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Meet Mandy Hitchcock

by KeAnne on April 24, 2014

Mandy, our second lawyer and runner, was the first person we auditioned and by the end of her piece, we were reaching frantically for the Kleenex.  She confessed on the questionnaire that she “is so bad at this,” so let’s see how she does.  Meet Mandy!

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Mandy Hitchcock

Mandy Hitchcock lives in Carrboro with her husband and children. She describes her husband as the best man she has ever known:

How we ever managed to stumble into one another after a decade of wrong turns and grief is utterly beyond both of us, so we just bask in what we have every moment we get. We’ve lived through the death of our child and a life-threatening illness, and while we hope that we’ve seen the darkest of our days for many years to come, we also know that our bond is resilient, that we are resilient.

Mandy’s family is a family of 5:

I have three children, two living here with me on earth, one living so vividly in my heart and mind. My first, my oldest, my Hudson, is not here to do and be all that a big sister should do and be, but I am trying my hardest to make sure that her younger siblings know she is with them still. My middle child, who carries the mantle of being the oldest, but not the oldest, is a nearly three-year-old boy name Jackson whose sense of wonder, sense of joy, and sense of humor never cease to amaze me. He brought the sun back into the darkest corners of our lives when he was born, and he has not ceased to shine since. And my youngest child, a 7-month-old girl who was put on this earth to keep me young, teach me patience, and remind me that I need an appointment with my audiologist (who told me ten years ago that I’d have a hearing aid by now–that was before I had kids), is a marvel and a force unto herself. While she is the same carbon copy of her big sister that my son is and has the same older-than-her years countenance, she is otherwise as unlike her older two siblings as she could possibly be. She is a force unto herself and is already telling the world to get ready for her.

Mandy works as a Clinical Assistant Professor at UNC School of Law, teaching first-year legal research and writing, helping newbie law students “try to figure out what the hell they got themselves into and how, maybe, to get out of it alive.”

Mandy’s hobbies include writing “(duh),” hiking, baking and eating what she’s made, throwing rocking toddler birthday parties, Easter egg hunts, and holiday cookie parties, “(OK, the last two kinds of parties are still aspirational goals that will hopefully be realized this year, our second in our forever home)”, reading good books, trying and usually failing to grow some stuff in the dirt, trying to one day become an actual endurance athlete rather than just a person who does endurance events occasionally.

We have Mandy’s friends to thank for her participation in Listen to Your Mother. A friend of hers was in the 2013 DC cast, and two different friends here in the Triangle sent her the link about LTYM RDU accepting submissions.

Mandy loves good books, and her favorite writers tend to come from books she’s read recently. Current favorites include Kate Atkinson, Kazuo Ishiguro, John Green, and Chad Harbach but some that have stood the test of time for her include Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Barbara Kingsolver, Pat Conroy and John Irving. Mandy sighs, “If only there were more hours in the day for reading good books.”

Mandy’s writing credits include academic/legal publications, but she fears they will be of little interest to anyone.  She also blogs at One Good Thing.

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 Not bad at all! Mandy’s brutally honest piece will rip out your heart. Experience it on May 6 and May 8.

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Meet Rebecca Lanning

by KeAnne on April 22, 2014

It’s Rebecca Lanning’s birthday today, so it seems fitting that she should be the cast profile of the day!

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Rebecca Lanning

Rebecca Lanning lives in Durham with her husband and two sons, Will (20) and Tate (16). Rebecca’s husband Frank Godwin is a cinematographer with nearly 30 years of experience in television and film. Rebecca notes that he worked with Katie Holmes, “pre-Tom,” and Miley Cyrus, “pre-twerk”. The family is rounded out by two dogs and a cat who were all born in the same year– 2001. Muses Rebecca, “In human years, the dogs are 61 and the cat is 64. That doesn’t seem fair.”

