So, what keeps an artist going through the down times?

Happily back to performing My Stroke of Luck at The Marsh, San Francisco after a two- week break. YES! So, down times, can't really own at the moment! Thankfully!!! (Though lost a great friend 2/14, Howard Meehan, a genuine genius, creative mentor, whose web profile - opposite of his life footprint- is so tiny, no web site to link, and Googling his name pulls up someone else. ;-( ) But sharing some lessons from a week at sea! (Image from back of Celebrity X Summit in The Bahamas.) I'd signed up for the sold out 15th Anniversary sailing of The Smooth Jazz Cruise to the Caribbean (ports Costa Maya, Cozumel, Belize and CocoCay) over 15 months ago, before I even knew if I'd have a run of my s

"You couldn't even talk straight! Why didn't anyone tell you?"

Who says they didn't tell me? That might seem a flippant answer to an earnest question, asked by an audience member following a recent performance of My Stroke of Luck. But that's the truth. I didn't know I couldn't speak, that's for sure, but remember, I was seriously brain injured. To know something, one must first learn it. Learning depends on the ability to store and retrieve information. Had they told me? Did I understand? Did it register? Did I forget? Or did they not bother to tell me? Or was I mute while I was in the hospital? No real way to know. But would knowing have been helpful? When I did discover I had word salad, I was overwhelmed, flooded with depression and hopeles

"So your acting, was this a dream deferred?" Part 2

So, how did a middle aged doctor's daughter and doctor herself embark on this path of actor? (And yes, actor is now the word for all of us, female, male and nonconforming). After my stroke, I invested every once of energy I had in rehab with the object of getting back to work. And though I did, and could still do it well (with accommodations for slower processing speed and inability to multitask), after a while, sitting alone in a dark room reading case after case didn't feel like how I wanted to spend my time. What I'd always loved, the intellectual puzzle of radiology, was no longer as stimulating, rewarding or meaningful. And as hard as I was working to keep everything together, I foun

A Black History Month factoid I'll bet anything you don't know.

I'm always amazed at all the things I was never taught in school about black history. But image my surprise when I discovered how much I wasn't taught about my own family history!! Some of the gaps may never be filled in, given the history of black people in America. But there's one I learned less than a decade ago. (Thank you cousin, Leroy T. Barnes, who shared most of this with me.) My grandfather (my father's father), William Harry Barnes, was born in Philadelphia in 1887, to George Washington Barnes and Eliza Webb Barnes. George was born into slavery on a plantation near Lynchburg, Virginia. One night, long before Abraham Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation, George decided

"So your acting, was this a dream deferred?"

Stage Makeup Class, College of Marin, taught by Patricia Polen, 2015 Please, don't make Langston Hughes roll over in his grave!!! (Devoting this and next few newsletters to questions asked by audience members in post show talk backs.) No, for me, acting was not a lifetime dream deferred. I have always loved the theater, and always had a creative side, but my childhood dream was to become a veterinarian. Sadly, the year in college that I worked for a vet, my allergies became so severe that it was clear I needed to make another career choice. With the premed requirements almost done, I chose what I thought was close, with all the same intellectual challenge - if not the furry, non verbal

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San Rafael, California
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