What should I speak about?

You know that bumper sticker, “when the power of love overcomes the love of power, then we shall blahbitty blah blah blah?”  Well, where I’m at is when the sick-and-tiredness of being broke overcomes the dread of letting people see how lumpy I am, then we shall seriously consider launching a speaking career.

It turns out that the best way to go about this is not to wait for people to invite you, and then when they do, you say, “Gawrsh, I dunno, what do you want to hear me talk about?”  No, you’re supposed to have ready-made topics.

I have a general idea of what kind of things people are interested in.  But I don’t really go to conferences, so I don’t know what they are like.  So, if you do go to conferences (and I’m thinking mostly of the Catholic ghetto circuit, since that’s where I generally hang out anyway — although any friendly venue would be fine), what would you like to hear me talk about?

Also, for goodness sake, if you are in the business of organizing conferences or lecture series, I am officially available as a speaker!  simchafisher@gmail.com!


  1. It seems like no matter what topic you undertake, you manage to offer not only a brilliant and humorous perspective, but one that people from all walks of life can relate to. So basically, I have every confidence in anything you talk about! 😉

    However, if you are looking for suggestions of topics which I would find useful, I wouldn’t mind a treatment on chastity for adults, particularly those who are in their 30’s, whose biological clocks are starting to tick ominously, whose primary love language is physical touch, and who crave intimacy (in terms of being known and sharing a life). ‘Cause it’s hard for us. 🙂

  2. I haven’t been to a conference in a long time, but here are a few possibilities:
    (1) Marriage/children in the context of a big family;
    (2) Time management: balancing a job (in your case, writing) with raising kids;
    (3) Sex education;
    (4) Pants.

  3. I always love how you write about marriage. Very real, funny and touching all at the same time.
    Heck, the way you write about mothering a large family is fantastic too.
    And being Catholic but NOT in the ghetto.
    And of course, Karen beat me to it, pants.

  4. Chastity for adults sounds nice,
    How NFP can kill your marriage would be along those lines (based on that post awhile back)
    Living your life in a culture that thinks you’re crazy
    things about family

  5. How to balance involvement in the Catholic ghetto with involvement in the broader community, and how to participate in the broader community without compromising Catholic values.

  6. I *think* your kids might be too young for you to speak from experience, but I really really would love to hear Catholic parents talk about teens and dating.

    I read quite a few Catholic “mom blogs” and it seems like this topic is never discussed! Schooling, friends, driving, jobs, sports, college choices- everything in the teen years except dating is discussed, and then a few years later there is a happy engagement announcement. I need to know what happened in between! I need pointers!

  7. I agree with the other posters: you could take just about any topic you write on and easily turn it into a conference lecture. Personally, I’d like to hear you speak on how to handle kids interacting with our culture or maintaining a spiritual life in the midst of raising young children. It might help to prepare a list of topics for various audiences (moms, college kids, parishioners in general) as I bet you’ll be invited to lots of different venues!

    • I second the suggestion of speaking about how to manage kids interacting with the culture; it’s similar to my suggestion, but better!

  8. In the spirit of your recent post, how about Beauty? That’s a message that we folks in the ghetto could hear more of.

    For example, how many people like bad religious art from the 40s and 50s just because it’s from the 40s and 50s? (“No-no, don’t do that,” as my toddler would say.) If not that, then what? What makes something beautiful? And why is this important?

    • And, as a second thought, couple beauty with another topic – something more practical, like parenting. I’m sure there’s a lot to say around helping kids choose beautiful things to see and hear. Like Army of Darkness. 😉

  9. I’ve gone to some FOCUS conferences and have about 100 of those Lighthouse Catholic Media CDs in my car. I love a good talk.

    You really are so interesting, no matter what you talk about, but here are some suggestions:
    -what parenthood has taught you about how God loves/made us.
    -how to fill your house with the faith, poetry, creativity, a general acceptance of the diverse personalities in a large family.
    -how to let go of what you thought your life would look like and find fulfillment in the life you have (for example, not worrying that you always wanted a big family, but couldn’t have one, or that you thought you’d be all Maria Van Trapp and turned out to be Inspector Gadget, thought your house would be beautiful and instead you have to live with an awkward amount of other people’s stuff everywhere)
    -the books and music that have the power to deepen your experience of family life or the faith (including holiday stuff).

    I will pass your info on to some people I know who run these sort of things.

  10. I think a night of improv – maybe a few submissions in a hat and you talk off the cuff. Sit on a comfy stool with a drink in one hand and the CCC and Humanae Vitae there for reference. Maybe the husband along to anticipate/bleep word escapees…?

  11. 1. How to build a strong marriage and find the time to nurture and strengthen it in the midst of raising a large number of children who take up all your time and energy.
    2. How to raise a large family when you’re broke.

    • Simcha has written about this many times, since she has a large family and limited budget and has done really well making it work. So I’m sure she’ll continue to have lots of good suggestions on this topic.

  12. First, I have to say you write wonderfully, regardless of topic.
    Many observant Christians I meet are depressed – not in clinical sense of word (they do all their duties correctly and in time), but somehow as they have lost all the joy and hope.
    I remember you wrote about your struggles with depression (“I lived there”), so, if you can, pls write a couple of posts about it.

  13. My friends and I LOVE what you say about motherhood. I think you would be a GREAT speaker at all these women conferences out there. 🙂 We find encouragement as young mothers reading your stuff. Most of us don’t live near our mothers anymore (unfortunately!) and we appreciate the wisdom of more seasoned moms. 🙂

  14. Anything related to teens with your typical sense of humor, and how couples need to make decisions for their own family and change things if not working (such as your homeschooling and then stopping – but it could cover many areas), and NFP related topics

  15. A discussion of movies and literature would be good; in particular, how Catholic artists and writers can create distinctly Catholic movies and novels that aren’t total bilge.

  16. I think your talk should be titled: “When life hands you lemons, make margaritas” ( limes/mojitos )

  17. Long before I read your manifesto, my son came home from college, declaring that there was a whole subset of humanity there that are called “the skirts”.

  18. Which leads me to my next idea for a talk, which is a famous quote from St. Josemaria Escriva : “Pride leaves the body two hours after death.”

  19. How about this one: “The outrageous selfishness and generosity of two-year-olds, teens, and everyone in betweens.”

  20. Can I add a word of caution? A speaking career at this point may not make enough money to compensate for the added stress it will bring to your mommy life. Not to mention the new wardrobe you’ll have to buy.

  21. Basically, make a talk that is the chapter of your book from Style, Sex, and Substance. And maybe another one about humor. And the post you had about your Hail Mary driving your kids to school= prayer within motherhood.

    And PANTS!!!! Hahaha.

  22. Some possible topics:
    1. For the NFP Convention – Drinking with your spouse while the kids are at their grandparents’: a Creighton-Model approach.
    2. For the Catholic Bloggers Convention – Charity: How to look past what you absolutely know to be true about the total stranger who left one nasty comment on your blog.
    3. For the Domestic-Whatever Convention – Ordered Expectations or Expectations of Order?
    4. For the Mothering Convention – Lots of Kids: Blessings from God or Proof You Might Be Too Easy?
    (Sidenote: This is a joke that works well in real life. My wife and I once had a helpful stranger point out how many kids we had and the woman asked my wife, “are you crazy?” I said, “no, just easy.” The woman laughed and a really confrontational situation was avoided.)

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