Thursday, December 6, 2007


It took a lot to finally get picked up by Amazon, but this is now the easiest way to order Here You Are. Here is the direct link. At Amazon you can also get a peek at a few pages inside the book. Keep giving Here You Are to the ones you love!

Here you Are also got picked up by Baker and Taylor. So if you are a bookstore, next time you place you wholesale orders, remember!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


There is a little Buddha in Here You Are, and a little Buddhism, too. Right where all the other religions also hide in plain view, between the lines. On Here You Are is tagged as a Buddhist children's book. There are about 200 others. The best way to find it, is to enter Mayke Briggs, or Here You Are Briggs.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Here For Waiting

I came across the statement “We are here for waiting” today, made by a four year-old little girl in the Seattle Children’s Hospital, as posted earlier here on this blog. She was waiting to get her health back, and for her Dad to return home from a long absence. Both events were going to be far off in the future. Sometimes, what we are waiting for never comes about, yet, if we learn the lesson that can be learned from waiting itself, if we can even learn to wait infinitely, we will discover what we were really looking for all along - the present.

A sunrise, or being stuck in traffic, become the same. We are finally here, and just being here is the magic trick of uniting with the whole Universe and Eternity. Here is Home.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Praise on the Internet

September 11, 2007 - Article by Author Shel Israel
on his Blog "Global Neighbourhoods"

Here You Are, a children's book by Mayke Beckmann Briggs.

Why is this day particularly appropriate to post this? Because today is a good day to salute the beauty of life and of what is in a child's heart.

Scoble had a moving post today about how this was the first 9/11 he remembered, probably because he has a son due to be born tomorrow. Until I read it, I had forgotten the sorrowful anniversary. I had had a particularly tough day.

By coincidence, the very next thing I did was to open up a recently received Here You Are children's book my talented and passionate friend Mayke Beckmann Briggs. Mayke, a mother of five kids is both the author and illustrator and both the illustrations and text are works of authentic beauty.

Here you are, asks questions that every child and most adults ponder--often without finding a suitable answer. Mayke gives a true and touching answer.

Yes, I want you to buy her book. Buy one for each of the kids in your life, I don't care what age they are. The book will work. Buy an extra for yourself as well. I'll stake whatever reputation chits I have with you that you will not regret your decision.

( Shel writes about high tech subjects and people in the Computer Industry. )

Friday, October 19, 2007

Small Steps Like These

I had been warned of course, how hard it was to blog regularly. And so I have learned. Yet, every day there is something worth posting if one finds the time to do it. So, here a mundane post, but maybe quite valuable.

I just made my book available in full on Google Book Search as an ebook. (It will take a few more days to have it pop up as Google is swamped with customers for its latest service - another genius idea). I also am thinking of finally only sending out email Christmas cards this year. And - I will spend quite some time this week entering my catalogs at to reduce the amazing load of paper arriving in my mailbox every single day that goes right into the trashcan.

Small steps like these -

Talking about small steps, or small deeds. This morning a baby started smiling at me at a cafe, and a few seconds later he leaped out of his Mom's arms, with his own little arms spread wide to give me a hug. I had to literally catch him, gave him a hug back, and handed him back to his proud Mama. The lingering joy of a little ten second event like this is hard to describe.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Global Neighbourhoods

Global Neighbourhoods - an insightful tech world blog written by Shel Israel - recently mentioned Here You Are. I love Shel's passionate and humorous writing style and I love what he wrote about Here You Are.

Shel, and his friend Robert Scoble wrote the book on blogging for the business world (Naked Conversations). He took the time to explain blogging to me as a worthwhile thing to do for my readers long before Here You Are was published. Blogging intrigued me as this new form of human interaction, or non-interaction if you will. Such a strange and fun way to write. Talking to yourself and your imagined audience until - well, someday, there actually IS an audience. It's almost like talking to God - until one day, he'll talk to you. For me these days this is mostly a deep, and a communing kind of silence. Ultimately, and truthfully, there is nothing much to say. As a matter of fact, looking around at the glory and the gore - we should find ourselves speechless.