Rebecca has worked as a freelance writer for over 20 years but has a “vast and varied” employment history.  She drove a school bus in Raleigh at the age of 17.  As an undergrad at UNC in the early 80s, she taught exercise classes “a la Jane Fonda (leg warmers and all).”  She later worked for Vogue magazine in San Francisco and at a home for unwed pregnant teenagers in Manhattan. She also taught composition and creative writing at N.C. State, worked as an editor and advice columnist for Teen Magazine in Los Angeles and tutored learning disabled students in Wilmington, NC.

Rebecca’s hobbies include spending time with friends and family, reading, traveling, hiking, watching movies and volunteering at Carolina Friends School.

Rebecca’s participation in Listen to Your Mother comes via a cast member from last year’s show:

Michele Lynn, a friend and LTYM 2013 Cast Member, encouraged me to submit a story. Maybe encouraged isn’t the right word. Cajoled? Prodded? Pressured? Michele is very persuasive. She told me that her experience with LTYM was one of the highlights of her year. I’m glad I listened to HER.

Rebecca admits to having a soft spot for Southern women writers, past and present, including Josephine Humphreys, Flannery O’Connor, and Lee Smith (her beloved thesis adviser). She also admires poets Wendell Berry, Mary Oliver, and Billy Collins as well as all the “brilliant, thoughtful” writers whose works grace the pages of The Sun Magazine.

Rebecca’s writing has been featured in Brain, Child Magazine, The Washington Post, Haiku Journal, the News & Observer Sunday Reader and elsewhere.

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Rebecca’s piece will charm you and make you laugh. Be charmed in person on May 6 and May 8.

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Meet Lisa Bulls

April 21, 2014

Lisa Bulls is petite and quiet, but don’t let her size or demeanor fool you. She has a powerful voice and stories to tell. *** Lisa Bulls was born in Baltimore, Maryland and grew up in Richmond, Va as the oldest of three children. After visiting NC with her mother on a 2-day trip, she knew she wanted to return. Needing a change, Lisa moved to NC on January 1, 1998, a day perfect for new beginnings, and has called Raleigh home for 16 years. Lisa will celebrate her 13th anniversary with her husband Spencer, whom she refers to as her “soul mate,”  in July.  She also has two daughters, whom she calls her “Princesses”, Brandi and Camri. Her family also consists of a very active puppy named Kobe and her first grandchild, Ahmare (born in March), nicknamed “Mookie” by his doting grandmother. Lisa works as a Program director at Wake Technical Community […]

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Meet Local Sponsor Jess Rotenberg

April 19, 2014

If you are anything like me, having your picture taken isn’t at the top of your list of fun things in life. When a camera comes out, I inadvertently thrust my chin back into my neck, open mouth smile, and squint my eyes shut tight. That, my friends, is my version of posing. It takes a lot more than a good camera and a steady hand to make a great photographer. Aside from the craft and skill of learning all the equipment and editing, it takes a really special talent to capture people honestly, beautifully, and profoundly. Jess Rotenberg embodies that talent. Last year, Jess was our first in-kind sponsor. She came on board as a mother and a business owner in order to capture our show in photographs. She did just that. She captured the show, and more impressively, she captured each individual’s spirit in the pictures she took that night last […]

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Meet Local Sponsor Blue Lotus

April 18, 2014

It seems like every year I chant like a mantra, “surely next year won’t be as stressful,” but unfortunately, it never comes to pass.   And that’s why I’m glad to discover local sponsor Blue Lotus! When Jill Sockman first opened her yoga studio seven years ago, yoga was not yet a mainstream past-time. Since then, its benefits have been well-documented in hundreds of studies. From the relief of stress and pain to increased strength, improved circulation, weight control, and better mental health, yoga is regularly touted in mainstream publications as beneficial for anyone. In Raleigh, Blue Lotus, which features a range of classes—from slow and meditative to vigorous and challenging—offers something for everyone. Co-producer Liisa Obgurn is a major fan:  As a chronically stressed, working mother of three young children, when I first entered its doors in 2007, I breathed a sigh of relief. Within the first year of practicing there, I […]

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