Random House Speakers Bureau: Laugh & Learn

Saturday, July 17, 2010

One of the most incredible things to happen this year -- besides the fact that Gary was able to get something to stick to our brand new non-stick pan - was my invitation to be a part of the Random House Speakers Bureau, which is billed as "The World's Best Speakers Under One Roof."

Part of my tingly excitement was because I found myself aligned with such literary legends and personal writing heroes as Jay McInerney, Richard Russo, Gay Talese and Lisa See, among many others.

Moreover, I, unlike many authors, am a writer who loves to speak, who adores crowds and Q&A, who enjoys bringing his books, messages and themes to life in front of an audience. I especially enjoy lecturing because I am able to dive more deeply into topics, to relate personally to my audience, to make them laugh and learn. It is a completion of the circle, writing alone to speaking with an audience. Lecturing is a piece of writing to me: It is how I stay whole.

My background is in journalism and public relations, especially educational PR, so I know how to ask and answer a question, work the media and a room. I'm able to connect with kids and adults, faculty and administration. But, now, I'm able to do it in on a much deeper level. And on my own terms.

Over the past year, I have lectured around the country, making audiences laugh and reflect on topics ranging from the writing process, using humor to overcome tragedy, diversity and discrimination, and redefining one's life, at venues such as the Chicago Public Library/Cultural Center, the Wisconsin Book Festival, the Erma Bombeck Humor Writers Conference (the largest humor writers workshop in the nation), the Post and Courier Fall Book and Author Luncheon in Charleston, South Carolina (the largest book event in the Southeast), and numerous private and public colleges and universities.

Some of the topics I speak on include:

-Following Your Dreams

-Taking Risks

-Rural vs. Urban America

-Courage in All Situations

-Humor in Life to Overcome Obstacles

-Weight Loss & Maintenance (I lost over 100 pounds -- pre-Biggest Loser craze -- and have kept it off the only way one can, by meshing the physical with the mental, psychological and spiritual, and working one's rear off every single day and eating the right foods. I am happy. It is the only way to stay healthy.)

-Education (Speaking to public and private school boards, administration and faculty, and parent groups on how to handle difficult parents, and embrace diversity in school administration

-Learning to Understand Your Parents and Grandparents (a large focus of my memoirs)

-Writing (the process, overcoming fear and finding your voice)

If you are a school, college, university, corporation, HRC group, LGBT association, library, company or corporation, I hope you will consider me as a speaker for your organization or institution, and let me show you how laughter can be a magical way to learn.

For more, check out my profile at www.rhspeakers.com ... and scroll to find my name under "Speaker" or under "Category/Humor."

Now, to unstick the non-stick pan ...