First Book Talk

Yesterday (Saturday, January 22) I had my first book talk. I had a talk scheduled here in Sunderland before, but it was rescheduled twice. I am hoping for good weather on Saturday, February 5, so we can actually have that one.


This is how it happened that Burlington, Vermont, was my first appearance. It was well-attended, with approximately 160 people. The events coordinator said there was only one other event that she ever hosted at the Fletcher Free Library in which the turnout was bigger — and that was when Ambassador Peter Galbraith did a book talk there. 

Part of the audience

I was a bit nervous in the beginning, but when I focused on the faces of so many friends in the crowd, I relaxed and was able to deliver my talk without too many glitches. I found for the most part my sister was right when she said a little while ago, “I can just imagine that when you get up in front of an audience, you will just be in your element.” I was. I gave a talk that was designed for the Burlington audience, which focused on my journey to Burlington when I left the Amish in 1977.  The reception for this subject was favorable.

My favorite part of delivering a talk was answering questions. That is my chance to interact with the audience, which I find so engaging. The people asked really good questions, including how the community I came from could grow so quickly (going from 30 districts in 1980 to currently around 85 districts), and wondered whether there were people joining the church from the outside. I explained that the Amish have many children, and that is how the community grows. Someone also asked if I attribute the dysfunction in my family to being Amish. I answered that I thought that in the same way we cannot romanticize the Amish and think that they don’t have the same problems as all humans, I cannot necessarily blame the Amish culture for my family problems. Someone else asked if more women than men leave because of the male domination. I answered by saying that I thought that the men may leave for different reasons, and in a different manner than women, but that I thought the numbers were about even. I thought that many women who leave do so because they are oppressed. I need to actually research whether there are more women leaving than men, because I don’t actually know the answer to this question.

Overall, this was a very rewarding experience. I look forward to my next appearances with a great deal of anticipation. I only hope that my audiences will be as warm and embracing and as appreciative as my first one was. Thank you to all who were there!


Photo by Pam Munsell 

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6 thoughts on “First Book Talk”

  1. 160 people is BIG! Congratulations on your first book talk, and sincere wishes for many more, Saloma. On the rare occasions that I speak, I find the Q&A to always be the most fun. It lets me know what people are wondering, and I find that fascinating. ~Monica

  2. Hullo Saloma! I am so happy for you and your success. It is well deserved. I have found, amongst my own friends who have left the faith, that more men leave than women. I’ve also discovered something quite interesting. The majority of those whom do leave the faith are sons/daughters of 1. Bishop, 2. Preacher, &/or 3. Deacon. I live w/ several o/ fellow Amish and we all our the sons/daughters of Bishops, Preachers and Deacons.

    Blessings to you and continued success!
    Leah

  3. Congratulations, Saloma! That was quite a large group! You know you know you’ve done a good job when there are well thought out questions such as those you shared with us. Leah’s comments were interesting, too and I look forward to hearing about your research into men vs women who leave …but take a little break, first! :-)

  4. Monica, thank you very much. Yes, the audience was big. I agree about the Q&A.

    Leah, these are interesting observations. I wonder if that varies from one community to another, because I honestly don’t know of that many (any, actually) young people who left who had church elders for fathers from my home community. In fact, the bishop and his wife in our district had 15 children, and they all stayed. Which community do you know these people from? This would be a fascinating research topic.

    Peggy and Karen, thank you for your good thoughts.

    Wishing you all the best,
    Saloma

  5. Pingback: About Amish | Ten Year Anniversary, Part I

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