If you’ve read my first book, Six Degrees to Your Dreams, you know I subscribe to the six degrees of separation theory, which I call six degrees of connection. WhatIs.com describes it this way: Six degrees of separation is the theory that any person on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries.
It’s like the six degrees of Kevin Bacon movie trivia game, which goes like this. Pick any actor alive today. Let’s say Julia Roberts. She was in Flatliners with Kevin Bacon, one degree. How about John Travolta? He was in Phenomenon with Forest Whitaker, who worked with Sean Penn in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, who was in Mystic River with Kevin Bacon. Three Degrees. Keira Knightly? She co-starred in Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp, who was in Black Mass with Kevin Bacon. Two degrees.
Thanks to my interview with filmmaker Paul Bright, I learned I’m three degrees from Kevin Bacon since Paul is two!
But that’s not where the synchronicities end.
Early in 2021, I was in a short play for Chapel Theatre’s Winter Play Festival, and so was Paul, in a different play. I watched all of the shows and was stunned by Paul’s noteworthy performance as a heron. Yes, the large waterfowl. I reached out to him on Facebook and we became connected that way.
Months previously, my co-writer, Jen, and I had been finalizing the script for our first play, Second Chances. I put out a call for local actresses to read via Zoom and give suggestions on the script. Three of the talented and experienced actresses who helped us were Yelena King, Eleanor O’Brien and Maria Mogavero.
When I found out Maria had experience with screen-writing, she started helping me with another project. Then in June of 2021 Paul was looking for “extras” (watch the video to find out why Paul doesn’t like the word “extra”) for just 15 minutes of Pocket Mouse Protector shooting in a park in NE Portland. Just guess which three actresses were already cast in the film? Ahem, yes, Yelena, Eleanor and Maria. How many degrees is this now? I’m getting confused. Anyhoo, I got a free listing on IMBd and $20 for my time, energy and gas money; I thought, “Why not?!” Speaking of degrees, the park filming turned out to be on the hottest, driest day of the summer. Thankfully, a huge old oak tree provided shade.
That was nearly a year ago, and now the movie is done and being submitted to film festivals. Watch my interview with Paul for more details!
PS. I joined Paul and some of my castmates for a private screening Tuesday evening. It turns out I’m not actually in the film! Paul thought I was – the camera scanning seemed to stop just before me. He’ll look through the footage, but regardless, since I was there, I have my role as Government Liaison. I was impressed with how well the movie came together after being filmed and edited under challenging circumstances. Be prepared for some partial nudity, a variety of bedroom scenes, and you may always wonder exactly how to pronounce the word perignothis.
Better to hope for the best and deal with the worst, than expect the worst and miss the best. -Sarah Morgan, from her novel “One Summer in Paris”.
After she is tragically orphaned, young Abella loses the ability to speak her truth and express herself. She is sent to live with a reclusive uncle she’s never met, and her only friend is her horse. Abella endures heartbreak, loneliness and questions who she truly is inside. Eventually, she meets friends and animals who help her not only regain her voice, but also uncover her strength and purpose. Purchase How Abella Found her Voice for $4.95 here: https://laurahandke.com/product/how-abella-found-her-voice-e-book/
Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!
Now that COVID restrictions are lessening, the current school year is ending soon, and another will be starting in the fall… I have a pet peeve to share.
And it’s not litter! That is definitely a pet peeve. But this one…is…vocal fry!
Allow me to set the scene.
I’ve worked with a teenage voice student for weeks. Her vocal technique is coming along beautifully, her voice is free, and singing is fun. One of her parents picks her up after the lesson and says something like, “I need to stop at the grocery store on the way home to grab some things for dinner. Which sounds better – salad and grilled chicken or that spicy white bean chili with cornbread?”
And the parent sounds like this:
This is a little crazy-making for a voice teacher who wants to help prevent vocal problems before they start.
So many voice students come to me in their 40’s and beyond, after years of not understanding how their voices work or the way the body creates sound. They just know their voices simply aren’t working right or they hate the way they sound. I absolutely love working with these students. Yet, at the same time, think what a difference it would make if students were taught how to really use and love their voices in school!!! I wasn’t, and from what I’ve experienced as a voice teacher, most students today aren’t either.
