Ready to Serve Goes on the Road


We are booking now for 2017 - to bring this true story about unknown nurses out during programs to
honor the Centennial years. 

They have waited 100 years to have their story told.

Ready to Serve is a personal story of unknown nurses who donned Army uniforms and served with Hopkins Base Hospital 18 where they cared for hundred of wounded soldiers. This true story is down from their letters. 


2016 - Back to National Storytelling Festival to Revel in Stories

Last Thursday Fanny Crawford, Susan Gordon, and I arrived smiling and looking forward to being in Jonesborough three days soaking up stories at the National Storytelling Festival. We are all long time veterans of making this trip from MD to TN - to dive into stories, to hear new storytelling, to see old favorites and to meet-up with friends.  It is a gathering fueled by story.

The posts from Facebook share a bit of the week-end.

Fanny, Susan, and me arriving Friday morning ready to get started.
Right away I bumped into Donald and Letty Nance - long time friends I count  on seeing at the Festival every year.
Minton Sparks - wonderful unique performer whose work really inspires me. I managed to see three of her sets!! Rich! She is an incredible wordsmith - opens new doors to using words.
First time I had seen Irish teller Clare Murphy. She is fantastic - in her storytelling, body movements and staging. She connects with the audience. She certainly connected with me!!!

Sunday we saw the set Clare Murphy and Minton Sparks shared - p o w e r f u l. At the close of the set the audience was on their feet applauding.

I know Judith Black's work so I was in a seat for her performance of "Lucy Stone" - her original story of Suffragette Stone. Judith gave a marvelous performance and my eyes filled with tears at the end when we in the audience jumped to our feet to value Judith and Lucy Stone. Clearly women want to hear stories of their history.

Connecting with folks in the seats was an important focus for me this Festival - some I knew and others were strangers. Every conversation ended in my learning something  and hearing a story. These exchanges enriched the experience of being in Jonesborough.

This was too funny. Those who know the storytelling world will know that Kathryn Wyndham was a revered teller who died years back nearing 90 years old. I deeply admired her work. But, having the young guy call me out because of my white hair struck me as absolutely too funny.

So the tents have been taken down and we start the wait for the 45th annual storytelling festival - 2017.


Ready to Serve Review

September 23, 2016 I performed Ready to Serve 
at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD to open the 2016 touring schedule.

Hopkins Nurses, June 14, 1917  - before boarding the ship to take them to France.
where, as members of the US Army, they would serve with Hopkins Base Hospital 18.

Review of the performance on September 23, 2016.
"Your performance brought to life the experience of World War I nurses and revealed its impact on their lives and the nation. The storytelling format is an engaging venue for historical research. The discussion after the performance demonstrated the connections the audience made with your character. The Hopkins World War I nurses were amazing women, and this show captures their sacrifices and contributions. I highly recommend it." Phoebe Letocha Collections Manager, Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions 

For schedule and information


Remember the days before Cell Phones?

Here are a few of many boxes of personal journals I am reviewing to remember yesterdays.

Recently I made short story from a
faded page I found loose on the bottom of the box.

It brought back an ordinary day- - July 10, 1974- - - I am glad to have it back.

This is a video of the story - Essential Personel.


Remembering 9/11: A Personal Memory

Remembering 9/11

Jim and I were in Montecatini, Italy the day the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were attacked. So far from home - - that's another story. 

We were fortunate that our daughter sent off a quick email from DC to let us know our family members who could have been in immediate "harm's way" were OK. Then the email connection in our hotel went down. Jim and I wanted to get back home.

As many remember that night the skies closed. No planes could leave or enter the US for some days. Jim and I had intended to leave Italy and meet a travel group arriving from Dulles. Obviously they never arrived - leaving Jim and me bumping around Provence for two weeks until the plane tickets we had could take us home. We prayed, cried, and worried about what had happened - but we were not physically hurt by it.

However  - we were often emotionally touched when French people who were very sad for the United States, the losses, and the stricken families reached out to us. They told us how sorry they were. They wanted to say that out loud to a person. As they took our hands or patted our arms their eyes were filled with tears. Pictures and concern was spread on the front pages of newspapers in many languages. Bouquets of lovely flowers were left on the sidewalk outside the American Consulate in Nice with personal condolence notes pinned to the wrappings.  People also left small candles that bravely flickered in the dark. 

I took pictures of those consoling offerings.

Fifteen years later I still see faces of the people and remember their caring for those lost that day and for their devastated families.  


Michael Hyatt's Productivity Summit -

Friday morning - ending another week - and this has been a great week for me.

I am considering choices.

Do you do that?

I tell you I find it hard because I want to do it all - -

But this week I have been having some guidance about choices to increase my focus and step up my productivity.

I am so glad I registered for Michael Hyatt's Productivity Summit on the internet.  For the past 8 days I have been watching a new video every day from  Michael Hyatt . Every day there has been a different speaker who is an authority on some aspect connected to productivity in business and life.  Each video is an in-depth interview with one of the speakers conducted by Michael - who is an excellent interviewer.

