A brown paper bag changed the course of my life.

IMG_2957I was in a Lucky’s grocery store and saw an ad printed on a brown paper bag for a traveling exhibit of Jim Henson’s Muppets. Being an avid fan, it was something I simply had to see.

Traveling across the Golden Gate Bridge to the exhibit at Ft. Baker, what captured my full attention that day was a wall displaying all the materials that made up a Muppet. It was in that moment when I recognized how an idea on paper could be made into a 3D object that touched both child and adult.

Leaving inspired, I took my first tax return of $100, and bought a sewing machine. I read books on puppetry and sewing and crafted my own puppets. Soon, I was making them for the storytellers at the library where I worked. A year later, that endeavor awarded me a Theatre Grant, which completed my financial aid package and ultimately helped me achieve my dream of going away to college.

I hadn’t planned on majoring in Theatre, but because of my love of story, it was a natural fit. I was captured heart and soul by the process of reading a script and helping to lift a character off the page and onto the stage by costuming him or her. What a thrill it was to walk down the hall with an imagined, or historical, character!

It helped that I grew up with a children’s librarian in the family who read to me every night. I quickly morphed into that over-achieving child that exceeded the seven-book summer reading club goal by reading fifty. I wrote stories and drew my own illustrations, filling up a plastic milk crate with ideas. Some were fantastic tales of magical creatures, and one was even a carefully researched tale of a European nurse during the Great War.

Nearly seventeen years after that ad on a paper bag, I was in Seattle when I had the opportunity to shake the hands of Brian Henson and Muppeteer Karen Prell. And it was also during this time when I started to take writing more seriously by joining writing organizations and going to conferences and workshops with New York Times Best-Selling Authors.

Today, I am a professional Theatre Costumer and Fashion Seamstress, as well as a Freelance Writer. Story remains a big part of who I am. When I’m not sewing or writing, I’m behind a Nikon camera, drawing with ink, painting with watercolor or traveling…forever steadfast on the quest of learning how to be a better storyteller.