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Diane wakes up. Alone. The place looks hauntingly familiar. But she expected to be dead. Where am

That's the latest blurb for my show, My Stroke of Luck. Not a synopsis, by any means, but captures much of the heart.

"What's your show about?" is the first question I get when I say I've written a show. But that answer like the show, been ever evolving.

I didn't know what I was writing, what the story was, or where I was going when I began what would become My Stroke of Luck. I knew only that I had to write. So I wrote everything that came to me, shared it, wrote more, rewrote, and shared more. Most often the re-writing was in response to questions from David Ford of The Marsh and his other students : "I'd really like to hear more about..." "I was really engaged when..." "I really connected with...." The rewriting informed by, "I was confused by...." "You lost me when...."

By the end of the first year, I knew I had a story. But I still didn't know THE story. I thought it was about my older son's difficult teen years, how a parent copes with a struggling adolescent . Only later did I realize it was really about how my unexpected, unwelcome medical crisis - a sudden hemorrhagic stroke - changed me and my family. The end changed, then the middle, then the beginning. (Maybe it's not only snakes that shed skins!) The first piece I wrote became the framework of the end of the show.

Yes, the core event - if you use the old story spine :

Once upon a time...

And every day...

But, one day...

And because of that...

And because of that...

And because of that...

Until, finally...

And, ever since then...

the "But one day"- my stroke- was fixed. But it was audience members, and fellow creatives, each of whom seemed to connect with different aspects of My Stroke of Luck, and ask different questions, that helped me find told so much of the "And because of that." Their insights, that my show was about choices, love, letting go, denial, transformation, consciousness, were exciting gifts which informed yet more reworking. And in the end, My Stroke is a family love story.

Ironic how critical audience and fellow creatives are to developing a "solo" show!

Some of my earlier blurbs reflect the changing script. You might remember a few:

Can the good doctor become a good patient?

Diane's journey of medical catastrophe and recovery- not as the physician she is, but as a single mom to a frightened teenaged son.

Diane is a practicing physician and single mother. One evening she suffers a medical catastrophe. Her world is upended, all her relationships reversed. Can the good doctor be a good patient? Can the mom parent her kids?

Diane's horse suddenly charges through the arena as if she weren't on his back. Unfortunately, she is. "Why isn't he listening?" she wonders, never guessing he knows something she doesn't. Other riders try to take the reins. Diane refuses. She doesn't realize the wiggly ropey things in her hands are reins...

And every one of those blurbs is right on, but in a Rashoman way. As I dive deeper into the work, I find more mystery, ambiguity, heart and connection with the universe.

Two blurbs have come the distance:

A spellbinding and funny look at love, family and seemingly insurmountable odds.

Who are you when the 'you' you know is gone, and who do you have the courage to become?

Can't wait to share the new version of my show. It's a month in BC, then NYC, Atlanta and then The Marsh SF opening November. Stay tuned for details.

With gratitude to all of you who contributed along the way, for the wonder of creativity and the process, and this incredible second act after medicine. Who says old dogs can't learn new tricks?

Diane, Logan and Takeshi horseback riding

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San Rafael, California
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Website created 2017 by Diane Barnes and Mariano Diaz