Years ago, I hosted a Gift Circle in Brooklyn. Once a month, for about a year and a half, a varying cast of characters gathered to make offers and requests, and express gratitude. In that circle, many matches were made, with great joy and generosity. A takeaway? If you don’t ask, you won’t receive; if you do, you just might. And so, in service of my quest to unite money and soul-work (having accepted that, for now, money runs like water through most regions of my life), I put forth the following options for how you and I might intertwine in the financial realm.
If you haven’t yet read Mating in Captivity: A Memoir, and you’re wondering which purchasing option would be most supportive of me, the author, go here and get your signed copy! Yes, I love bookstores, libraries, and informal lending among friends; I’m thrilled for you to get your hands on my book any way you can. And I make five to six times more per book when you buy direct. Plus, each signed copy comes with a personal message, in my perfect handwriting.
Want to buy ten or more copies of Mating in Captivity, so you can hand them out as party favors, or infiltrate Ozzfest and sell them on the lawn? I can help you with that (and get you a special price). It could be fun. Write me at madgelma[at]hotmail[dot]com, or drop me a line using the contact form below.
Speeches and Talks
I would love to talk to your group or class or gathering about these and other subjects: how cults relate to culture; how the wisdom of the body interacts with self-trust; the cult continuum; the parallels between cults and industrial civilizations; writing as composting; writing as spell-weaving; gifts and the web of relationship; cycling through stories; the role of words in building a more beautiful world.
Past presentations and talks include “The Gift Circle: An Experiment in Sacred Economics” (at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture), “The Gift Circle: A Space for Weaving Relationship” (at the American Ethical Union Assembly), and “Money, Gift, Community: Redesigning How We Make a Living” (at the Northeast Permaculture Convergence).
Tantalized? Get in touch! I am open to receiving money for speaking engagements in the form of fees and/or guaranteed direct buys of Mating in Captivity.
I dream of writing a monthly column, for a publication concerned with basics like air, water, soil, and relationships, about my adventures as a witch helping weave (and re-weave) the web of life.
I’ve been called “The Human Typewriter”; I have beautiful handwriting. And I do write letters. (Once, when my husband and I were apart for two months, I wrote him a letter every single day.) Further, I find that when I settle in with a blank sheet and one of my favorite pens (Uniball Vision Micro), and agree to fill that page, I inevitably discover intriguing thought-threads I’m happy to follow. Writing by hand, to another human, is its own art form.
Would you like me to write a letter to you, or someone else (a letter makes a great gift!)? You can choose a topic, give me something to go on—or not. Either way, I will listen to my whispers, produce an exquisite handwritten text, and mail it to the address you specify—all for just $100!
Your letter may look something like the one below. I will send your letter within one week of receiving your payment. During the payment process, you will be asked for the recipient’s name and the subject (if any) of the letter.
I, like most industrialized humans, use money as a medium to meet many of my needs; I also use it to build my capacity for soul-work, e.g., by paying for learning opportunities, attending gatherings, collaborating with and supporting fellow artists, and hosting happenings. That is, I invest any money that comes my way in nourishing myself, my family, and my various villages, while bringing joy and working magic.
Please donate any amount that feels right to you—or, better yet, sparks joy. And if you wish to make a recurring (monthly) contribution, you may do that as well.
In the past couple years, I’ve led three writing workshops, and one workshop combining writing with visual art, all at Earthaven Ecovillage. Themes have included: crisis, building imaginal bridges (to the world we want), and composting betrayal and other stinky stuff. I would love to collaborate with the right partners on workshops that pair writing with other art forms (movement, music, song, etc.), and/or use writing as a tool for escaping harmful stories, building better ones, and generating a clearer understanding of WTF is going on here.
If you’d like me to bring a workshop to your area or group, or collaborate on developing an offering, please get in touch!
Sometimes it can be generative just to talk, in a respectful atmosphere, about topics that seem radioactive—money, for example. Recently, at Earthaven, I co-hosted a conversation about money, based on three questions: What do you do for money? What’s your soul-work? How do the two interact? We didn’t solve the world’s money problems (or even our own), but we did share ideas for moving into new money stories—which beats the heck out of staying stuck. Let’s talk about opening this can of worms in your living or meeting or class room—then watching them crawl all over, creating fertile soil.
Critiquing and Editing
I’ve been critiquing and editing others’ writing at least since seventh grade (when I worked on a project too top-secret to talk about on the Internet). In high school, I co-edited the student newspaper. At Harvard, I spent many a companionable Saturday in Thayer basement, untangling prosaic messes for the Salient, and a semester in a creative nonfiction workshop. At Zendik, I edited the road prep lists (to an unprecedented degree of utility!), and proofread various publications, including the magazine; the Curriculum; the Art, Scriptures, and Relationships Books; and a Quest Among the Bewildered. (It is not my fault that the misspelling “intregal” appears about eight thousand times in the Scriptures Book—when I attempted to correct this error, I was told, “You can’t edit Wulf!” Hmm. I feel a song coming on….Every typo’s sacred / Every typo’s great / If even one’s corrected / He becomes irate.)
In 2005, when I began work on what was to become Mating in Captivity, I joined a fledgling writers’ group (anyone remember the Ragged Writers, of Park Slope?), then got on the workshop train. In one such workshop, offered by Sackett Street Writers and taught by Nancy Rawlinson, I learned how to respond to manuscripts by carefully charting my experience, beat by beat, during that all-important first read, then draw on these observations to offer bigger-picture thoughts.
I stayed on the workshop train through spring 2013, the end of my first and only year in the Hunter College creative writing MFA program. (I remember googling “creative writing MFA dropout” as early as January 2013—the end was near!) There, I came to favor the solicited responses of trusted readers over the feedback blanket spread by an entire class under pressure to speak, whether or not they were so moved. Outside the workshop world, I’ve acted as that trusted reader for friends and comrades (mostly essayists and novelists).
About a year and a half after exiting “the program” to focus on revising and publishing my book, I landed a gig editing college application essays, and spent four seasons in that role. In other professional incarnations, I’ve edited websites, marketing materials, websites, professional bios, and more. I am as skilled at revising texts for sparkling clarity as I am at empowering other writers to add that clarity themselves. I specialize in linguistic precision, and turning snore-worthy drafts into good stories.
So if you’re a writer, seeking to improve your writing, you can send me your draft, and I will read it closely—recording my experience, beat by beat—then weave my observations into bigger-picture recommendations. If you’re an idea person, an artist, an entrepreneur, etc., and you simply want your text to sing, lay it on me and I will work my magic.
My rate for critiquing and editing is $90 per hour. If you’re interested in working with me, please email me at madgelma[at]hotmail[dot]com, or use the contact form to drop me a line!
Thanks for reading, fellowbeing. This page is a prayer. May we all receive the support we need to do our soul-work, for the sake of our own souls, and the web of life on which our lives depend.