But, a woman is never really, permanently speechless - so, posting here will continue! In the beginning was the word - and the words just never stopped. But to find God we need to go to "before the beginning". That is a very cool place! No Place! (There must be a few Buddhists out there smiling now)

Back to Earth - Here is Shel's post, and if you are interested in high-tech inside information, this is a great blog to check frequently.
Here you can also order Shel's book Naked Conversations.

Long Time No See

Life took over and blogging time was gone all of a sudden. All my children came home, and both my parents, and parents in law, moved in with us for the summer to spend as much time as possible with the new great grand baby. A good time was had by all - except for a few days, here and there, that had everyone crying, and then making up. We're all closer, and - well, maybe wiser.

The funniest thing was that all the drama of the past, living in everyone's mind either doesn't exist in other family member's memory banks, is remembered completely differently, or suddenly remembered with great shock. Half the family members heard old stories that went on between other family members for the first time and were astounded. Others were looking for understanding and forgiveness, justifications or explanations. In the end all our little stories were so confusing, and the fact that one man's truth was another man's un-truth, was so unsettling, that everyone returned to their personal versions of events with great explanations to themselves about "what was going on with the other people" and why they had a different take on things. Everyone preserved their Egos in tact, and had their own spouses for allies - that part is both cute, and disconcerting. It is a survival instinct, not necessarily love and loyalty, and it hardly ever lead to true insights or truth about things. It was a useful and harmony restoring form of practical denial. There is function in family dis-function, and every family has their own special version they somehow treasure - or just can't do anything about, and look beyond in order to not lose the love for the people that make up this thing called family and family history.

We know our senses fool us, but our memory does, too. Does nothing matter? Everything matters, but only right now, here. Once it is past, or not yet - it is nothing. It is good. We're free.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Walk in the Park

For You

This post by my son - one of his favorite computer games. If you get tired of playing you can keep the nice guitar music playing in the background, like we are doing right now, while doing other things.

Information Ramana's Garden

Start your exploration of Ramana’s Garden and Dwabha’s work by watching these videos.

Interview, An interview with Dwabha in India at Ramana’s Garden produced by Ambassadors for Children. Dwabha presently has 60 children living with her – her children – and 189 children arriving every morning to attend school where they receive an excellent education, learn to speak fluent English and are not abandoned during their teenage years, but further educated to be teachers, electricians, plumbers, doctors, nurses, bakers etc, depending on funds and children’s abilities.

Documantary, A wonderful documentary produced recently about Ramana’s Garden and Dwabha, also known as Dr. Prabavati. It starts with a yahoo commercial – just wait it out – it is the right video. Our friend Dwabha has been in the news a lot lately. If you google Dwabha, Dr. Prabhavati, or Ramana’s Garden you will have your work cut out for you. Many volunteers and souls in need of finding new meaning in life venture out to India to visit her, and work with her in her project. The children always benefit, and the volunteers and visitors always benefit more. There are many travel blogs from these volunteers and supporting organizations that make surfing the net is a bit confusing. Therefore I am compiling this list of the most important links and explanations to ease the search.

How to donate
Dwabha’s website: – the US foundation at for tax-deductible donations. For more information call or write to Dwabha at:
phone: (91-135)-243-5558

There are other foundations in other countries - India, Spain, Holland, England - you can find on her website above.

For even more information visit the following sites throughout this text and the additional links at the bottom of the page.

We live in such affluence in the West, yet our hearts feel drained when we see the need of others around us here and in the world. In Ramana’s Garden, where the children who live there have seen the absolute worst in their short lives, there is a different kind of abundance - the kind money can’t buy – and they dish it out daily in large quantity to anyone who comes to visit. Smiles, hugs, singing, dancing, celebrating life as it is and cultivating gratitude and hope in the face of incredible odds. In return friends and volunteers leave money with Dwabha for food, shelter, schooling, clothing etc. It disappears quickly even in India, when you have 244 children to take care of and have to travel around the globe once a year to remind your sponsors and friends that you are still fighting the good fight. In spite of the recent press coverage and success stories - life for Dwabha and her supporters is still very much hand to mouth every year. We hope to change that in the very near future as much seems to be happening at the moment that gives us hope for future financial independence – if everyone keeps their promises.

Ramana’s Garden is linked to the West in two extremely important ways. Harvard and many other Universities send their medical students for their internships, and for full academic credit every year. Not only do the children in Dwabha’s school, but also the surrounding population benefited by this regular, free medical care.

