The reasons I love St. Joseph Public Schools are many fold. They include the strong English department that taught me to write, despite never handing in a lick of homework and not graduating from college (I don’t recommend that). What saved my life and my sanity during my parent’s divorce, however, was the fine arts department, led by the likes of Miss Betty Theisen (fondly referred to by the lucky generations she taught as Miss T), Robert Brown, Dennis Bowen, and Steve Reed. Mr. Bowen, whom I’m honored to have accompany me this weekend, helped to grow my voice and provided opportunities to perform beyond church choir.
The hearts of both performers and appreciators of entertainment and comedy were broken last week when the news of Robin Williams' apparent suicide socked us in the same bellies we would hold, laughing, often in tears, as we watched Williams perform. I grew up on Robin Williams’ comedy. My daughters watched Hook and Mrs. Doubtfire a thousand times each. My sweet father-in-law passed away last week, too. Israel. Questionable shootings. Too many tears of a different sort have been shed lately. We need this weekend and all the occasions that bring opportunities to laugh, to celebrate, and to recognize how music and comedy save our souls. How they and the people we love are sometimes the only things that make life worth living.
2014 has been a turning point for me. I wanted to stop being angry. I wanted more, so I decided, and I got it. I put myself “out there,” owning the title of Writer. In the winter, I took a train to Montana to attend a writers’ retreat. In the spring, I auditioned and won a spot reading one of my pieces for Listen to Your Mother in one of thirty-two shows across the US. This summer is almost over, and I am at the editing phase after completing a draft of my first GANE Possible Publication for release late this fall. I accomplished that through the #Write2TheEnd program I co-facilitate with my friend and fellow writer, Ami Hendrickson. We can’t wait to begin our fall session September 15th. We hope you’ll join us and claim the title of Writer for yourself if that’s something you’ve always wanted to do. In 2015 I plan to learn to play the guitar my husband bought me over a year ago.
The idea is to stop dreaming, stop worrying about failure, and start doing. A foundation of my #MOREin2014 philosophy includes going back to my roots, to the things I enjoyed when I was young; before poor choices, responsibility, jobs, family, kids, new friends, or a spouse with different interests allowed me, little-by-little, to push my passions aside. Before I knew it, I'd allowed myself to make the choice to stop doing what I once loved: singing.
Earlier this year, I read Patty Chang Anker’s book, Some Nerve: Lessons Learned While Becoming Brave. I reached out to Patty to tell her what a huge impact her book had on me. Between my possible and her brave, we became online friends. St. Joe is an incredible vacation destination and our “Riviera of the Midwest” happens to be where Patty overcame her fear of moving water and surfed for the first time, in WINTER (see chapter 7). I introduced Patty earlier this month when she visited Forever Books. Some Nerve inspired me enough to pitch an idea to the ENCORE powers that be to, sorta kinda but with a twist, revive a performance I did for Showtime, oh so many years ago. I am scared to death. But, like Patty might do, I’m singing despite my fear.
Tickets are available online or in person at Edgewater Bank at the corner of Broad and Main streets. Get yours today!