by phone—to discuss it with us?
Thank you for reading my book. Since I am still a full time writer with a load of extra commitments, I am not able to meet one-on-one with book clubs. If the book you are reading does not have a study guide at the back, you should be able to find a link to one on the Books page of this web site. I hope that what I have written gives you plenty of opportunity to tell your own stories.
My organization has an annual lecture series that I hope you will consider doing. Who handles your speaking engagements?
My calendar is as full as I want it to be for the next couple of years. If your organization works at the edge of spirituality and the arts, is college related, or offers lifelong learning opportunities for people across the spiritual-to-religious-to-interreligious spectrum, write me at email@example.com to tell me more. Even if I cannot come, I'd like to know about it. I do not lead weekend retreats, but I admire people who do.
Your writing has meant a lot to someone I know. Are you available for one-on-one meetings or telephone conversations?
Most of the wisdom I have is already on the page. If there is enough in one of my books to prompt further conversation, then the best idea is to find someone closer to home who can offer ongoing relationship. I would be very happy to think that my writing has provided a bridge for something like that to happen.
I have a new book coming out that I hope you will consider endorsing. Are you willing to take a look at it?
Since everyone I know seems to have written a book lately, the queue stays full. If your book has been accepted for publication and we have known each other since ninth grade, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me more.
I am trying to break into the book business. Can you help me figure out how to do that?
The publishing business has changed so much since I first got into it that I would not know where to begin. In your place, I would subscribe to a publication such as Poets & Writers (which has a link for literary agents) or Writer's Digest. If you are trying to figure out where to send your manuscript, then another good idea is to scour the acknowledgements pages of authors whose work you admire to see if you they mention the names of their editors or agents. Unless you are an extreme introvert, it may also be worth your while to join a local writer's group or scour the web for a workshop you would like to attend. If spiritual writing is your thing, I can recommend Writing for your Life (writingforyourlife.com).
What are you reading right now?
My routine involves a regular rotation of U. S. fiction, international fiction, nonfiction, religion, and poetry, so the answer (in that order) is Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday, The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi, Being A Beast by Charles Foster, Essential Writings by Howard Thurman, and Magdalene by Marie Howe. I think I need to add a classic fiction category since I don't want to give up anything else in order to read Persuasion by Jane Austen, which I somehow missed until now.
What books do you recommend for writers?
This is a little like setting up a blind date, but here are some books I have found helpful for writers of memoir, first person essay, homily, or poem: The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr, Draft No. 4 by John McPhee, Thinking About Memoir by Abigail Thomas, Writing the Sacred Journey by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew, Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, Burn this Book edited by Toni Morrison, Writing--the Sacred Art by Rami Shapiro and Aaron Shapiro, Naming the World and Other Exercises edited by Bret Anthony Johnston; and The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises by Brian Kitelely.
I have a question that ought to be included here but isn't. Where do I send it?
If you have a suggestion for this page, send it to me at email@example.com. Full disclosure: while I read all of the mail I receive, I am no longer able to answer it all. Since I do not expect, on my deathbed, to wish that I had spent more time in front of a computer, I am doing my best to curb my time in front of it now.
“Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it -- every, every minute?”
Thornton Wilder, Our Town