Another organization, LeapNow of America, through a lawyer in Marin County, sends troubled teenagers in groups or 30 annually to spend two weeks in a work and meditation retreat with Dwabha at the summer mountain camp, and then a week with the children in Ramana’s Garden. In five years, not one! of these youngsters has returned to crime or drugs - an unprecedented success and valuable model for rehabilitation. For letters from all kinds of different volunteers go to

We have known Dwabha for over a decade and have helped her along the way, whether we needed to buy land, leases, tents, or airline tickets. Through many of the difficulties over the years we have come to know her, her courage, her faith, her trustworthiness and her integrity, and can vouch for her to our friends. We have been to Ramana’s Garden with our children, know many of her children personally, and have with great joy watched their progress over the years.

We have also learned much about the business of charity. Most foundations take 5-10% of all donations – no matter how small or large the amount of the donation. Thousands of dollars end up in the pockets of these foundations – legally – but in our humble opinion immorally. Foundations are nice because the donors get to deduct their donations from their taxes, but not all their money reaches the children. We have opted to donate directly but have also worked on setting up foundations run by individuals who think like us – that every penny should go to the kids.

Other Informative Links,031INS4.articleprint, an article by Associated Press that was published around the world recently., the organization through which a US lawyer is sending troubled young people to India, letters from various kinds of volunteers., a young woman volunteer’s travel report who visited Ramana’s Garden., Travel report from a volunteer at Willow Street Yoga center in Washington DC, who started the US foundation through which tax-deductible donations can be made, a fantastic new way to build solid and cheap housing using dirt as the main building ingredient. Several of these houses are being built at the Mountain Summer Camp right now. the origianl domes that started Ramana's Garden ten years ago., another video – not as good as the other two – posted by the Yoga Studio to the Stars in Hollywood called Golden Bridge and run by Gurmukh., Who is Ramana Maharshi?
Dwabha studied with his oldest and most important disciple, Papaji, who told her that her time with masters was finished and that the River Ganga was to be her master from now on. She went there and lived in a cave until a spring flood washed away all her meager possessions which included her passport, ticket home, money etc. In the videos she briefly talks about how the poorest of the poor took care of her, offering her everything they had, only to worry about it being enough. It is when she decided that that was all she wanted from now on – to learn from them this ability to give with such abandon.

Through supporting Ramana’s Garden anyone can make a big difference in not just these Indian children’s lives but also to keep it all going for the many volunteers that work and learn at Ramana’s Garden every year, who come from all over the world and from all kinds of backgrounds. Making a donation is great and rewarding - much needed help that is deeply appreciated. Also consider visiting, to personally see your generosity at work in this magical place called Ramana’s Garden where the most beautiful flowers grow.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Ramana's Garden

The quote at the top of the small print page, opposite the title page in Here You Are, by Ramana Maharshi, which is also in Here You Are - on the small print page opposite title page: "No one doubts that he exists, though you may doubt the existence of God. If you find out the truth about yourself and discover your own source, that is all that is required" - is equivalent to Jesus' saying: "The kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.Luke 17:20-22 (in Context) Luke 17 )

Here You Are is my way of saying the same thing, and to remind adults that children are closer to this kingdom within than any of us.
Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.Mark 10:13-15 (in Context) Mark 10 (Whole Chapter)

If this is a religious message you could say that Here You Are is a religious book. But - is the truth religious? - or just the truth?
Religions only differ in their interpretations of their teacher's teachings. Their teacher's teachings all teach the same thing. The truth. The truth of All-One-ness. The same truth Physics teaches. The truth of interconnectedness. The logical conclusion of this truth is the practice of kindness, compassion, respect - which all religions teach. But, it does not take religion to understand this or to practise it. It takes a heart.

Heartlessness is what millions of children are subjected to in our world. Someone who is trying to counter-balance this is my friend Dwabha in India who runs an orphanage for destitute children there, called Ramana's Garden. Having been brutally tortured by a cruel stepfather herself, her compassion for the plight of these children is powerful and uncompromising. She is making a huge difference in the lives of hundreds of children.

