Tag Archives: la writer

Meet Joya Weinroth

Joya with Hattie, 7 and Chandler, 2
Joya with Hattie, 7 and Chandler, 2

This is Joya.

Joya will be performing in the show opening Mother’s Day Weekend. She is a mother to two beautiful girls ages 7 and 2, a wife to Josh and a writer/producer on the weekday morning show at KTTV.

She also studied Broadcast Journalism at Emerson College in Boston.

As I was planning on sharing Joya with all of you anyway today, I’d like to also share with you that she has spent a lot of time in the streets of Boston where the bombings happened this week. She also was in the newsroom at FOX in Los Angeles helping to report the story to all of us here watching and listening closely.

I talked to Joya this morning and she shared this with me:

On campus in Boston
On campus in Boston

“Its hard to put into words the sadness I feel for the city of Boston. I am overwhelmed with emotions as I sit and cover this act of terrorism for our morning show. I adopted Beantown in my heart when I started Emerson College. While I left nearly 14 years ago, its still a place that feels like home. The news of the bombings shook me to my core, because I walked those very sidewalks nearly every day for five years. The two jobs I had through college (and beyond) were located on Boyleston Street, both of them within steps of the bombing sites. I know what its like there on Marathon day… the excitement, the crowds. So today I say a prayer for Boston, for my fellow Emersonians and most importantly, for those who lost a loved one in this senseless and horrific tragedy.”

Joya is a very amazing, strong and talented woman. She has seen a few Expressing Motherhood shows in the past few years and says “… I love it. I find each show brings laughter and tears.”

When I asked her what made her decide to submit, she replied, “I always had the notion that I wanted to submit, but not before I had something real to say. I wanted my story to have substance. The piece I submitted was healing for me. Telling that story helped me grow and I hope it helps others grow as well. I’m simultaneously thrilled and scared to death to be on a stage!”

Joya at her daughter's school fundraiser
Joya at her daughter’s school fundraiser

Joya says she’s “just starting to get back in touch” with her creative side.”

She says “There are also rare days where I specifically set out to write. I put it on the calendar, I find a quiet corner of a coffee shop or library and I just go to town! Those are life affirming days because I feel so accomplished when they are done! (and then I crave another!)”


We are looking forward to having Joya grace the Expressing Motherhood stage in May.

Meet Second Time Performer, Krista Knott

Krista Knott
Krista Knott

Southern California native, Krista Knott is putting her feet on the Expressing Motherhood stage for the second time in our next show, opening May 10th. Krista had heard about the show originally through a friend and decided to submit when the next round opened. She performed in Burbank, having only to walk down the street from her house to the theatre.

She is a free lance writer who works from home and says she is up late most nights. Her “day job” is mom. Her “paying job” is as the Managing Editor for The Bright Side Project, although if she could stay home and eat bon bons and watch soaps, it would actually be “a marathon of The Walking Dead and a bucket of high quality chocolate bars.”

When I asked her about her first time on the EM stage, she said “the first time I performed was a bit of a game changer for me. I spent years as a struggling actress/unpublished writer and to take these two aspects of myself (coupled with the inextricable role of mother) and mash them together helped me work from feeling like I somehow failed in my past life since I didn’t “accomplish” anything before having kids to reconciling that I am exactly where I need to be. And that I am worthy.”

Krista, Bryan, Finn & Dash
Krista, Bryan, Finn & Dash

Krista and her fiance Bryan have been together since 2006 and have two children, Finn (5) and Dash (1 1/2). She also has a 13 year old step-son who lives out of state but spends the summers with them here in SoCal. “His sister has full blown hero worship and his visits here even trump the excitement of Disneyland.”

Krista and Bryan have been engaged since 2010 and are pleased to announce they will be getting married on May 20th….the day after Expressing Motherhood closes in Los Angeles!

“We finally realized that, with two kids, we were never going to be able justify spending money on a wedding so we are taking our parents and heading to the courthouse on our 7 year anniversary. Our five year old daughter is, by far, the most excited about this. She is obsessed with brides and grooms and can’t wait to wear her own fancy dress.”

