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A conversation about my book, Dancing with the Gods: Reflections on Life and Art

Books come into the world in different ways. Some come in announcing themselves and beating a drum, others enter the room quietly, take their seat, and wait to be called upon. Dancing with the Gods is one of the quiet ones.

When I was writing Dancing with the Gods, the publisher and editor kept wanting a more celebratory, anthemic book about the significance of the arts.

I resisted.

“No,” I said, “This is a reflective book for the artist — particularly the young artist — who wants to know about the unspoken and often unrecognized issues of living the creative life.” I actually wanted the subtitle to be, “The hidden joys and unseen challenges of a life in the arts”.

Now that the book is out, it is making its way just as I suspected it would — as a quiet companion, an intimate guidebook for those on the artistic journey.

I know this book. I know its heart. My old friend, David Crumm, who writes the highly respected online journal, Read the Spirit, saw that heart and engaged me in a conversation about the book. You can read some of our conversation here:

As you probably know by now, I am one of the worst authors on the planet in terms of self-promotion which, sadly, is much of the lifeblood of the contemporary publishing industry. For me, the books are the thing, not the author behind them. So I don’t do well going out in front and functioning as a literary carnival barker. I leave it to you to find my books and to decide whether or not they touch you in some way.

But I do want to raise the flag for Dancing with the Gods. If you practice any of the creative arts, or if you have a friend or son or daughter who aspires to be an artist, you should take a look at this book and pass it along. It will be worth your while.


Thank you all for your warm and hopeful responses to my last post about a speaking engagement I have at a showing of the film of Neither Wolf nor Dog in Gold Beach, Oregon.  In it, I wrote that I would be happy to attend any showing to offer my insights and stories about the process of turning the book into a movie.  Unfortunately, it was an incomplete answer.

To refresh your memory, here is part of what I wrote:

I have done events like this a number of times now, and it is always a wonderful experience, both for me and the audience. I can offer behind the scenes stories about the making of the film, reflections on how the screen version differs from the book, and insights about the different ways books and films can tell a story.

If some theater or group in your community is planning to show Neither Wolf nor Dog and would like me to be present at the showing to introduce the film, do a q and a, or even give a presentation independent of the showing, please get in touch with me through this website or directly at I can bring books to sell and even make several available for raffle. If you so choose, we can even make a full day event of it. The possibilities are limited only by our imaginations.

True, enough.  But, sadly, I was not clear enough about the process.  I have nothing to do with arranging showings of the film, the selling of (or availability of) DVD’s, or anything that has taken place since the film was finished.  All of this is in the hands of the director, Steven Simpson, who has full control and ownership of everything to do with the film.  The most I can do is suggest you go to the facebook page of Neither Wolf nor Dog Movie.  There you can find out about future showings of the film and, perhaps, a viable way to contact him.

What I can do, and what I would love to do, is make myself available at any showing that has already been arranged.  There would be costs and logistics involved, but these can be worked out.  Discussion of the book and film together is always an incredibly rich experience.

If you are interested in arranging my presence at a showing of the film, or even about having me come to a book club or a venue near you to speak about any of my books, please contact me directly at  These private conversations very often bear surprising fruit.

But I can do nothing to get the film to your community.  I wish it were otherwise.  I have to leave that to your capable and creative hands.

Best of luck, my friends.  And my apologies for the misunderstanding.