I recently had to put together information about her (see next post) for a British woman who had just traveled to India and was moved to do something about children in that country, but didn't know where to start. Unfortunately many non-profit organizations are frauds and one needs personal friends who are intimately familiar with the ones that do make a difference, the ones that use the money for the children instead of their own employees and fancy headquarters.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


God has become a problem. Everyone associates him with George Bush. What a PR nightmare. God needs rebranding, as does Allah. Christians are seen as people who vote for George Bush rather than as people following Jesus' teachings - namely the Golden Rule - called compassion and kindness in Buddhism. Muslims are seen as people who are suicidal maniacs rather than people who are surrendered to God. Or was that Jesus who was surrendered to God?

I kept God out of Here You Are on purpose - invisible to the naked eye - the same way he is invisible everywhere you look. Invisible and obvious - not named - as in Judaism. Closer to us than our own breath, observable in our children's eyes. Hidden in Here You Are, between the lines, and somewhere near the final pages - found there by many in the end.

When I asked my son tonight whether he had anything to say about Here You Are I could put on my blog he said:"Well, you can tell them it is very relaxing and calming in stressful times." There you go.

Lame No More

No, I have not healed the lame - yet. This is about my son, who in Kindergarten, when I first read Here You Are to him, through himself backwards onto his bed, laughing. I took that as a clear sign that Here You Are had magic. I have read many children's books to my children for over twenty-eight years and this had never happened. The following week, when I read it to his Kindergarten class, one of the boys quietly got up, came over to me and gave me a long, silent hug. It felt like a Thank You hug. He was the only African American boy in an all white classroom, which has to be a bit of a drag at times.
Well, as my little Kindergartener learned how to read more and more, chapter books no less, Here You Are was not a book we read. It just became the "thing" that kept Mom so busy, spending hours on the computer and in the art studio. The day came, two years after Kindergarten, when I faxed the printing contract to China with half of my saved money. With the fax machine still humming, my son announced: "Mom, to tell you the truth, Here You Are is not a real story. Maybe OK for Kindergarteners, but I really don't think you should publish it. It's kinda lame. Sorry to tell you the truth, Mom."
Too late - I figured God just was trying to keep me humble. I laughed out loud, but my heart sank with visions of beautiful shiny copies rotting in storage.
Yesterday he was really, really sad. He had gotten sick on his last day of second grade and had missed field-day, the First graders singing "Fare Well", the graduation ceremony, his teacher reading Here You Are to his class, and exchanging Good Bye-s with his teacher and friends. He had to get picked up mid-day because of a stomach-ache. It was the sadness we feel when there is something that can never be re-enacted, something missed forever. His little face broke my heart.
"Can you read Here You Are to me, Mom? It will make me feel better and calm me down." I couldn't believe my ears. We ended up playing "well actually". "Here you are, standing on the ground...well actually, lying in your bed! Here you are, under the big, blue sky...well actually, under the big, wooden ceiling! Here you are, amongst the trees, the flowers and the butterflies...well actually, amongst the pillows and the sheets." He creatively added anything funny he could think of until the final pages where it all got calm, and then the little pay-off in the end. "How come Here You Are always makes you happy in the end, Mom?"

Monday, June 18, 2007


I was recently invited to read "Here You Are" at the Seattle Children's Hospital. A four-year-old little girl sat down with me on a red couch, excited about such a shiny, colorful book she knew I was going to give to her as a present. I started reading and when we read the "Why am I here" page she told me she was here for waiting. As we moved on to the Wondering pages, she said she was wondering whether her Dad would ever come home. That he keeps leaving and coming back, but that he hadn't come back in a long time. We just wondered together about it in silence for a while. I was wondering about the circumstances her family might be in. Was it a divorce, a soldier Dad away on duty, or something else? We were strangely OK without answers, both of us, while looking out of the window next to us, with the leaves on a tree blowing in the wind outside. After a nice moment of silence and waiting we read the rest of the book that she seemed very satisfied with. She proudly held her new shiny book with her right arm that barely fit around it, while holding on to her rolling lillie-pad IV stand with her left as she left the playroom.

It reminded me of Osho, an Indian Mystic, who once said:"For those who can wait infinitely, things happen instantaneously." One of my favorite statements about enlightenment.

