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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, January 05, 2008
    Allowing people to overhear themselves
     
    I never really got into John O'Donohue as a writer. In a recent Church Times interview he said (a little playfully) that he couldn’t read spiritual books: "The stuff on spirituality is like candyfloss.” Agreed, and that's how his bestsellers Anam Cara and Eternal Echoes read to me.

    But where John O'Donohue touched me was as an inspirational speaker. His talks held audiences spellbound, uplifted. That, to me, was the great gift he shared with us. He has died, this week, gently in his sleep, but the vigour of his performances will live on with all who heard them, and his devotion to the art of public speaking will continue to be an inspiration to others (like me) who aspire to work the same craft:

    "I always look on a public talk as an almost liturgical event. If the words are presented in the right way and the proper silence is created, then people become implicated in listening to themselves in a way they’ve never listened before. What I’m trying to do is to create a sequence of words - this is exactly it - to create a sequence of words that allow people to overhear themselves. An awful lot of us don’t listen to ourselves at all."