All through my childhood, I struggled with finding a way to communicate with others. My stutter made verbal communication difficult and emotionally painful, and I searched for others ways of expressing myself. I began to draw at an earlier age, studying at the Art Institute of Chicago between the ages of nine and eleven. Gradually expanding into painting, still photography, and architectural design, I received numerous awards for my work. When I was sixteen I took a film class in high school. I teamed up with a friend, and we made a super 8 film together for our final project (Progress, 1974). I loved creating the film, and felt a sense of joy and purpose. When we showed the film in class, people laughed and cried. I felt a chill shoot up and down my spine as the flickering light and dancing celluloid images touched the hearts and minds of others. Time appeared to stand still, and I experienced a feeling of deep connection with everyone in the room. I also had a sense of great mystery, as though I had become a channel for something greater than myself. Suddenly, I knew that this was my path, my gift, my calling.
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