May 9, 2013 (Mission Hills) – Frequent ECM contributor Walter G. Meyer will be speaking about the timely topic of bullying at Mission Hills Books and Collectibles on May 15 at 6:30 p.m.
Meyer said he never set out to become a bullying expert, but his novel Rounding Third was published just before the bullying/suicide crisis started making the news. ECM reviewed the book when it was published http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/2580 and he has written about bullying for ECM http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/7976
At Mission Hills Books and Collectibles, he will be presenting a version of the PowerPoint he has done at libraries and community centers across the country. It covers what bullying is, how to respond to it, the role of bystanders in ending it, and what can be done to prevent it in the first place.
Rounding Third powerfully addresses those tragic issues and he started getting requests to speak and write about the topic as soon as the book was published. He has written about bullying for many newspapers and web sites including the San Diego Union-Tribune, and he has spoken throughout the US, including at San Diego State, Penn State, Arizona State, SUNY-Jamestown, the Cleveland LGBT Center, and libraries in California and Pennsylvania; he coordinated an anti-bullying program with members of the San Diego School Board and City Council. He has been a guest on radio programs across the country and on Alpine’s My 107.9. As he learned more about bullying, he has become recognized as an authority in the field and works as a consultant for Civility Partners, a company that does bullying prevention; he was asked by the international nonprofit “No Bully” to become certified to do their in-school bullying interventions, and he has created webinars for SafeSchools and the nonprofit Achieva.
“I live walking distance from Mission Hills Books and Collectibles and was excited to see that another bookstore had opened in the neighborhood,” Meyer said. “Too many bookstores are closing these days. I stopped in and saw they were a having a local author do a speaking engagement, so I volunteered to do one as well.”
“We were excited to have Walt come in,” said Jim Schultz of the bookstore. “We have several schools in the neighborhood and could see a presentation like his having real benefit for parents of students.”
Jim’s father, Steve Schultz, the store’s owner added, “We want our store to become more of a community center and meeting place and events like this will help promote that feeling. And this is certainly a timely topic.” Mission Hills Books and Collectibles opened in September and has already hosted several local author events. “We’d like to keep doing one a month,” the elder Schultz said.
Meyer’s novel has received critical and popular acclaim for its realistic portrayal of bullying. He said, “I often get emails from people saying, ‘Did you follow me in high school? This is my story!’ I think it rings so true for a lot of people because it is based in part on my experiences and those of people I know.” Meyer started getting so many requests to address the problem that he started doing research and attending conferences to learn more. “When I went to speak to groups, I didn’t want to just say, ‘here is a book that portrays the struggle,’ I wanted to be able to offer solutions. Although my book is fiction, I really didn’t make any of the story up and so the characters put very relatable faces on the problem. That gives me the opening to talk about ways of addressing these concerns in real life.”
Rounding Third tells the story of two high school baseball players who face harassment in their school and on the team. It is Meyer’s third book and first novel. He is currently at work on the sequel. The stage play he co-wrote, GAM3RS, has been performed during several runs in San Diego and is now being turned into a web series. You can learn more about him and his anti-bullying work on his web site: waltergmeyer.com
Meyer’s anti-bullying presentation is free and open to the public. Signed copies of Meyer’s novel will be available at the event. Mission Hills Books and Collectibles is located at 4054 Goldfinch Street, with the entrance on Fort Stockton Drive. For more information, call (619) 550-7749.