Krista says she walked away from her first performance in EM with confidence, friendship, camaraderie and validation. “I realized it was much easier to perform as an actress because I wasn’t having to completely be myself, you know? To stand up on a stage and tell my own stories, in my own words, was absolutely terrifying. And honestly the most liberating experience I’ve ever had.”

Handmade with Love
Handmade with Love

We’re so happy Krista is going to be back on stage at The Lillian in May.

She says “this time is a little scary for me because I’m sharing something personal, something with weight. And that’s exactly why I am doing it. I believe in sharing our scary truths. I’m just a little shaky about doing it while standing in front of a group of people and not from behind the safety of a keyboard…

…I’m looking forward to looking my fear in the eye and doing it anyway.”

The Burbank Fall 2012 Cast
The Burbank Fall 2012 Cast

Amy Friedman’s New Book: Desperado’s Wife

I have heard Amy Friedman’s name a few times when people submit to be in Expressing Motherhood.

Amy Friedman

Then, just yesterday, former performer Susan Sheu emailed me saying that a wonderfully supportive woman here in LA, named Amy Friedman, had just published a book, would I help give it some publicity. Yes! Susan says this of Amy:

 “She’s an extremely generous and talented writer and teacher, and it was through her help and encouragement that I got accepted to the two writers colonies”

I love other women supporting other women. Susan told me that Amy taught the UCLA writers extension program she attended when her child was 9 months old.

Amy’s book is titled  “Desperado’s Wife.” It is about how Amy was a newspaper columnist who walked into a prison to write about the prisoners, and ended up marrying one. Yes, not your every day story. I remembered I had seen her do a reading at Spark Off Rose a year or two ago.

She has a great presence and just seems cool.

I mean come on, cool chick material!

Since I know a lot of moms out there who are interested in writing and finding time to write I thought I’d ask Amy about the classes she teaches and how long it took her to write the book. So often we get frustrated thinking our writing should happen over night. Here are my questions that with her responses:


You have taught classes at UCLA extensions writers program, what kind of class?
I’ve been teaching at UCLA Extension since 2002 and primarily teach personal essay and memoir (and a combination class that covers both). I also teach memoir at The Skirball Cultural Arts Center and at Idyllwild School of the Arts Summer Program and I teach personal essay in high schools through PEN USA’s Pen in the Classroom program (an extraordinary program that results in published collections of the students’ work. My husband and I have been doing this work together for the last five or six years as he’s a high school teacher; we’ve worked together at both Palisades Charter High and Venice High).
You also teach privately, how do those classes work?
I do occasionally teach privately–though I haven’t for a couple years now. I work as a mentor/coach with various individuals. How does this work? A little more complicated. Essentially it depends on what the person is looking to do. I also work as an editor/ghostwriter/co-author, and depending on where people are inside their books and/or collections, I work with them to see what best suits their needs. (lots of info on this on my website in fact).
How long did it take you to write this book?
Ah, how long did it take me to write this book. Nearly 10 years. I was married to my now-ex husband for 7 years (this is the story of Desperado’s Wife). We divorced in 1999, and in 2001 I met my current husband–alas, I was in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and he was in LA. Guess who moved? We married in 2002, the year I began working on the memoir. In those 10 years it took many forms–it began as memoir but I was too close to the story and was still working (despite knowing memoir well since I had published two previous memoirs–in Canada–and had been teaching the genre for years by then) from an “agenda.” In other words, I began with something to prove and soon realized that the story could not work so long as I was delivering a message. I tried to reconnect to the material by writing it as a novel, told from the point of view of a child of a prisoner (After all, I raised two girls whose father was in prison). But when I reached the end of the third draft of that novel, a beloved and important writer colleague looked me in the eye and said, “Amy, you know this needs to be memoir.” I was crushed for a few weeks, mostly because I knew he was right. And I dived in again. That was four years ago, so for the last four years I’ve been devoted to what the book finally has become.
Amy’s book, “Desperado’s Wife” is out. You can buy it on Amazon here.

A Whole New World…With Words.

Writing is my main source of creativity. My outlet.

Words mean an awful lot to me.

I LOVE words.

I love talking. I love listening. I love music, movies, poetry, television….I love writing…and there is no writing without reading.

