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Things I'm Learning Along the Way With Carol Burnett: Part 2


When I was a very young child I knew about magic. I don’t mean the Doug Henning kind, although, his TV specials were, in all seriousness, very special back in the day. No, I mean that things would quite often show up the way I thought they would. And when I thought they would! Like a lot of children, (most children?) I was very intuitive. My thoughts felt powerful and Creative with a capital ‘C’. I believed in my thoughts

When I watched Carol Burnett from my red-carpeted den in Highland Indiana, I always felt like I knew her; that I would know her or at the very least that I SHOULD know her. And I was certain that I would grow up to be just like her. I sang, I acted, I danced, I wore my own version of Bob Mackie.

But as I grew up, “stuff happened” and like most people, I lost what came so naturally as a little human animal. All of that intuitive power and magnetic ability started to disappear and I no longer believed that I was creating anything in my life. Life was simply happening to me.

By the time I was 30 I was so “far” from who I was born to be that the most important people in my life didn’t know that I sang or did voices. People that I lived with, my best friends, people I was in love with, didn’t have a clue. And they didn’t have a clue, because I didn’t even remember!

The list of odd jobs and career paths I was on to distract or ‘find myself’ (I’m not sure which) was staggering. Retail, restaurants, massage, admin help, design, psychology, production work, social work. You name it, I’ve done it. Once I worked for two days building a concrete wall.

At the age of 32, things turned around and I started singing professionally. The moment I woke up from my ten year slumber and went back to music was the moment, and it was “a moment”, when I realized that no one in my family and none of my friends would love me any less if I never sang a note again. The only person whom it would be unbearable for was me. I then understand that living ‘that’ life was just not going to be an option. So I found my nerve again.

At 41, I started doing voiceovers professionally. Since I was very young, I ‘heard’ characters and practiced accents all the time. But I never ventured down that career path because, well, that was for ‘those other’ people who clearly had or knew something about voices that I didn’t. No, I couldn’t possibly have a career doing something that came so easily to me. That would be crazy! But now at 41 I was getting a divorce. I had a nine-month old to support and had no family around to help with my son so I needed to figure out what I could do from home and I needed to figure it out fast! Voiceover work was the answer.

Even though I was only married for about 20 minutes, my divorce took about 20 years and it was one of the worst things I have ever gone through. But, and it’s a big one, if I was still married I would not have been forced to find that part of myself again. And I would have never ventured to put videos up on YouTube.

And . . . I would have never met Carol Burnett.

The other day my friend Harry saw this picture of me with Carol, Julie Andrews, Tony Bennett and all these wonderful entertainers from The Mark Twain Prize, and wrote to me, “there is magic in this world”. My friend knows where I have been in my life and sees how wonderfully things have unfolded. The one thing that I can say I changed was that I started to believe in magic again, just like I did as a child in that red-carpeted den. I changed my adult mind about what I imagined was possible. And I let those new dreams I was picturing be as real in my thoughts as if they had already happened.

A month ago I held Carol Burnett’s hand right before she walked out onto the Kennedy Center Stage to receive an award for her contribution to American Humor. In that moment, time stood still and my dream was a reality and my reality was better than I had dreamed. There is magic here. And I know that it is here for everyone!

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