I wrote yesterday about some of my early exposure to Amish culture, and I'll write more of that in the weeks and months ahead. Sometimes I'm amazed that my professional life took the direction it did, that I've visited Amish settlements from Maine to Montana and a gazillion places in between. The Amish still exert a a pull on me, depending on the community. There's something very appealing about a life close to the land, unplugged, where faith, family, and fellowship are the cornerstones of daily existence. For me, it's very personal because there's a genuine stirring and tug when I visit some of these places. While I've never really seriously considered becoming a "seeker" (the term the Amish use for outsiders who convert to the Amish faith and life), I have joked with my wife that maybe I was Amish in a previous life and that's why I keep venturing back to their communities. But in some ways life is a perpetual game of "greener grass". Ironically, many - certainly not all - Amish try to move closer to our way of life, while many non-Amish are drawn to their way. Occasionally I give talks to groups (homemakers clubs, schools, libraries, etc), sharing my 20 plus years of Amish experience. I call my program "A Q &A With The Amish Cook's Editor" I am based near Cincinnati, Ohio, so if you ever need a speaker about an interesting topic (promise, I try to make it entertaining as well as educational), feel free to email me for details about scheduling a talk. I love to meet readers in-person.
Occasionally, a place where I give a talk will give me a promotional poster, coffee mug, etc (Ness City, Kansas gave me a neat little barbed wire trinket since the fence was apparently invented there?) as a souvenir of my talk. These appreciated trinkets usually end up in my office, serving as a neat reminder of the event. The above photo is from when I gave a talk in Zionsville, Indiana. Is it bad to say that I have ZERO memory of giving that talk?? The poster doesn't indicate what year. (Okay, running to take my vitamin B12 pill now)
Okay, now above photo is of a talk I gave at the Mercer County Public Library in Celina, Ohio...I DO remember that one...I hardly ever am invited to give a talk on a Sunday, so that sticks out. Below...one of our many housecats decides to block my photo.
So, back to talks...I try to make them interactive, informative, and entertaining. Some talks do stick out more than others. I remember a talk I gave at a library in Punta Gorda, Florida on about an hour's sleep, so that one sticks out because I delivered that in a zombie-like sleep-state (but people still seemed to enjoy it). I had a wonderful time giving a talk in Lansing, Illinois. The crowd was big and they asked such great questions. Ditto for Great Bend, Kansas almost 10 years ago and Holmes Beach, Florida even longer ago. Ness City, Kansas and Hays, Kansas were both favorite library stops. A talk I gave at a church in Anderson, Indiana is memorable to mebecause at the exact moment my talk was scheduled, a music video from the rock band "The Atari's" was being shot at the adjacent building. We had dozens of 50-year-old ladies coming to see me, competing for parking spots with heavy metal fans. So if you are interested in having me give a talk to your group, email me at [email protected] for rates and information. And do something memorable when I come, I don't want any more Zionsvilles!:)