Saturday, February 14, 2009

Conceive It And Receive It

A few days ago I had the honor and pleasure to spend the day at Annville Cleona High School in Annville PA. My good and cherished friend Ryan Clements is a brilliant teacher there and invited me to spend the day with his classes and make some magic. Magic!? Which yes do you want, yes... or YES!

Kids are very different today than when I was their age. Any opportunity I get for a chance at deep-talking with them, helps connect me with this new generation and I love it. I love spending good quality time with high school students. They will soon enough be out on their own for the very first time and embarking on this journey called life. Imagine how frightening that can be if you don't have a mind-map in these times we live in.

Since there isn't a LIFE/LOVE/PASSION 101 class, I like to think that's a part of what I bring with me. Though I have to say, as a teacher, Ryan Clements comes as close it gets. Any teacher will tell you, kids are inspired, or turned off. There's two speeds, that's it.

I met many great teachers that day. Teachers are my heroes, and from whom the kids will be learning many valuable tools they will need to march bravely into their futures.

So what did I bring to this bar-b-que? I came armed with mind-skills and just plain life experience to assist these great young people with the powerful truth that they really are more in control of their futures than they think they are.

Part of an assignment for student Jeff Sim, was to read my book THE 30 DAY HEARTBREAK CURE: GETTING OVER HIM AND BACK OUT THERE ONE MONTH FROM TODAY. Part two of his assignment was to interview me on-camera.

Mind you, this school, like every other, has NO budget, just Ryan Clements, a vision, a little video camera and a lot of imagination. Jeff and his crack team did a brilliant job with the interview, content, and the editing. I dare say it was better than many network interviews I have done, probably because the only thing Jeff was concerned about what doing his best work. He wasn't worried about losing his job, or making himself look good, but making his interview work. He did his homework, was super prepared, asked great questions, and was just all- around adorable. If he doesn't go into this as a profession, I will be shocked.

The rest of the day I sat in and spoke with several classes on the magnificent power of the mind (my favorite subject in the world) and how to have it work for us, rather than all of the unconscious ways we can have it working against our dreams, personal power and joy. In one class, I devoted the entire hour assisting them in how to create powerful vision boards (as is outlined in a chapter in my book) including wants, desires, motivation, and reward. It was really interesting to see their dreams for the future come to life through the pictures and words they had chosen. We can learn a lot about a person by looking at their vision board.

It amuses me when I see the networks and Madison Avenue execs trying desperately to figure out what today's youth want to watch, listen to, and buy. It's not that complicated.

If you want to turn anyone on, speak with their mind. Speak with their spirit. People, especially kids, know when they are being spoken to. They may not consciously know, but talk about something that turns them on, and they light up, just like it's supposed to be. I know this because like "Clem" (as his students call him) my sister Kim is a brilliant teacher, and speaks to the mind and spirits of kids all day long. I am a proud sister.

Thank you Ryan, and kids, for a magical day. I believe in you and I will be excitedly watching your lives unfold.

God, bless these kids and their dreams....

I love my work!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Say Goodnight Philly...

"You come in here and think you own this place."

These were the first words I heard out of Phil Carey's mouth.

"You mean I don't?" I shot back.

It was the start of something beautiful.

No doubt about it. I have dad issues. I spent many years trying to get my dad to tell me that he loved me. I didn't know what I didn't know. It's not that he didn't want to say the words. He couldn't say the words. As an adult, I have come to understand how transparent and fragile human beings are when it comes to emotions.

When Philly gave me instant disapproval, I was an old hand at it. I knew just how to handle him, and it threw him but good. From that moment on, we were as tight as a father and daughter. Thick as thieves. He loved it when I would walk in a room and shout "lock up your sons!"

I teased him all the time. It only failed me a few times, mostly towards the end of his run as the magnificent Asa Buchanan and he wasn't feeling well.

He was a cantankerous man. But underneath it all was a softie. All you had to do was bring up his wife Colleen, or his kids, and his whole face would change. Mush.

Bob Woods tortured Phil every week with some kind of practical joke. He once got up in the grid which has to be a good 50 feet high and off limits to actors, just to hang a rubber bat on a fishing wire and lower it into Philly's scene right in the middle of it. Phil thought he was hallucinating. There he was in the middle of being Asa Buchanan, in all his glory, and this rubber bat was tickling his head, wings a-flap.

Woods would take a picture of Phil's face, and super-impose it in some embarrassing situation, and then tack it all over the studio and dressing room area. He taped it to every single camera in the studio. It was Philly's nightmare and he couldn't make it go away. Woods did that to him everyday for a solid year.

When he and Clint Ritchie and Woods would get together, it was pure magic. Talk about twinkle! The whole room would light up. The three of them would turn into teenaged boys when they were together. Once, they were horsing around pretty good, and one of the ladies on the show turned and hissed, "how do you people get dates??!" Clint said, "we pay for them!" Philly, Clint and Woods just roared. They were a fearsome three-some.

