I am speaking tonight to the Writer's to Writers Group, but the best speach I ever gave was in Window Rock, Arizona and the majority of time I was listening. I was invited to speak at the Navajo Nation museum, but I learned far more from my audience than they learned from me.
Window Rock is the capital of the Navajo Nation and refers to the town as well as the rock formation. Imagine the capitol buildings of Washington sitting right next to the Grand Canyon.
The museum itself is very modern, but still incorporates traditional elements. Char, the museum curator was a Navajo but had lived all over the world.
A handful of people showed up and listened to my usual talk about how to begin writing from personal experiences. I then asked for them for their stories that they wanted to write.
Three people offered their stories and they were fascinating in their own way. Each one could easily bethe basis of a novel or a memoir. I listened intently. I was blown away by the force of emotion and wiped away a tear a few times before any one saw it.
Tonight at the Chinese restaurant at the end of my talk, I will probably ask people for their "pitches," their own personal stories that they hope to turn into novels.
Lena Dunham of "Girls" fame, got her show and her three million dollar book deal from her blog about life in New York. Well, if the publishers want to find the next big thing, I sure hope that they go to Window Rock.