Archive for category People

Storm Large Puts Exclamation Point on Portland Run

I originally published this article in The Portlander on August 20, 2009. Since then, Storm Large has published a gripping memoir that is a great ride and a great read. If you did not get to see her one-woman show, go buy the book and imagine her performing it for you right there in your living room.

This is my nod to Storm. You go girl!

Storm Large in Crazy Enough

It’s Sunday at 2pm, and the Ellen Bye Studio at the Portland Armory is sold out for the last performance of Crazy Enough, the one-woman show that is Storm Large’s life story. The sign at the door warns of explicit language and adult subject matter, so you wouldn’t expect to see your mother or your grandfather there in the audience, but they are.

On the small stage: three male musicians and one very tall microphone stand, which has everyone whispering, “Is she really that tall?” The lights go out, the music comes up, and when the lights slowly return there she is: all six feet of her, wearing sneakers, loose black pants, and a fitted tank top that leaves nothing to the imagination.

There is some small talk, and then the tall confident woman on stage quickly transforms into a vulnerable young girl who is desperately trying to find some stability in a home that has none. And thus the gritty ride begins.

The audience is rapt as they watch Large try to navigate the completely unpredictable nature of her schizophrenic mother, who is there one day and institutionalized the next. Large painfully relives the moment when a doctor tells her that insanity is in her genes, and she too will be fighting the same demons some day. She soothes herself with promiscuity, alcohol and a heroin addiction.

The audience is stunned to silence, brought to laughter, and tempted to tears, watching her gripping life story unfold at their feet. She has their hearts in the palm of her hand as she takes them willingly on a journey of wanting, desperation, hope and finally love.

By the end of the performance there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Storm Large is not just another voice talent, but a formidable actress and incredibly engaging performer. She reminds the audience that, “Life isn’t safe. It isn’t always quiet. And it certainly isn’t small.” The lights dim, and she exits the stage one last time. It is clear that although her run with Portland Center Stage has ended, this show will live on if Large is willing to revive it in another venue.

Storm Large is in fact crazy enough and her life is indeed one big exclamation point.

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Psychic Suzanne Shows the Way Home

Every once in a while I write a feature article for The Portlander. This particular feature is personal because I’ve known Suzanne Jauchius for almost 20 years. When I heard she had written a book I immediately called her to ask for an interview.

She gave me a copy of the book, which I devoured over the course of a week, and then we sat down for a 2-hour interview. I also attended the book launch party that I refer to in the article.

Suzanne is a pretty amazing woman. If she ever comes through your city on a speaking engagement, make an effort to go see her. She has an undeniable presence.

 

SuzanneJauchiusandStryderPsychic Suzanne Shows the Way Home

Suzanne Jauchius was just eight years old when her mother told her she would no longer be allowed to attend birthday parties if she continued to bring home all of the prizes from the guessing games, because this was “not normal.” Suzanne didn’t know it at the time, but she would later grow up to make a living using the very skill she was once chastised for – seeing things that no one else could see.

Now an enthusiastic 60, at an age when most people are slowing down or retiring, Jauchius has just launched a publishing company and released her memoir, You Know Your Way Home. This is a book that makes you think on every page and forces you to examine your own life. It chronicles her life and career as a professional psychic, where she uses her psychometric abilities—holding a personal object such as a watch or ring—to see pictures of what’s happening in someone’s life. Her clients are business professionals, law enforcement officials, search and rescue teams and the curious worldwide.

The book opens with a missing persons account:

“My God! Follow that car!” I shouted, pointing emphatically beyond the gravel parking lot to the road ahead.

My friend Debbi shook her head. “Uh, excuse me. You’re the only one who can see it,” she said with a bemused smile as she turned the car onto the deserted road.

It was October, 1989.

I’d been asked by Debbi, who worked with a local search and rescue team, to assist with the search for a little boy who had been abducted.

The missing person was 4-year old Lee Iseli, the last victim of serial killer Westley Allan Dodd.

This and other stories from her career are featured in the book, yet at its core the memoir focuses on Jauchius’ journey to find herself as she bounced from one bad relationship to the next and struggled to break destructive patterns she had accepted as the norm. This is why so many people identify with her story.

“In a way I feel like I’m speaking the secret for a whole generation,” says Jauchius. “It feels mostly like empowerment. People read the book—men and women—and their reaction is an ‘ah-ha’ moment of ‘Oh my God I need to start setting boundaries. Oh my God I think I’m co-dependent. Oh my God I didn’t know that was unacceptable.’”

Over and over people come to Suzanne after reading the book and say, “This is my story. How did you get into my head like that?”

Why write a book at this point in her life? “You accumulate yourself through the years and you get to a certain age where you’re like, you know I’ve made it this far, this feels good, and I’m doing what I love and now what? And when I asked that question I kept hearing, tell your story, if for no one else for your grandchildren.” What started as a journal for her grandchildren became a book.

The road to telling her story wasn’t easy. Unable to find a taker for her manuscript, Jauchius decided to start her own publishing company. Taking this step at 60 was terrifying, but it was an investment she made in herself, and she has never looked back. “This is my life purpose, and once I started the process I never questioned it.” The company is aptly named Bree Noa, which means “second wind” in Gaelic.

The investment paid off. In the months since the official book launch, You Know Your Way Home has been doing very well. “New Renaissance (bookstore) says it’s the fastest selling book they’ve had in two years,” says Jauchius, with the excitement of a child.

Her consultation business is booming as well. Hour-long sessions with Suzanne are scheduled out months in advance. She has a monthly stint with Daria, Mitch and Ted on 105.1 The Buzz that has rocketed her to psychic super-stardom in Portland.

On September 11, friends and clients gathered at the Oswego Hills Winery to officially launch her book into the world. The tables were set with white linens, the Pinot was flowing, and the sun was setting across the vineyards. A cage of butterflies sat on each table

According to Native American Indian legend, anyone who desires a wish to come true must first capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it. Since a butterfly can make no sound, the butterfly cannot reveal the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit. In gratitude for giving that beautiful butterfly its freedom, the Great Spirit always grants its wish.

Each guest whispered wishes to the caged butterflies and released them into the warm night air. And so far, as Jauchius launches into the next phase of her life, the wishes seem to be coming true.

You Know Your Way Home is available at New Renaissance Bookstore, Powell’s Books, Steiner Storehouse, and Annie Bloom’s Books in Portland, and online at Amazon.com. You can hear Suzanne on 105.1 The Buzz the first Monday of every month at 4:30 p.m. Suzanne Jauchius can be reached at psychicsuzanne.com.

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