Patricia and her Joke


Patricia was the assistant on the Elder Hostel tour Jim and I traveled with in Ireland. One evening we sat with her for dinner and she told us her story. She was a woman who, widowed young, knew what it was to "have me arse against a wall." 


New Video: Miss Janie Kilgore (21 min.)

When women get together and talk about their school days they usually pull at least one real life, often painful, coming-of-age story from their memories. It is usually from when they were 12 - 15 years old in Junior High School. This is a story I have never told on myself - although some of my friends still remember it - but lately I recognized what Miss Janie Kilgore, a teacher at Piedmont Junior High School, did for me when a "sock hop" turned into a very humiliating experience. Maybe you once needed someone like Miss Janie Kilgore to come to your rescue in a burgundy red Chevrolet coupe. Thank you, Miss Kilgore.


NEW VIDEO: Juliane Brienza, Founder and Ex. Director of the Capital Fringe

Meet Juliane Brienza, Ex. Director and Founder of the Capital Fringe. She tells us about the preparations for the Fringe in July which she say will be the largest in the seven year Fringe history.

No surprise that the Fringe is thriving.


Video: The Wedding Dress

I love this story.
This was a life-lesson for me.
No matter how much you love shopping in thrift shops
         don't buy clothes there for other people!



Video: Digging Up My Irish Roots

Thinking about St. Patrick's Day. And, what it means to the Irish - and that is me, too. A few years ago I made this video to set the record straight about me.


Southern Comfort

Southern Comfort
in the Elizabeth Section
Charlotte, NC

Altered Digital Photo
e. schoettler

I walked through my childhood neighborhood taking pictures and capturing memories.


Welcome Pope Francis I

Today Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina was elected the new Pope of the Catholic Church.

What is your name?
He answered:

Now - Pope Francis I

I am one of the over one billion Catholics in the world. My opinion is not earth shattering or a deal breaker but I am going to tell you anyway:

I am hopeful - perhaps even joyfilled at this election.

Pope Francis is:

a prayerful and pastoral priest

a man who lives simply, cooks is own food and rides the bus just like the many people he now Shepherds. 

a Jesuit

a man of South America who represents the dominant group of the Church members


this is a man who chose the name Francis - allying himself with the beloved St. Francis of Assisi, a man who championed the poor and who turned his back on trappings of the world.

What's not to love? How can you not feel hopeful for change in the troubled Church?

I feel like praying for him, the Church and all of us in the world in the words of St. Francis -
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.


A Back Story of a Woman's History with Video (video: about 11 minutes)

Women's March on Washington, DC 1978  Cynthia wearing the white hat, Ellouise wearing dark glasses.

When I received an email this week from my friend Cynthia I could not help remembering and laughing at some of the times we shared during the 1970s and 1980s when we were dedicated and determined volunteers working for the Womens Artist Movement. Today I can laugh at a few things I would never have expected to even flicker a half-smile at while they were happening. Now I can see the humor and appreciate how women tackled tasks we were little prepared for as a part of our determination to see a change for women. Thinking of Cynthia I immediately thought of our trip to Nairobi in 1985 - something I, at the time, thought would live forever in my mind as a personal nightmare. We formed an organization and went to Africa to the United Nations Conference on Women with an exhibit of art works by US women artists. To say it was challenging is definitely minimizing the whole thing. We met a wide and diverse spectrum of women who were attending the meetings and we learned that we all had the same concerns which united us across our many different life styles and cultural situations. Those are the challenges that are written about, recorded in the history books. Rarely do you get the back stories of the unexpected personal challenges. For example Nairobi was short on hotel rooms to accomodate the overwhelming attendance for the Conference. Our small group was turned out of our two rooms in a modern hotel when an official delegation arrived and pre-empted us. We were lucky to relocate to an obscure motel on the outskirts of the city and did not turn a hair when we found out the rooms usually rented by-the-hour in this establishment. We stayed there for ten days. In 1998 I told the story as a one-woman show for Washington Storytellers Theater. I called it " Ten Thousand Miles from Home." A couple of years ago I told this video excerpt as part an OLIO produced by Better Said Than Done. Particularly glad that Jim was there because he was important to my side of the story.


New Video Story: The Smoker (9 minutes)

A few months ago at Tales in the Village I told this new story, THE SMOKER. Thanks to Jessica and Bart Robinson I have a  video of it - so I can share the story with you.

I tell many childhood stories which capture memories of the times, places and people I loved in North Carolina.  But we know that not all childhood moments are sugar plums and sweetness. Children live with adults - and adults often make mistakes.

In this story I ice the cake with sweet tidbits before I give you the real-life twist.

Maybe a few of your childhood memories have a twist or two.


NEW VIDEO: Conversation with Nancy Camp

Meet Nancy Camp - an actor, writer, and voice-over performer. Nancy Camp's sharp and amusing posts on FaceBook pricked my curiosity. I wanted to know more about her. Her website - www.Nancycamp.com - is intriguing but rather than satisfying the questions I had it raised more. So, I called her and asked her to come and talk to me - and to my audience on Stories in Focus. We met several weeks ago - and here is our conversation. Nancy tells us about working as a voice-over performer and shows us a well-trained actor with a versatile "voice" makes the words jump off the page as she brings you into the story. I hope you enjoy meeting Nancy as much as I did!


NEW VIDEO: Conversation with slam poet Gayle Danley

Gayle Danley and I had such a wonderful conversation about slam poetry and life recently. She talks about how "slam" changed the trajectory of her life as well as how today she works with school children and leads them to speak from deep inside themselves. I am so glad we sat together - hope you won't miss this chance to meet Gayle on Focus on Stories. For more about Gayle: www.gayledanley.com