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Marsha Scarbrough - Tales to Tell

Winter Solstice Update

Thursday, December 21, 2023, at 9 am PST/10 am MST/12 noon EST/6 pm CET

Welcome! Thanks for your interest in the tales I have to tell.

I've got stories about movie stars and medicine men, about traveling the world and exploring my psyche. I know you've got intriguing tales of your own. Let's live big, vibrant lives! Let's take risks without regrets. Let's pursue dream projects and share our life adventures.


Let's start by celebrating the Winter Solstice! Please join me and a few fascinating friends online as we gather around fires, literal and metaphoric, to bring light to the longest nights of the year. I will offer a


Thursday, December 21, 2023, at 9 am PST/10 am MST/12 noon EST/6 pm CET

Sign up here for the Winter Solstice Fire Tenders Gathering from the comfort of your own hearth:

https://thepracticalshaman.com/fire-tenders-gathering/  l open the gathering in the tradition of the Yoruba people of West Africa by honoring their trickster deity, Eshu. I'll tell you all about this orisha that lives behind our heads and pushes us into mistakes and self-sabotage. Yoruba tradition asks him to come out in front of us so we can see him (and our own shadow) and honor him. Once he is honored, he becomes the messenger to all the other archetypal energies that can be our allies. We will listen to chants by a Yoruba Babalawo and dance to Eshu's rhythm as we honor our personal tricksters.



Maybe you're familiar with my memoirs Medicine Dance and Honey in the River. They recount my adventures studying with a Native American medicine man and a West African shaman. These two teachers gave me important tools for creating an emotionally healthy life. For me, the most important tool has been…dance! It can be the meditative, repetitive movement to Native American drumming, the high-energy exuberance of African dance, or simply Salsa or Zumba. The point is to move in rhythm. Life is breath and movement. The focus required to move in rhythm is mediation. You cannot think and dance at the same time. Daily dance energizes the body and refreshes the mind. That's my religion. How do you dance?



I've written a new memoir about my years working in Hollywood. 20 Years in Hollywood: Tales to Tell hasn't found a publisher yet, but I trust that it will. The point I hope it makes is that working in Hollywood is far from glamorous. It's long, exhausting hours under difficult conditions, even for stars, but especially for the technical crew. However, it does have magical moments. Here's an excerpt about one of mine:


I was working as the Key Second AD on an HBO movie starring Pierce Brosnan. We were filming in Pacific Beach near San Diego. Because Pacific Beach had so many cafes and restaurants, we didn't have a catering truck. The cast and crew were being paid per diem, so we'd break for an hour, and everyone would buy their own lunch. One day, I was eating in a small, casual chicken joint with the director, the First AD, and the production designer. Like a good Second AD, I kept my walkie-talkie headset on in case any urgent situations arose during the break. The transportation captain's voice crackled in my ear,

"Your star is walking along Pacific Beach Boulevard alone looking for a place to eat."

"Thank you. What's the cross street?"

Pierce's location was near our location. It's not good to have your star wandering alone on a crowded esplanade. He could be accosted or threatened. I left the restaurant and found Pierce on the street.

"Pierce, the director is having lunch in this chicken place if you would like to join him."

"OK. Good idea."

We walked back to the restaurant together. Pierce went to the counter to order. The tables were molded plastic picnic furniture that had four plastic seats attached to the table, so it was impossible to just pull up another chair. I was the lowest person at the table, so I knew I had to move to another table to make room for the star to eat with the director. The restaurant owners were behind the counter, and they recognized Pierce immediately and were trying to give him free food. As I was moving to an empty table Pierce was saying,

"No, please. I can pay for my own food."

He paid, picked up his food, and walked toward our party. Instead of sitting in the seat I'd vacated, he walked to my table and sat down across from me,

"No, Pierce. I moved so you could sit with the director."

"I know, but I'd rather have lunch with you."

And so we sat down and chatted and laughed as we munched on fried chicken.




My longtime friend Maryann Kuk shared her own Hollywood tale with me. Her late husband's father, Elmer Clifton, was a director, screenwriter and actor from the early days of silent movies. He has his own Wikipedia page with a dashing photo. As an actor, he appeared in D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance. As a director, he was the first to discover "It" girl Clara Bow. Later in his career, he sailed around the world in a clipper ship with his wife and a film crew shooting stock footage of exotic locations. Read about him here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmer_Clifton


If you have a minute, share a bit of your story with me!



Tis the season to give books! The gift of a book can be a gift of adventure, inspiration, comfort, or revelation. To boot, Amazon will deliver it for you.







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Wishing you a warm Winter Solstice and Happy Holidays!



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