Monday, June 4, 2007


"What does forgiveness mean to you?" Oprah Winfrey asked her guest, a young British woman who had lost her legs in the London subway bombings. "It just means peace to me" she answered. What a beautiful answer. The one who was forgiving, and the one who needed to be forgiven, had disappeared. There was no-one there. Only when there is no-one there - no "I" and no "You" - can there be peace among us, and God's presence becomes known to us.

The suicide bomber is dead of course, not playing golf somewhere enjoying himself on two healthy legs. Sometimes peace is a lot harder to come by. But it is always possible. No matter the size of the waves of the ocean, deep down it is peaceful.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Today I found myself in our favorite little breakfast restaurant - listening. The vent over the hood in the kitchen that had the deep and unifying sound of a low D7 chord, providing the background for forks hitting other forks in trays, eggs sizzling on the grill, newspapers rustling, pages being turned with interest or with rage, dishes being hit by spoons, the squeaky door opening every few minutes and slamming shut with the glass singing, the rhythm of deep male voices speaking in Spanish and women laughing in different corners of the room. A knife chopping on a wooden board mixed with the whisking of batter in a glass bowl and then eggs in a metal bowl - such a subtle difference in sound. Suddenly the radio announcer adds to the rhythm and the highs and lows of all I hear. All still united by the low, deep sound of the vent above the stove. Wooden legs being shoved back and forth on the linoleum floor, sometimes hitting metal or wooden legs of tables, the clicking of women's heels, the zipping of a purse, a spoon hitting the coffeecup until the coffee is stirred. It all had a rhythm to it, sounds had beginnings and endings - they had their place and time in the symphony. I hear my heart and I hear my breath. I felt surrounded by the beauty and the harmony of the Universe.
My listening started half way through Daniel J. Wakin's article in the NY Times this morning (Wed, Mar 30, 2007) about Christopher DeLaurenti ( who decided to listen to the sounds of intermissions at concerts and record them. I had always noticed the symphony of sounds in nature, always surprised people were so unaware, but I had never listened in a diner. The school spring concert we went to afterward seemed far less musical.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend

This is the day we remember and honor fallen soldiers. Who the enemies or friends were in past wars gets forgotten over the years. All that remains in our minds is the surrender and obedience of soldiers to something bigger than themselves. The soldier with the heavy machine gun, having killed many before being killed himself, remains to strike me as somewhat innocent. Maybe it is because of the discipline, and the surrender to authority, that a soldier agrees to live by. His willingness to give up his own will and to face death, or a difficult life after war, trusting in something beyond himself.
Today we wonder about sacrifice, obedience, and surrender to authority. We have seen it go terribly wrong too often. And still - the fallen soldier, as well as the still fighting soldier, has my admiration, my gratitude, my compassion and has me wondering whether the rest of us have become too selfish, too obsessed with our own will and comfort, and too busy gobbling up the earth with our consumerism.
We do not yet live in a world where war is unnecessary. Some day we will. It will take many more soldiers to get there. Too many. I thank them all for the peace and freedom they have created so far in the Western World.
From a spiritual point of view I know that freedom cannot be gained without trust far beyond reason, surrendering of one's will, and the willingness to face death or a difficult life. As such, even the Buddhist who would not even kill a fly, hoping for liberation, can learn much from the soldier. And the soldier some day may need the Buddhist to teach him how to still the mind.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Robert's Story

Robert showed up out of nowhere, in a shipyard, emerging out of the storage unit next to BoathouseBooks' unit. In over a decade I had never seen him anywhere around there. The only person I had ever seen was a homeless man who lived in his car, and regularly visited his unit across the yard where he kept his clothes, but mostly mountains of newspapers and magazines - "to prove his point" it seemed. He had that "it's all a conspiracy" look about him. His car was full of literature and notepads, too.
Robert didn't look crazy, just big, and irritable. His car was blocking our unit and we were expecting a gigantic truck with the book delivery. He moved the car, at which point an even taller, bigger, and grumpier guy emerges from their storage container. No words, just looks and grunts.
Our truck pulls in and we soon realize that I ordered a lift-bed truck, instead of a truck and a forklift. Not realizing that there was such a thing as a lift-bed truck, I had assumed that what my friend Fergus in China called a lift-bed truck was what I called a forklift. There was a moment of silence...and realization...that we were in big trouble. A bad case of a native German and a native Chinese making arrangements in English.
Then Robert reappears from somewhere and announces that there are two forklifts around the corner in that shipyard and he'll ask one of his buddies if we can borrow one. He walks off, head down, as if he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. I start wondering who is going to be the one trying to use this forklift. Back comes Robert, and before we know it, he is gingerly and with utmost precision lifting pallet after pallet off the truck and into our storage unit. It was the same sophisticated dance I have so often watched big, burly guys perform with their earth movers or cranes, that leaves you in awe as to the coordination, sensitivity, skill, beauty and balance of it all. Robert knew what he was doing. This wasn't just a regular forklift either, but a kind of magical instrument constantly adjusting its blades to what it had to do.
I still felt a little intimidated by Robert and decided to get to know him better. I wondered whether I could give him a book or two for a kid in his life and ask him if he had kids. "Oh, boy", he says", shaking his head in disbelief, "You just struck a cord there lady", "I don't. But me and my friend, we go to the Children's Hospital in Oakland. Last weekend we took hundreds of Beanie Babies from a lady who used to collect them. But the market has fallen out of Beanie Babies and she donated them. They were all brand new. The kids loved them." He looked sad, and mad, like he had seen a lot of suffering.
"Well', I said, "all those pallets you just moved for us, they are children's books. I'd love to give you a box for the kids. Would you like me to? "Sure, I'll take it. They'd love 'em", he said. "Just leave'em in the trailer. Sorry for the mess in there." And off he went. He had refused a cash tip for his efforts earlier and I was happy he accepted the box. This was a good soul of a man. He was mad at, and at the same time surrendered, to the suffering and injustice in the world. And he had decided to make a difference where he could. Maybe he had lost a child.
I put a box into his unit, and also left a signed copy for him on top of it. I felt sorry that I never asked his name. It turns out that the storage unit next to ours is used for tools by several of the shipyard storage workers. The icing on my cake that morning was when a third "big guy" shows up to get some tools from the trailer. I follow him in to find out if he can tell me Robert's name, which he can. He sees the book on top of the box, likes it after going through it, and asks how much it is. I tell him, he pulls $13 out of his jeans and asks me to sign the book for his son.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Big Secret

Just in case someone may be wondering...

The stories I write here about people, are not here to promote the book. The book flies out of my hands wherever I take it, and when someone needs it, I just give it away. Since I started this project three years ago, without any intentions of becoming an "author" or "illustrator", things have been happening worth noting and sharing. The book is almost a little catalyst in my life to engage with strangers and there are a lot of surprises. Those are fun to write about.

This summer I gave Here You Are to several people I have known almost my whole life, and found out that they all were meditated on a regular basis. One even had a meditation garden, and another one had had her child in a meditation play group for several years. I would have never known. People are somewhat reluctant to talk about their interest in meditation, and then so happy to find someone who understands. Understands what exactly?

That we can be happy - without religion, without money, without power, without the perfect life, without anything, even without our loved ones - ( some of the people I am talking about had lost a child, a parent or a spouse recently) - if we just sit silently. It's the big secret.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Ultimate Truth

When this claim was made about Here You Are, and put on the dustcover, I kept very quiet. The Ultimate Truth - seems to be a very big thing. The biggest of all! Yet, it is the most mundane, the most simple, and the most obvious. So close and so clear, we miss it, like the professor with the glasses on top of his head.

Just like the professor will chuckle about his exhausting efforts when he finally finds his glasses, you may chuckle, when you get to the last page of Here You Are. That moment is the gift of Here You Are.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Nikki's Story

Nikki is one of my favorite little girls in the world. She is smart and beautiful - the daughter of a Mom movie star turned PhD psychologist and Dad entrepreneur in the gourmet food business. Her life with her creative, innovative parents can be beyond confusing and stressful, if not downright - inspiring. Sometimes it is all too much, sometimes it is all too little, and most of the times it is just right. Nikki has a great life, yet there are days she is just not so sure about it. Those days can turn into long nights, and one night, out of a big bookshelf, she chose Here You Are for her 1am read.
It had such a calming effect on her, it stayed on Mom's night table for all those kind of nights. "Why am I here?" - "to love, of course" she told her surprised Mom. Her Mom ended up giving me great advice on how to go about publishing Here You Are - basically "full steam ahead". The red spine was her idea!