Learning new information always excites me. I have loved it!

As a business entrepreneur as a spoken word artist I can apply a lot of what they say to the work aspects  I do to back-up my performance work. If you have read me her at all you already know that I am fascinated by technology so I was quite happy there was plenty of information along those lines.

Michael planned a program that went covered organizing, social media, decision making, health, sleep and a few other topics.

One of my immediate take-aways was the deeper learning of how different conducting business is today ---from working remotely to the reliance on technology's tools. I will never use everything these people do but I can tell you I am very happy to know about the tools and how they are being used. Most important, it opens your eyes to the thinking and the world of younger people today.

I can't possibly report all I heard nor would you want me to but there are several points that stuck to me immediately:

1. Focus - discussions of how we are living in a time of extraordinary and overwhelming distraction and how it is interfering with our ability to concentrate and to "go deep" when we work on intellectual projects and products.

 Not news, right? They added suggestions for getting the upper hand such as -block your internet interruptions - both with personal discipline and apps that will do it for you on your schedule.

2. A fellow named Greg McKeown talked about choices and decisions. My main take-away was a better understanding of the trade-offs that go with every decision - and - the importance of examining the impact of your decisions.

That was exactly the right talk for me because I am juggling a choice between two major story projects and I need to select one to put at the head of my list. After listening to McKeown I wrote down all the trade-offs and pluses and have almost made a final choice.

A big surprise was the interview with Shawn Stevenson on his book Smart Sleep which turned out to be right on target and was fascinating.  Sleep is very important to our productivity and many times busy people sabotage the kind of sleep they get when they finally put their body down. One "biggie" is the information that watching TV  or using electronic devices before bed interferes with your best sleep which is a bed rock for productivity the next day.

Since Jim died I have watched a movie in bed on my iPad every night as sort of a compensation for sleeping alone.

After Shawn's talk I stopped that - and I can feel the difference in the quality of my sleep. I won't try to explain the effect of the light from the computer and devices etc or its impact on RIM sleep - I just urge you to do what I have - read the book.

Many thanks to Michael Hyatt for such uninformative and productive learning experience. I look forward to more!


On the USS Hornet and in PA

Labor Day

Yesterday - some time ago
We were visiting our daughter Robin and her family Brad and their three boys, Jamie, Danny and Scotty in California.

For a family excursion that day we toured the famous WWII Carrier, the USS Hornet - that is docked at Alameda.

A good time for all of us.

Lots of history with many sweet memories.

Jimmy, Monica, Karen and I spent a good afternoon at our family get-away place near Gettysburg.
Entertaining conversation and laughs over lunch at a near-by cafe.
Time together and an escape from the city is always a good thing.

A good day.

A Painting that is Part of My Story

Seated Woman
artist: Ellouise Schoettler
Acrylic on Canvas
4' x 6'

Today when I walked into Jimmy and Monica's home I stopped as I passed the doorway for a close look at this familiar painting which hangs in their living room.  I remembered painting it. The woman is a studio model who was sitting every day of a July week in 1975.  That's 41 years ago but seeing her transported me back into the studio. I felt I could breathe in the pungent smell of  turpentine where some near me were painting with oils.  

Lately I have written posts about working on my
collection of personal journals. Initially I thought a memoir could be gathered from my 30 year collection of notebooks until I realized the story also has threads from art works, letters and other ephemera I have kept all these years. Every bit of these items also carries some story. My memory seems to have registered all these items in a way that I can remember them and what was going on at the time. Well - need I add that the scope of the project has grown.

For instance - take this painting. I gave it to Jimmy in the 1980s because his apartment walls were bare and I had no wall space left for it at  our house. To be honest, I was not sure of it at that time. But thanks to the years of seeing it hanging in Jimmy and Monica's home I have come to appreciate the good in it - in fact there are times I am proud of it. Most of all I am grateful its not tucked in a storage bin because whenever I see it - that painting carries me back to a very exciting time in my life filled with opening to art and seeing the world differently.

When I painted this painting I was in a summer-school graduate painting class at American University.  I was a 39 year old mother of three, who was in my second year of work for an MFA in painting. The instructor, Ron Haynie, was a favorite of mine. He was my first painting teacher four years before at Dunbarton College of the Holy Cross when I was a Sophomore working for an undergraduate degree - a BA. Ron was one of the most articulate people I have ever known which was a gift to his students. When teaching he could tell you the same thing 10 times or until you "got it". He was an AU Painting MFA graduate and teaching at Dunbarton was his first teaching job.  In a few years AU reached out and brought him onto their teaching staff where he remained until his death in 2008.  Here is a tribute post I wrote about Ron Haynie at that time.

Daily I realize that one of the most valuable benefits that comes from re-reading old journals or looking through piles of papers and fingering memorabilia or studying old art work  - is finding and remembering the people I have been fortunate to know.