The dedicated producers at KPCC In Person recently invited me to perform in their live storytelling series, Unheard L.A.—The Stories of Where you Live. In case you haven’t seen it, please check out the video above. Unheard L.A. puts community voices center stage, true stories of struggle and survival, hope and fear, and the unexpected. This show took place March 11, in my hometown of Downey, at The Downey Theatre, where I used to perform as a teen and once cried in the bathroom after I kicked a fellow dancer during a Charleston routine in Showboat. Telling my story went much better. I felt buoyed by the warm audience, and it was one of the proudest nights of my life to be part of this celebration of L.A.’s eclectic community. If you want to skip to my story about how a freeway changed my life, you can go to 50:51, but I suggest watching the whole terrific show.
For those of you I don’t run into regularly, online or in person, I have news: after nearly 16 years in Colorado, and nearly 30 years away from California, I’m returning to my home state. It will still be a new home for me, because this time I won’t be living in Los Angeles but in the oceanside community of Ventura. I’ll tell you more about that when I’ve stopped packing and unpacking, selling my house and buying a new one…but that’s not what I wanted to talk about now. I just wanted you to understand why I’ve written the following farewell tribute to Lighthouse Writers Workshop, an organization I have treasured during my time in Denver, and one of the big reasons I almost decided not to leave: