Fran Shaw, Ph.D. is a longtime practitioner in a spiritual discipline and an award-winning author whose works include I AM Stories: Up at the Retreat, Notes on The Next Attention, Writing My Yoga, and 50 Ways to Help You Write. Many of her books explore how contact with a finer Attention awakens us to a completely different level of being.
Fran grew up in Connecticut. A writer from a young age, she created and put on plays at her elementary school, got published nationally at age 8, and at 15, won the Top Senior Award, for short story, in the annual Connecticut Scholastic Writing Awards competition. She wrote a weekly column for the Hartford Courant, graduated from Barnard College where she won the Amy Loveman Poetry Prize and two national writing contests, and went on to Stanford University as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and a Danforth Fellow. Recently she won the Azsacra International Poetry Award.
Early works in her career include the children’s books Sharing: How Kindness Grows and What a Team! (Reader’s Digest Books); the Write It Up Video Course and Workbook for Business Writers (Coronet/MTI/Simon & Schuster); and the textbook series Grammar and Composition (Houghton Mifflin, co-author). Her articles appear in Self, Connecticut, and Parabola.
A talented editor and writing coach, Fran has taught writing for many years as a professor at the University of Connecticut at Stamford and has conducted writing workshops across the country. She engages people in writing experiments that begin with a shift into greater awareness from which words freely flow. Some of these exercises appear in her books Writing My Yoga: Poems for Presence and the all-in-one guide 50 Ways to Help You Write.
A fan of the poets William Blake and Walt Whitman, in college Fran studied mysticism and world religions. When she was in her twenties, friends told her about the Gurdjieff Foundation and introduced her to a spiritual guide who worked with her for many years and also encouraged her to create 30 Ways to Help You Write (Bantam), the first book to combine expanded awareness and “free-flow writing.”
Years later Fran met Dr. Michel de Salzmann when he visited New York in his capacity as director of the network of Gurdjieff institutes in the world. During eight summers she was invited to work with Dr. de Salzmann at a chalet in the Swiss Alps. Keeping a journal to share with her husband at home, she recorded many of Dr. de Salzmann’s words to remind herself of the quality of attention lived during those periods. Two books emerged: Notes on The Next Attention, 78 recollected talks of Michel de Salzmann (published with permission of his son), that aims to help one awaken in the midst of everyday life, and Writing My Yoga, a memoir in poems and journal entries from the retreats, that explores writing as a path to awareness.
Lord Have Murphy: Waking Up in the Spiritual Marketplace, with drawings by Bruce M. Sherman, is a unique work on attention in the form of an illustrated humor book.
I AM Stories: Up at the Retreat is a short-story cycle about a dozen Americans at a weeklong retreat abroad with a rare guide who shows them that “with attending to presence, allowing higher forces to enter, staying collected, returning, we can live in a new way.”
What interests author Fran Shaw most is writing from a conscious state—writing as a vibrational practice—to become and help others become a transcribing agent serving higher energies.