The first novel I read as a very young child that blew me away was Where The Red Fern Grows. I remember being completely surprised at the emotion a page of ink could have. In my 30’s now, that memory still sits in a frame on the shelf in my mind.

Words. Wow.

I hadn’t ever put much thought into the beginning of understanding words for myself, and my mother isn’t here anymore for me to ask her, but when my eldest child went to kindergarten..when she learned to read… I cried.

Within the first few weeks of school, my daughter came home and showed me something. It was a pinwheel of beginner words that she pulled out of her backpack and started reading. My jaw dropped and tears filled my eyes. I called my husband at work and said “LISTEN TO THIS…SHES READING!”

We had been working on her phonograms, but when it all started coming together, I felt as if an entirely new world had just opened up to her.

Literally, a whole new world.
I’m playing off Disney here, but the scene in Enchanted when Giselle pops up into the new land through a sewer lid…..that’s exactly what I saw happening to my daughter in Kindergarten.

And now my son is there too.
It’s just so amazing. I’m watching my daughter as a seven year old write stories and read anything! I’m now witnessing it all over again in my 5 year old son who cant get enough and wants to try to read every word he finds.

Even my two year old…she knows her letters..she knows some of the phonograms..she knows they mean something.

They do.

These words…they mean something huge.

Words are powerful.

They can tear down..they can build up…they tell stories..they share how we feel..they can describe anything. Relationships can be built..or broken…with words. People can be judged..or praised…with words.

Words can be beautiful, detrimental, destructive, expressive, uplifting…creative.

Words are power.

And now my children have that power.

Jessica Guest Posts…..

In 2009, I lost my mother to breast cancer. It took me a while to realize I was now a Motherless Mother. Writing…my main source of creativity…became a necessity. It wasn’t an option. A favorite post of mine from before my mother died was shared on Patrick Caneday’s Random Thoughts On Being Human today… you can read it here.

My favorite picture of my mother and I in January 2009, 2 weeks before she died.

Nancy Murphy


Nancy Murphy writes memoir and essays, poetry and short plays. Her poems have appeared in literary magazines including The South Carolina Review, The Louisville Review, Eclipse, The Baltimore Review and Thirteenth Moon. She is also a former actor/writer member of First Stage Theater in Hollywood. Nancy recently read in Wendy Hammers’ Tasty Words show titled Poetic License. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmNCd2tTY2g)
During daylight hours she underwrites high risk insurance, and she still pines for her 20 year old daughter who is usually on the other side of the country.
Nancy will be performing in Expressing Motherhood here in LA in 2 weeks!

Don’t try this at home: The story of my creativity is the story of my divorce.

After my husband and I had our daughter, I continued to work full time in business, which required being at the office, or traveling somewhere, every day all day.  So I was obsessed with spending as much quantity of time with her as I could when I was not working, even though all the experts at the time said quality of time was more important. I thought I could achieve a work life balance and that everything would fit if I just put myself last. Well the balance was more like a seesaw and some things fell off occasionally, one of these being my marriage. The early baby years were full of joys but also stresses, and they exacerbated deep differences and conflicts in our relationship. I know in the end I was immature and he was unimaginative, or maybe it was the other way around, but we couldn’t see our way through all the anger and loneliness.


When my daughter was five, my husband and I had an amicable though painful divorce, and an agreement to co parent.  I found myself in the unwelcome and devastating place of too much time on my hands when she was with her dad. That is when the arts became my vehicle for healing first and for fuller self expression eventually. I had been drawn to occasional writing, acting and dance classes in the years before I had a baby, but never developed a confidence in my own creative life.


A personal midlife renaissance began with acting classes which then led me into writing classes. Poetry was a natural fit for me with its emotional density. Over the next few years I took classes in every genre, joined a theatre company at one point, and then found some small successes in publishing and now some public readings.  Having always been a writer of some form or another, from journalism in high school to a humanities major in college and then years of business writing, the nuts and bolts came quickly to me. Then my long running journaling habit provided the fodder.  I was hooked!


