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I'm not successful in Hollywood, and I probably would never be. I think Hollywood has such an interesting model for success, and it creates those successful people. I'm not in that chosen category, but what is successful for me is that, in spite of that, I've been able to work and do the things that I wrote down that I wanted to do and be.
With acting, I started very young, and I'd performed for a lot of children in boarding schools, late at night after the dormitory lights were out. I'd have a flashlight, and I'd be Count Dracula, or Shakespeare, or Yogi Bear, and leap from bunk to bunk. I loved the laughter; I liked the way it made people feel.
I considered myself very lucky after 'Baghdad Cafe,' and I have 'The Shield.' In every genre, I've kicked butt at some point. I'm real happy.
'Bagdad Cafe' was a film that changed many, many people's lives... how they saw themselves and how they looked at their life situation. I thought I made a little movie. All the mail that I get is about how it changed lives, and that's wonderful.
I've got a general callout with the Caribbean world in which I'm interested in helping in any way to get their well written good stories out to the rest of the world. I am really interested in helping those stories get to a completion and public viewing.
When I was a kid, a pickleball hit me in the back of the head, and I had memory problems. I was in a boarding school and the nuns gave me poems to remember to try and get the memory going again.
I don't have a problem with recognition... It's very, very rarely about who I am, it's always, 'I love your work.'... It's always in relation to my work, which I think is a really lucky thing to have happen as opposed to, 'Oh, you're a famous personality.'
First, I do not sit down at my desk to put into verse something that is already clear in my mind. If it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it.
If you have a kid who goes to kindergarten and doesn't know what a circle is, doesn't know what red and green are, and doesn't know what right and left are, by the time he learns those things, the rest of the class is far ahead of him.
My experience with the Junior League, when I worked in Philadelphia for four years in reference to children's things, is that whenever they were asked they responded. They always responded with sincerity, and they did a good job.
Polls that have been taken by kindergarten, first and second grade teachers indicate that 30 percent of the kids have been deprived in some way so that they are physically unable to keep up with the class.
There have been some good studies done in California with Hispanic parents where in the course of a year, they have changed their entire nutritional intake for the better. The kid becomes, in a sense, the bridge between the educational process and the home.
That is why we are working with these various groups that have volunteers. We can get a lot of these things done. Nobody has dropped out, and a lot of people would like to join. We now know what each other does.
The Carnegie Foundation is well aware of the fact that their reports frequently find their way to dusty archives in academic institutions, but occasionally people pick up a segment of a report and act upon it.
One of the things we want to do is find ways, first, to impress these parents how important it is to have children in a situation where they can respond to them and, second, to bring intergenerational relationships into play.
The thing that reinforces my belief about that is having worked the last four years with the Safe Kids Campaign on a national basis. I am so amazed at what these little kids do in keeping their parents alerted to what they are there for.
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