As gruff as Phil pretended to be, it was all a ruse. He hid his cigarettes from his wife. She was the boss lady and we all knew it. She loved that man. She is the best wife a man could ever hope for, and he knew it. He adored her. I used to call her a Saint. I still think that.

Poor Woods had to make two sad calls to me this week.

I was so sad to learn of his passing. But how perfect that he and Clint went on ahead at the same time.

Philly was a good catholic. He loved the Lord, and I know that he and Bucky went home to be with the Father. That gives me much peace.

In show business, whenever we finish an acting job in the theatre, we say, "I had a good run." That means we did a good job, had fun, made the most of the task at hand, and excelled.

He had a good run.

Who am I kidding? He owned the joint.

Philly, you will ALWAYS be the Big Daddy...

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Carry On Clint Ritchie....


I just heard about Clint Ritchie going on ahead, and I thought this would be an appropriate place to pay my respect.

I adored Clint. When I came to ONE LIFE TO LIVE 11 years ago, he was one of the actors whom I worked with the most. He became Lindsay Rappaport's first on-screen husband.

Working with Clint was always interesting. He was a complicated man, and his playful wickedness always made for a fun day. He was someone I loved playing practical jokes on, and I was relentless on the poor man. For this very reason, over the course of the next few years, his nickname for me became "The Little Dickins."

My favorite day with Clint was when I ordered Chinese food for lunch. I am known there as the breakfast/lunch/dinner orderer - NO ONE loves to eat more than I do. Even though we have dressing rooms, the hair and make-up room is where all of the actors eat together (and for that reason, fish is strictly off-limits) This day would be no different. Oh yes, I wanted an audience for THIS one!

I waited for the delivery in the lobby so he wouldn't suspect what I was up to. I then went quietly to my dressing room to begin the evils of the best practical joke I would ever play on him. I fished his fortune cookie out. Armed with a pair of tweezers, and the skill of a surgeon, I extracted the fortune out of the cookie. I then cut a little piece of paper EXACTLY the same size as the fortune. With incredible detail, I typed a new fortune on the small piece of paper. I can't tell you what I wrote (I was a lot more naughty then than I am now) let's just suffice it to say that I knew it would make him absolutely double over with laughter.

I then carefully stuffed the fortune back into the fortune cookie (without so much as nicking it!) and put the cookie back in it's little plastic bag. Crawling, laughing and skulking all the way down the hall to the hair and make-up room, I placed the brown bag of Chinese food on the table, and called him to the make-up and hair room over the PA system to "COME AND GIT IT!"

Well, Clint sauntered in with that true-life cowboy walk, and sat down to have what he thought would be a nice little Chinese lunch before taping. The meal seemed like it lasted forever. I felt like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. I couldn't WAIT for him to finish so he would open that fortune cookie! At last, the moment came. He sat back, patting his belly, and thanked me for lunch. I opened his cookie wrapper (I didn't want him to see that it has already been opened) and practically sang, "here's your fortune cookie!" I cracked mine open enthusiastically, which prompted him to subconsciously crack his cookie open and read it at the same time. As if on cue, he pulled the fortune out, and, as he did, I read mine out loud (of course I made it up) "You will have the love and good will of friends today." I said.

He smiled, suspecting nothing.

I then asked "what's your fortune say?" He put his reading glasses on, and looked at it. It was naughty and personal. He stared at it. I asked again...."what does it say?" He sat staring at it, as if he could barely believe what he was seeing. When his mind finally put it all together, he roared, and mean ROARED with that beautiful Clint Ritchie laugh, and began showing it proudly to anyone who would look. I had tears running down my face, and so did he. Laughter is the best everything. "YOU LITTLE DICKENS!" He bellowed. And that man could bellow, let me tell you.

Between me and Bob Woods, I don"t know who drove him more crazy with the practical jokes. But I do know we both loved him like a brother. Some would say he was difficult. I would just say he was authentic. Did he have issues? Oh yeah, but hey, come on, who doesn't? He could be talked to and reasoned with, and, after all, he was a true cowboy. I think it's safe to say that we would all learn a lot from being friends with each other.

We would have many of those funny days, many great talks. We would also have some difficult days, but, that's what makes us grow up.

Being a forensics fan and true gore-meister, I loved hearing about his tractor accident many years before when he had been literally run over by his own tractor, and he loved telling me about every gory detail.

Many people, including the producer at the time told me that I brought out the best in Clint. The truth is, he brought out the best in me. He made my fun side come out to play when we worked together. He challenged me in my patience and taught me tolerance. He made me laugh. He made me learn how to be "one of the guys" and I loved it. I was an honorary cowgirl-dude, and he loved it.

I will miss knowing you are on this Earth, Bucky. You may have given up your human suit, but we will all see you again someday... and, I WILL have another fortune cookie waiting.

God bless Your Journey HOME....

The Little Dickins

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