On April 8, I was honored to speak as the guest author at the Chatsworth Women’s Club “Meet the Author Luncheon” in Chatsworth, California — an annual event hosted by the club’s literary committee. Proceeds from the event were donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Chatsworth is where I moved with my family when my father’s company transferred him from Texas to California the summer before I entered my junior year in high school. It’s also where I made my home when I married the first time and started a family of my own.
Things started out as usual that morning, beginning with Starbucks coffee splashing only on the white portion of my dress when I drove over a speed bump. The stain was quickly diluted with the use of a nearby water bottle — but not before I pulled over in what I thought was a cul-de-sac and danced in the street with the Sparklets container trying to locate all the places where I’d been “hit.”
After that, I missed my off ramp on the freeway once we arrived, so that I had to get off at the next exit and circle back around. (Nothing new there.) It’s not that I’m directionally challenged, I just… Oh, never mind.
Then my videographer arrived late because she had the wrong time written down, so the first ten minutes of my speech were recorded via iPhone (sigh). But I just take these types of things in full stride now because, you know, life is too short, and these days, too sweet. I was fortunate to have both of my daughters with me, and it’s really hard to get upset when they’re around.
I had a great audience with lots of friendly faces looking back at me as I spoke. I mean, they laughed at all of my jokes. They even laughed at my Valley Girl interpretation. What more could I ask for? I told them precisely how I made my first mark on L.A. when I was only sixteen. I told them about the one thing Kevin Spacey, Mare Winningham, Val Kilmer and I all have in common. Okay, it’s actually two things. And I told them why it took so long for me to finally knuckle down and write my first novel – and it had absolutely nothing to do with writer’s block.
I finished by reciting my New Year’s Blessing – the quote shared around the globe last January. It was first released on my previous website on January 1, 2010. Every time I read it, it inspires me in a new and different way. I wrote it as much for myself as for anyone else. I need it as much for myself. It came from a place deep within me, and it strikes a chord many of us can feel and sense intuitively.
I told my audience it could be applied to any new beginning, whether it’s a new year, new you, new life, or just a new day. Interestingly, if we could apply it individually on a daily basis, we would probably create a whole new world before too long.
When I finished, we all ate lunch. The girls and I left with full tummies, full hearts and a baggie full of homemade cookies. We drove by our old house – the one where my daughters spent the first decade of their lives – before heading back to the freeway to go home.
Returning to Chatsworth brought back a lot of memories. It was fun revisiting my 16 year old self – the one who couldn’t wait to make her mark on the world. And it was interesting too being reminded of my 30 something self — the one slowly realizing ALL of life is extraordinary even when it doesn’t result in special recognition or lots of residual checks.
Yet in some strange way, returning to Chatsworth also made me feel like I was really just now getting started. Being reminded of what I once aspired to — and who I used to be, I see now I have come full circle. And I have turned a page.
Hello new chapter. What’s that you say? We’re going to make it up as we go this time? Oh yeah… 🙂
 On a steel pole at the corner of Devonshire and Topanga where I crashed my mom’s Buick shortly after I got my driver’s license… Ouch 🙁
 We all took drama classes at, and graduated from, Chatsworth High School.
 I first had to learn to be still — physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually — before I discovered my creative wellspring.