Wonder Woman Weezie Mott

Wonder Woman Weezie MottWeezie Mott, bright blue eyes and red hair, is a smart, energetic, creative and accomplished wonder. One of 5 siblings, “a wonderful sister and three outstanding brothers,” still a smile in her voice as she talks about this family she loves. From her first visual memory of tea with her mother, those wonderful older siblings, the death of her mother when Weezie was 5, being sent to boarding school where the food was “horrible” from the age of 7 until the 8th grade “when I got to come home and throw my uniform away”, adamantly declining the prospect of life as a nun, world travel, life as a nurse, life in the navy, falling in love, staying in love, motherhood, Cordon Blue cooking school in France and much more right up to now.

Has she slowed down? Not at all. She runs a cooking school of her own now, and for the past 20 years has taken her students on the kind of European culinary tours no travel agency can even offer. Motoring With the Motts. Weezie’s love letter is one she wrote decades ago about her own upcoming marriage, a girl-to-girl confession of deep love and more. Still going strong at 92 and says, “I’ll always be a redhead!”

To listen to Weezie, with her candor and laughter, talk about her life in the past, the present and the future is to know how limitless life can be.

Love the second time around does not diminish the first

Love the second time around does not diminish the firstHow does a person continue, one foot in front of the other, when a spouse dies? The difficulty in living day by day without the person we thought would be ours forever is overwhelming. The doleful task of “moving on” with life can be paralyzing until we realize that there is room for more than one love in one heart.

We have here, in her own words, the story of a woman whose husband died after a long illness, and she eventually fell in love with a wonderful man only to learn that a second love does not diminish the first. Actually, she says her first husband found the second for her. To listen to this double love story is to be assured that love is a thread through life that need not be severed.

David Fitzgerald finds atheism in his search for truth

David Fitzgerald photographed by Brooke Armstrong

David Fitzgerald photographed by Brooke Armstrong

David Fitzgerald is the author of Nailed; Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All, and The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion Book One: The Mormons and is now working on a third. His very titles are what you might call combative until you hear David so sweetly call them provocative. His topic is one we all know about, or think we do, yet atheism, as it is turns out, is more complicated than you might realize. David is a an atheist on the hunt for truth about Jesus. He wants people to think.

Raised as a devout Baptist by parents who live a life strongly based on that faith, David never questioned one precept. He was happy in his religious life, content with his beliefs and a thoroughly cheerful, emotionally open fellow. Then one day he had a conversation with a young woman who told him something he never knew about another religion. One simple fact, and that was all it took for David to realize he did not know enough about enough. So he started to question, read, and research and follow the trail of truth he could find. His goal was simple enough, to get to the truth about the life, times and accomplishments of Jesus. The goal may be simple, but the path to knowledge takes some careful mapping.

To listen to David talk, with his usual extreme intelligence, openness, and light-hearted good humor about his journey on the route to demonstrable knowledge is a lesson in too much to describe here. I invite you to do yourself the favor of hearing David talk about life as an atheist in his own words and voice. He is still happy in his (non)religious life, content with his new beliefs and still a thoroughly cheerful emotionally open fellow.

Beth Wellington’s love letters as art

Beth Wellington, San Francisco artist, poet and jewelry designer

Beth Wellington, San Francisco artist, poet and jewelry designer

Beth Wellington a Marketing Manager by day and in her heart at all times a poet, artist and jewelry designer, is represented by the City Arts Gallery in San Francisco, which is a cooperative over 100 artists. It was as a street poet with typewriter poised to do impromptu works for passers by that led to her exhibit on love letters. The show was called Love Letters Written and Unwritten, and its presentation was 60 of her poems fastened to ribbons and displayed in the window of the gallery. She was surprised at the zeal with which viewers surveyed this presentation, at how they engaged with the work. I was not in the least surprised. Many of the words given to her as a starting point for her poems revolved around love and relationships. And, love, as you have surely heard, is what makes the world go ‘round.

Beth’s creative core coupled with her practical faculty generates art you can take into your daily life. I invite you to listen to Beth read some of her poems, talk about honest expression of affection, love and what it takes to put yourself out there on the street with naught but an old fashioned typewriter, a smile on her face and an open heart. Her approach to life and love is one of courage,  her candor and humor heartwarming, and her attitude an assurance that offering love is a plus to any life. 

David Friedman Broadway composer, conductor, author, speaker, television personality is in SF

David Friedman Broadway composer, conductor, author, speaker, television personality is in SFWhen there is more talent than time, what is a person to do? Aha, you do what David Friedman does. You do not let time, doubt, pounding heart or tomorrow’s to-do list stand in the way. You do what David does. You do not dawdle in the past or future; you live in the moment.

David’s main career, should you feel the impossible need to categorize, is as a Broadway, film and popular song composer for many of our best-loved singers, conductor, lyricist. You would think this would be enough, but there is more. He is equally successful as an author of The Thought Exchange and public speaker, and is  a regular guest on the Today Show Everyone Has a Story Series with Kathie Lee Gifford on which he writes a song each month and performs with a current Broadway star on the first Thursday of each month. He travels in his realm of public speaking. And, he has time for a family and social life!

