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I enjoy reading. I enjoy reading aloud. I enjoy adding in the inflections, the drama, the pregnant pauses, whispers, gasps, and all the peripheral hoo-hah that makes a spoken piece visual, sensual, an immersion experience.

Sometimes I have to tone it down when reading to smaller children… ‘The Monster at the End of the Book’ (featuring lovable old Grover from Sesame Street) can get really chilling when I read it with all the bells and whistles.

I especially enjoy being the Lay Reader at church. I read the passages from the Old and New Testaments to help people hear it in the ‘now’ despite being written in the stilted English of the New King James Revised Bible translation. I make that language sound ‘normal’, the people fully human with all the fears and foibles that carries.

After the service I get all sorts of suggestions to read for pay (sorry – very full field already), read for the blind (thanks, my sister already does that in NJ very well and Boston says they are fully staffed— I asked), and how they finally understood the passage because of how I read it (my personal favorite).

I am proud of the compliments I get, although I freely admit I had a lot of help learning, developing, and emulating that style of reading from my mother, a wonderfully expressive reader, and also, Cloris Leachman.

Yes, Cloris Leachman of ‘Frankenstein’, Broadway, and ‘Dancing with the Stars’ fame. She delivered a monologue on the old Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (that was pre Leno days) in the original Macbeth wording that was so natural, so compelling, so *real* that you forgot it wasn’t contemporary English.

I have striven to emulate those two ever since.

So, thanks, mom. People say you done real good with me. I don’t think Cloris Leachman* gives two hoots—or even one—for the credit I give her, but my mother does.

Speaking of hoots/hooters, etc., Cloris Leachman is 83 and she posed in a bathing suit (air-brushed some, but not overly so) for InTouch magazine this July.

Damn! I could look that good with a dedicated team of health trainers, and air brushing. May I have them now, please?

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