Moritz's Story

Moritz today is a medical student at the University in Munich, one of the most difficult med-school to get into in Germany. Three years ago, he was a philosophy student here in the US, cramming for exams, living on Coca Cola and not much else. The son of a famous physician in Germany he was an exchange student here in his senior year of college. He had a nervous breakdown so severe, he thought his roommates were trying to kill him, and that he was being hunted by the CIA. His parents knew old friends of ours in Germany. They called us in hopes we could pick him up, off the streets of San Francisco. We found him, still thinking his roommates were going to kill us, too. When he thought we were CIA we started to worry. He spent the night. Our kids left to sleep at friends. My husband removed the knives from the kitchen. We made it through the night. The next day, instead of putting him on his flight home to his parents, we ended up taking him to our local hospital. His mother stayed on the phone with us trying to convince him to trust us until she would get here the next day. We all were complete strangers to each other. I wrote "Keep it simple" into Here You Are and gave it to Mo after we left him at the hospital. The nurses said he just kept reading it to calm down. His mother later said the same and wanted me to publish the book. To this day, three years later she keeps asking about it. The books are sitting in customs, on a ship from China, and will be here next week. Next week I will send her a copy.

Website and Blog Instructions

There are several ways in which you can communicate with BoathouseBooks, Mayke Beckmann Briggs, and the general public visiting either the Blog or Website.

This is how you become part of the "Here You Are" community:

If you need to contact BoathouseBooks regarding orders or bulk order price quotes, email

If you would like to write to Mayke Beckmann Briggs personally and privately, send your email to

On the Blog you can click on "subscribe" in the very lower left hand corner at the bottom of all the posts to get notified in your emails when a new post has been posted here.

You can personally comment on any post by clicking on "comments" to the lower right hand corner of each post. Your comments can then be read by other visitors to the Blog. Your email address is never seen by either us or the public, only the name you chose to post with.

Mother's Day

Here I am today - in the middle. Calling my mother, and my daughter-in law on her first Mother's day. Actually she was so busy nursing the little one I had to wish her a Happy Mother's day via my son. All while I was being spoiled by three of my five children who happened to be home. Here we all are - Happpy Mother's day to everybody!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Nice Lady buys HYR

Today I had to go to get business papers filed. The clerk at the Civic Center, a beautiful lady with gorgeous skin and very loving eyes, was marrying a young oriental couple before it was my turn. Here this shy, young couple was taking this important step, and just like my husband and I, over thirty years ago, was trying to pretend nothing was happening - until the big day ahead, with family and friends. But I could swear I heard their hearts pounding.

When it was my turn everything felt so mundane. But I had brought along a copy of Here You Are, and the lady bought it for her two daughters. "The ultimate truth - I have always wondered about that", she said. "The girls ask me those questions all the time." I told her the answers were between the lines.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Regal Printing ships Here You Are

Fergus Kwong, my patient and reliable friend in China, emailed a few days ago to let me know that my books were on their way, due to arrive here in two more days from today.
( . He and Kishwar, at Lazer Image ( ), who prepared the print ready files, made it possible for "Here You Are" to now be available. Thanks to Fastback Creative Books ( I had been able to put together the book the way I envisioned it, first. Sending this beautiful, hardcover version to Fergus made it all very easy. I would not have found Kishwar, or Fergus, had it not been for my friends, Judith and Gerson Goldhaber, and their book "Sonnets From Aesop" ( Gerson's beautiful watercolors accompaning each of Judith's sonnets, were so well reproduced, I decided to use the same printer.
It took three years to get "Here You Are" to this point and seems somewhat unreal that the publishing part is done. Funny how when the student - me - was ready, the next teacher would appear and things would move forward again. "Here You Are" seems to have a life of its own, and even when I wanted to stop pursuing further efforts in publishing it, a new enthusiast, either a child, or an adult, to my frequent surprise, would show up and urge me to get this book realized. Often with a new and helpful piece of information, or skill to teach me. So in my mind "the Universe was telling me to keep going".
On February 28th, 2007, I signed my name to the printing contract and wired the first half of my payment to China. The same day that, later that night, our first grandchild was born.