May I invite you to listen to David talk about The Thought Exchange, his metaphysical system for paying attention to the signs your body is sending you and finding your way to living a sensational life. David’s life is, as you can see, sensational and then some. Visit David’s website for information on his work, his shows, his music, and his speaking engagements like the one in San Francisco California right now this weekend where you can take part in his music and his motivational speaking, which he does with compelling candor, inimitable wit and the ability to present the complex as utterly accessible. His love letter? To himself I hope.

The personal and musical joy of Jonathan Poretz

Jonathan Poretz with his father Arthur

Jonathan Poretz with his father Arthur

San Francisco’s Jonathan Poretz is a talented San Francisco singer. Before that he was a New York singer, who, at the age of 4  was given a mic and coerced into singing The Twist, a la Chubby Checkers, to accompany his cousin at a dance recital. He caught the bug. He sang in the school choir and had his own band at the age of 13. Jonathan’s love for and appreciation of his grandparents and parents (Arthur and Florence) is not only joyful but a lesson in the success that family love can enable. When it comes to parental influence, he says his mother is the Frank Sinatra and his father the Mel Tormé. Although Jonathan is described as having a  style that blends Sinatra, Tormé, Bennet and Darrin, truth be told, his style is all his delightful own. This is a man who is filled with love and with music, and you can hear one in the other. There is contagious enthusiasm in his voice as he talks about his family and his music.

His love letter? Plural, really. For starters his dad, but there are others to follow. When I heard the name of Jonathan’s new show, Songs From My Father, the Art of My Music, to be done on his father’s birthday, I reached for the kleenex.

Mary Anne Radmacher and the gift of greatness in every woman

Mary Anne Radmacher, a woman of many talents that speak to many people

Mary Anne Radmacher, a woman of many talents that speak to many people

Mary Anne Radmacher is, with Liz Kalloch, co author of She: A Celebration of Greatness in Every Woman, a gorgeous book in tribute to just that, the greatness in every woman. This book is the result of a wonderful friendship and imaginative partnership of two women who lovingly communicate in a fusion of lyrical words and vibrant pictures. To hear Mary Anne talk about her childhood time in the hospital and the influence that had on her creative spirit is a lesson in what inventive children absorb. To hear her talk about what followed is to learn about possibilities realized. Her personal history with letter writing, not to be missed, is beyond charming. Yes, She: A Celebration of Greatness in Every Woman is a book about women, written and illustrated by women but a book that will hold meaning for men and women alike.

Robin L. Flanigan on her book, climbing Mt.Kilimanjaro and adopting her daughter

Robin L. Flanigan is a freelance writer with a wide variety of experience who knows how to talk about what is important and do it with the kind of honesty that lets others into her personal sphere. She knows that sharing stories is a direct route to helping other people. So she writes essays. And, now a book. Personal narrative non-fiction is her joy and power as you can see from her new book and her adoption story that she retells here (get tissues ready). To hear Robin talk about her writing and how she gets there is a teaching about paying attention to the details that give depth to a life worth sharing.

Robin’s book is a true story about a woman named Bonnie who comes home one night to find that her husband has died. She mourns for 18 months and her decision to move beyond her grief sends her to the summit of the world’s tallest free-standing mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro, an experience through which she falls in love with one of the climbers. Yes, really. Robin, not just brave enough to conquer personal mountains but to scale them physically as well, was on that same trek and how she came to meet Bonnie.

Stay tuned to hear when this book is out and ready for you to read. To stay in touch with Robin, you can reach her on twitter via  @thekineticpen

Dawn Mittleman sifts through the “stuff” to give you space for living

Dawn Mittleman sifts through the "stuff" to give you space for livingGetting rid of the stuff that is crowding you out of your own living space is sometimes too overwhelming to tackle. Do you need to keep every little collectible? Should you keep that fabulous dress if only it would come back into fashion? Photographs? Your mother’s china? Whether you are downsizing or just trying to get into your own closets or basement, the choices can be too daunting to face alone.

The good news is that you do not have to face it alone. Dawn Mittleman, with patience and without judgment, can walk right into your life of overwhelming jumble to give you space and peace of mind that you thought was either out of reach or buried beneath mounds of litter. To listen to Dawn talk about the art of de-cluttering is reassuring in its own right. Whatever the reason to lesson the amount of material goods in your life, Dawn has her eye on what to keep and what to let go. Love letters? They stay.

Noah Griffin bringing back the elegance of Cole Porter

Noah Griffin and Meredith Browning devoted to musical literacy are bringing a new awareness of Cole Porter.

Noah Griffin and Meredith Browning devoted to musical literacy are bringing a new awareness of Cole Porter.

To say that San Francisco’s Noah Griffin is a singer is to under-explain his status in the entertainment world. He is a performer with the exceptional style and elegance of a sort not so often seen these days. He is also a born educator with a passion for musical literacy and history well taught. His wife Meredith Browning has her own interesting connection to the world of musical theater as well as a talent for launching projects. With this team, lamenting what seems to be a vanishing awareness of the music and thoughtful, well-crafted lyrics of composers of yesteryear went so far, and they decided to do something about it. Noah and Meredith have created The Cole Porter Society with some interesting plans and goals. To listen to Noah and Meredith talk about why they created this society is in itself a musical history lesson. Their love letter plan? Historically charming, and relevant to future generations.