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“With writing, somebody is holding up a mirror and you’re getting to look into the mirror and see yourself. When someone is vulnerable, they’re holding up that mirror and the light is bright, and I think you’re putting skin in the game in a way that is courageous.” – Bruce Gelfand 

Today’s Finding Brave is the second of my two-part conversation with Bruce Gelfand, as we go so much deeper into the power of writing and how vulnerability is a superpower that should be celebrated. In this episode, Bruce also reveals the incredible transformation that will happen when you truly write from your heart and have the courage to delve into your story.

Based in Santa Monica, CA, Bruce has over 30 years of experience in theater, film, television, and publishing in both New York and Hollywood. His plays have won national playwriting awards, and been produced Off-Broadway and in theaters around the country. He has written numerous feature films and movies for television, and has written and directed the feature-length documentary, “The Family Safe.” He is also a writer of fiction, non-fiction, songs, and award-winning poetry. His book, Brighter the Light, Deeper the Shadow was published in 2004. His many screenplays include “Rainbow Man.” Bashert,” “Touched,” “The House at Otowi Bridge” and, most recently, “Refugee,” an adaptation of the award-winning Holocaust memoir “Choices.”

Bruce is also a renowned writing teacher and coach. He has taught at Emerson College in Boston, and in the M.F.A. program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco and taught hundreds of writing workshops and seminars in venues around the world—from gang members in LA to patients in the Mind-Body Institute at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard. He has worked with tens of thousands of writing students – from masters in the field to absolute beginners. His current online course, A WRITERS’ HOUR, is being used by writers all over the world.

Bruce has a list of private coaching clients that range from age 10 to age 95, and includes CEOs, corporate trainers, Academy and Emmy-Award winning writers, directors, actors, and leaders in the worlds of politics, health, and spirituality.

I encourage you to do the powerful exercise on uncovering the superpower that Bruce talks about in this episode, and let us know what you discover by doing so. We’re looking forward to helping you bring into being in a fuller way who you really are.

Highlights from this Episode:

  • The significant shifts that Bruce often sees participants experience in his Writers’ Hour program [2:00]
  • The pushback he received when he introduced the concept of “The Shadow” to his class, and how the Genius Exercise opened up and transformed the class for the rest of the semester [10:29]
  • What happens to the writer who doesn’t write from a place of being human, and who forgets that we’re all connected [16:57]
  • What makes a great writer from what Bruce has seen over his lifetime and career [17:28]
  • How he neutralizes the negative effect of certain members of his writing group and creates a self-correcting and safe space in the process [19:14]
  • Why vulnerability is a superpower, plus an exercise he recommends to everyone, to help uncover and acknowledge your own superpower [24:29]

For More Information: 

Bruce’s program from writers – A Writers’ Hour  

Resources Mentioned:

Bruce’s Online Writing Classes 

Register for A Writers’ Hour (Eventbrite)

His Book, Brighter the Light, Deeper the Shadow : Voices from the Writing Workshops of Bruce Gelfand

Episode 136: How to Know When You Have a Book Inside of You and How to Start, with Bruce Gelfand 

Dead Poets Society 

Lorna Byrne

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“I get to participate in watching someone fall in love with their own lives, and fall in love in some cases with the parts of themselves that they feel are the most unlovable.” [2:12]

“I just think writing is a kind of marriage, a kind of sacred vow, that you make with yourself and that you make with that part of yourself that you don’t always get to trot out into the world.” [2:42] 

“I’m very clear that if I didn’t have writing, and if I hadn’t discovered it when I was literally 3 years old, I would have long since departed this planet.” [4:48] 

“The Genius Exercise was completely transformational. It opened up the class in a way that was transformational for the rest of the semester.” [10:29] 

“It’s a challenging time to know what the right thing to do is and who to believe, but the thing about writing is that it gets you back to square one.” [15:07] 

“As a writer, you have to find that place in you that is human, where we’re all connected.” [16:57] 

“I do think vulnerability is a superpower. I think the world is moving from valuing intellectual IQ, or IQ that lives above the neck, into emotional IQ that lives below the neck.” [24:34] 

“Follow the thread. It may not take you where you think you should go, but it will take you where you need to go, and it will astonish you.” [27:46] 

Watch video versions of my interviews on Finding Brave! 

Don’t forget – you can experience each Finding Brave interview episode in both audio and video formats! Check out new and recent episodes on my Youtube channel at And please leave us a comment and a thumbs up if you like the show! 

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