As my daughter grew, her needs changed and I found myself with more time on my hands as she became self entertaining and preferred friends over parents. So I often had the luxury of time but still found it hard to write as much as I set out to, partly because I found myself “on call” frequently as the parent of a teen. I was often either making a phone call or waiting for a phone call and this was distracting.


She is off to college now and work has risen as the biggest competitor for time to write.  But I do have more time and I am older now and feel more of a sense of urgency. If not now, when?  Frankly there is just always something else to do when it comes to writing. Starting it always feels like work. Doing it always feels grounding and self illuminating. And having written always feels fantastic!


Juliet Johnson

Juliet Johnson is a writer, blogger and a farmer, she lives near Burbank, CA and has chickens and a horse. Her kids are; Nathan 12, Emma 10, and Lilly 5 and Bruce, her 27 yearold step-son. She describes herself as, “Mom and Amish – Momish. In this big city.” How was I creative pre-kids: Very hard to remember pre-kids, by the way. I’m 46, been a mom for 12 years now. I was always a writer. I’ve written since I was 13. I wrote short stories, ran a small theater company back in Maryland, where we performed my short plays every Sunday; in LA worked as an assistant to director and two producers after college, and spent most of that time watching people and writing about them, got burned out of LA and went back to MD and took a nanny job and job at a horse farm, and the space and green empty land gave me room to write screenplays, more short stories, and essays, and begin publishing them in lit mags. Then took job in LA as a writer’s assistant, finally figuring out I should be in the writer’s offices, not on set. And then got pregnant, and that was my last job. (except for freelance writing gigs of course.) My dad was a big influence on me – he’s a director and created a bunch of 70’s and 80’s sci fi shows (like Bionic Woman), and growing up around the fertile fun atmosphere of the movie set definitely colored my world, my humor and my writing.
ImageHow am I creative post-kids: After kids, my life just exploded. I thought I felt stuff, but after kids, you just leak out love (and yelling). It’s just like being blown over by a steamroller. I started writing essays about the kids, because I was with them all the time, and they were my closest available subjects. And they were so intricate, and hilarious, and I felt like all other moms were just faking it, being organized and professional about mothering, while I felt all destroyed and vulnerable and amazing and in exactly the right place. No one talked in any raw way about mothering, so I wrote my essays and found only a few quirky sites I liked, like Imperfect Parent, to publish on. Eventually I had enough essays for a whole book, and in 2008 I published “Somebody’s Always Hungry,” a book of essays on motherhood.http://www.somebodysalwayshungry.com  I’ve done readings of my book at mommy groups. I also have a mom blog for the last few years – I post about once a week http://www.somebodysalwayshungry.blogspot.com – I also blogged professionally for a few sites – I was Safari Mom for Haydenburri Lane, and I was the Mom About the House for Hometips.com. I also wrote about 500 articles for Ehow.com, while one of my babies napped in a basket by my desk. I also get occasional jobs developing with a producer – I developed a teen show called “Brandi’s World” with a SF producer, I developed a show called “Dream Machine” with a guy out of Chicago (never got produced), I met a producer at a gymnastics class in Montrose and we’ve worked at developing some motherhood shows with nothing produced yet (on my website, there is a short video about “Earth Mother,” one of the shows.)
ImageWhen/how do I find the time:I steal my time. I write, like right now, at midnight. I write when the kids are watching a movie. I write when there’s a pizza in the oven and kids are playing happily. I steal it. My 5 year old (the caboose) is about to start kindergarten, so now I will have mornings to write or avoid writing while crying. It’s the saddest thing, the growing up.
ImageHow has my creativity changed: I have had many years to develop my strong voice. I’m not saying it’s a great voice, but it’s definitely me and beyond me, how it comes through. So I am a solid-ish me that I like, it’s entertaining, most of the time. I like myself so much better since having kids – I think that’s the biggest change creatively. Once your body has been completely distorted by pregnancy, and then rearranged afterwards, and then your soul is expanded into three other people AND yourself – you kind of have a sense of whimsy. At least, that’s how I feel. Relaxed (occasionally), and definitly funny. Life is funny. Ridiculous. And so so important, and warm. Because these kids just explode you, and take no prisoners. It’s all or nothing.