stimulate conversation

Introducing Picture a Conversation™

Although I’ve been scarce for several months, I’ve not been idle. Here’s what’s been happening. Some of you are familiar with the greeting cards Martin and I have been creating under the His Lens/My Pen imprint.

A while back I saw a family of four at a restaurant. Everyone — kids and parents — were all looking at their cell phones. The image of that completely disconnected family stayed with me for weeks. Until one day a thread of an idea alighted somewhere in my brain.

Could our His Lens/My Pen images and texts be used in some way? To create a set of conversation cards?  Designed to get people talking to one another face to face, without iPhones or texting or e-anything? In that moment, Picture a Conversation was born. Actually the name came to me a few weeks later while I was waiting at a stop sign, but the idea was firmly lodged in my noggin and wasn’t budging.

So this is where I’ve been for the past half year or so, developing the idea, beta testing since last April with families, women’s groups, couples and couples therapists. Even a home for pregnant teen moms and a shelter for women rescued from the sex slave predators. Heavy, yes, but the cards bring light and connection time and again which just thrills me.

How does it work?  Thank you for asking! On the front of each Picture a Conversation card are the images you know and love from His Lens/My Pen. On the back are three questions and/or statements designed to get you talking to one another, face-to-face, in real time. Like this:

Our daughter Emma has been in charge of graphic design and she’s done a wonderful job creating a cohesive visual theme the whole way through. I love how she incorporated that little river/snake icon evoking ancient petroglyphs out west. She has transformed my clunky and busy attempts into simple and elegant. And God bless her, she’s been more patient than the saintliest saint when it came to re-dos and changes.

Now we are moving forward, having ordered 1000 sets of Picture a Conversation. In  future column I’ll share what that really looked like.  I feel like I’ve thrown myself off a cliff with no idea where or when I’ll land. What I do know is that more than anxiety (almost none) there is excitement (a whole heck of a lot.)  Like you, I’ve read and/or noticed diminishing eye contact with the younger generation and how they would rather text than talk. Like you, I find myself falling into that trap as well. I believe in this concept so much, knowing how dearly we all need to set aside the devices and reconnect.

If you want a set of your own, you’ve come to the right place. Look to the column on the right or go to the “Get a Set” page.  Marketing and distribution are the Gordian knot to any venture. If you have ideas of places or people who should know about Picture a Conversation, please share your contacts. Corporate team building? College campuses? Retreat centers? Your uncommunicative grandson? At the very least, may I ask you to share this post with your friends and others? Email a link or share it via Facebook.

I’ll be posting relevant articles and short essays on the different aspects of this project in the weeks to come. Until then, check it out, share your feedback. Stop texting. Start talking.

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