That’s where you come in.
I can bring an affordable two-hour workshop (via Zoom or in person locally), into both private and public schools, that will transform students’ relationship with their voices from then on. If you know parents, teachers or administrators who may be interested, please introduce me and I’ll take it from there.
These are just a few of the student comments I received from the pre-COVID Speak Up! school workshop.
I would totally recommend this class to my friends. It helped me relax and gave me confidence to do public speaking. -Jimena J.
Come back soon! -Trinity T.
This class gave me more confidence. -Caleb E.
This class helped me speak up with confidence. I think it’s good for your mind and self-esteem to do these exercises. -Emilee J.
Thank you in advance for any introductions you feel moved to make. You will receive my never-ending gratitude for being part of eliminating vocal fry from the world and helping young people feel more confident.
After she is orphaned, young Abella loses the ability to speak her truth and express herself. She is sent to live with a reclusive uncle she’s never met, and her only friend is her horse. Abella endures heartbreak, loneliness and questions who she truly is inside. Eventually, she meets friends and animals who help her not only regain her voice, but also uncover her strength and purpose. Purchase How Abella Found her Voice for $4.95 here: https://laurahandke.com/product/how-abella-found-her-voice-e-book/
Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!
You thought I was going to say therapist, right? Counselor? Life Coach?
I’ve had counseling and loved it. I’ve had coaching and that was great too. Yet usually the very best therapist is Mother Nature and all her charms.
One of my favorite writers, and an AWESOME life coach, Martha Beck, has been known to pour birdseed over her head while she’s sitting outside in nature meditating. https://marthabeck.com/
I am going to try that. Soon. I didn’t today, though.
Today I walked in Tryon Creek Park, one of my favorite places in the whole wide world. Unspoiled nature, Divine territory.
My mind became silent. I heard and saw many birds, including a Northern Flicker tapping away at the top of an ancient tree.
Tryon Creek is running with plenty of water. The trillium are blossoming. Tiny white/yellow moths that felt like fairies accompanied me throughout my hike. I couldn’t tell who was leading and who was following.
I stopped in to see the goats at Tryon Life Community Farm on my way back. Usually the goats are inside the barn or the adjoining pen. Today they were in the pasture, munching on the plentiful green grass. I sat on a small wood stump in their midst, and breathed.
I heard laughter and women’s voices from inside the residence. I don’t know if they knew I was there. I asked the goats’ permission to take their photos. I held out my hands but didn’t intentionally try to touch until one came close to me; then me and two of the goats had some ear scratching, petting and a nice little communion going on.
About three hours later, sitting at my laptop, my forward steps became clear, simple, and I was able to write them down – nothing too overwhelming – what feels exactly right.
Who knew you could get that from a goat?
I have room in my schedule for up to five more vocal students on Wednesday and Friday afternoons. I work with speakers, actors, holistic coaches, writers and burgeoning singers with a Body/Mind/Spirit approach to vocal training. Joy and laughter are essential ingredients. We tend to do some giggling! I’ve discovered it’s easier to learn and teach when I’m not afraid to make a fool out of myself.
I’ve been sharing this amazing breath technique with all of my voice students over the last two weeks and didn’t want to forget to share it with my readers as well.
While this powerful tool is relatively new to me (I was reminded of it at the Upside Summit conference I attended in Phoenix late January) it’s been around for centuries. My voice students have each commented on what a game-changer it is.
This standard pranayama technique improves lung function and lowers heart rate, blood pressure, and sympathetic stress. It’s an effective technique to employ before a meeting, an event, or sleep.
(Optional) Hand Positioning: Place the thumb of your right hand gently over your right nostril and the ring finger of that same hand on the left nostril. The forefinger and middle finger should rest between the eyebrows.
Close the right nostril with the thumb and inhale through the left nostril very slowly.
At the top of the breath, pause briefly, holding both nostrils closed, then lift just the thumb to exhale through the right nostril.
At the natural conclusion of the exhale, hold both nostrils closed for a moment, then inhale through the right nostril.
Continue alternating breaths through the nostrils for five to ten cycles.
If you decide to read Nestor’s book, you’ll learn this is just one example of the many downright miracles which can be wrought in people’s lives, simply by us changing the way we breathe.