If you’re a reviewer and would like to receive a review copy of An Agoraphobic’s Guide to Hollywood – How Michael Jackson Got Me Out of the House, please email darlenecraviottoATdarlenecraviottoDOTCOM (email address spelled out to prevent spam).

Interviews and Q & A are also  available upon request.

132 thoughts on “Contact

    • Hi Darlene. You wouldn’t believe our weather! I don’t. At the moment it is actually COLD, as well as wet and blowing a howling gale. And worse is forecast for the weekend. Yet a few days ago we had the hottest temperatures we’ve had in June for years. I think the weather is having a nervous breakdown. Which is why I am enjoying cyberspace so much. Apart from the technicalities, it is great fun meeting all you great writers. All the best for now, William.


  1. Hi Darlene,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I run a chapter every week from one of my unpublished books. Currently running a memoir on traveling Europe with my husband while he consulted, back at the Millennium. My published novel, Her Mother’s Heart was born on that trip.
    I have a few friends in Hollywood. Bob Hayes, of Airplane fame, commented on my book. Super nice guy! I will check out your blog often.


  2. Hi Darlene,

    Thanks for your kind words. Let me know what you think of Executive Severance. A sequel, working title “The Golden Parachute”, is in the works. I just have to decide if I want to compose it on Twitter or through other channels.

    Bob Blechman


  3. Hi Darlene,

    I saw your posts over by Books and Writers Group at LinkedIn. I like your site and I just read some of your writing 🙂

    When you have some time you can check out my poetry and writing blog:



  4. Hi Darlene,
    I posted two pictures of you with your pantents on Zaks facebook page. Did you see them? I am the daughter of Charles Prescott who is the grandson to Marquesa Gonzales. (Maria’s sister)


    • So happy to meet you! The only photos I saw on Zak’s FB were of Tia Marquesa, and E.J. and Jenny Craviotto (my grandparents). I didn’t see any photos of my parents. Tia Marquesa was my great-great aunt, and that photo of her looks like my grandfather in drag!!! Her face is exactly his face and that means he must have favored the looks of the Gonzales/Garcia side of the family. Genealogy is fascinating, isn’t it?


      • I am having a blast exploring my roots! I will post the pics of you as a baby with your parents! Looking at my parents photo albums trying to identify everyone and once and for all LABEL! What a concept! Hahaha


  5. Hi Darlene,

    I thoroughly enjoyed your book and can relate quite a bit with having the challenges of agrophobia too.
    I think many people would be surprised if they knew that about me as I have done many things such as travelling overseas (From Australia to the US) and yet get overwhelmed in busy shopping centres. I do get myself out and about on my own but when things are difficult my husband is my safety person too:)
    I have lately been focusing on writing, in particular children’s books and have a publisher interested in one – yay:) I have also got an idea for a movie (but you’ve never heard that from anyone! LOL). I would appreciate any suggestions you have for this process.



    • Hi Farah! Thanks so much for reading my book, and also for coming here and commenting on my website. It sounds as though we share the challenges of agoraphobia, and I totally understand how you could do some traveling and still struggle at times. Yes, it does help to have a support person, and through the years I’ve worked hard at building up my trust in a few close friends too. I can look back at specific times in my life where I’ve had to work at venturing out of the house, and along the way I’ve learned different ways to help myself feel safer in the world. Certainly, the job with Michael was an important first step, but there were other times, and other important steps I also took that really helped me a lot. I may write a couple of blog posts about that over the next few months. I encourage you to come back and add your voice to the conversation too!

      Congrats on having a publisher interested in your work! The best (and fastest) way for anyone to get a movie made is to write a book that Hollywood wants. They are always looking for ideas, and books that generate readers also generate audiences. I always encourage writers to write their stories and get them out there to be read. Screenplays are fun to write, but unless you have an agent peddling your scripts, it’s super difficult to get them read by the people who make the films.


  6. Thankyou for your feedback Darlene and I will take it all on board. Will definately comment on further conversations you have regarding agoraphobia. I think it’s one of those things that can happen very quickly so the faster someone deals with it the less ingrained it becomes.
    I also think that strong motivation (eg. travel, doing something for my kids) gets me out of my comfort zone. It is different for each person of course.
    Thanks again:)


    • “I also think that strong motivation (eg. travel, doing something for my kids) gets me out of my comfort zone.”

      Yes, I agree with what you’ve written. Kids can definitely get you out of your comfort zone!


  7. Hi Darlene,
    I linked your webpage and video about CHS on the Official CHS Facebook Page. Let me know if you’d like to have a blurb or something put on the page (



  8. Hi Darlene,
    You have one of the best blogs I’ve seen, perhaps one day mine will be so interesting although I don’t have the contacts to throw the names around.
    thanks for looking at my blog, and the comment.
    Harry Dodgson


    • Gee, thanks for the compliment…I think. Seems to me I don’t have that many names to really throw around. Plus, throwing a few names and a couple of dollars will barely buy you a Latte at Starbucks. 😉


  9. Darlene, So glad I found out about you this morning. I’m signed up for Jen’s drawing but will get your book whether I win it or not! I recovered from agoraphobia (slowly, over a decade) back in the 1970’s and 1980’s and I am not a psychotherapist in private practice helping others (with a myriad of issues). I love being connected with others who have endured this horrible illness. Nice to “meet” you!


    • The feeling is mutual, Linda. Your blog is beautifully written and so powerfully emotional. I couldn’t pull myself away from what you’ve written. It is so nice to meet you, and I am now a regular follower of your blog. Please come back and say hello any time you’re in the “neighborhood.”


  10. Hi Darlene. I bought your book tonight to download to my iPad immediately after getting the news that I did not win a copy on Jen’s Thoughts. There were several times I almost bought one before finding out. LOL. But…coincidentally, my friend of almost thirty years, Dixie Diamante, did win one! (Thanks Dix, I think that was my copy). Anyway, I started the book tonight and am already on Chapter 6. I love this book! I just put it down and on my way to the bathroom I thought, “talk about six degrees of separation!” You would have to know me to know I am not really serious, but here’s the thing. You and I were probably both hiding out in our homes at the same time, me in Los Angeles as well. Also, I ended up working for Superior Court in Santa Maria (the courthouse Michael would later have to face in that horrible trial he went through), and my husband, who was a sales manager for janitorial supplies back in the late 1980’s and early 90’s, used to deliver janitorial supplies to Neverland. I know…a degrees of separation. Ha. Anyway, your depiction of agoraphobia is so familiar to me. I was just starting to do better at the driving thing when I moved to Montana to live in 1994. Do you think I am going to get in my car and drive alone for an hour and forty-five minutes through the middle of nowhere to get to the next town? I think not. Now, when I visit my sister in Los Angeles and we are on the freeway I am literally petrified. You know what I mean. Anyway, long comment but wanted to tell you how much I am loving your book and have already posted it on my Facebook page. I’ll be talking it up. God bless, Darlene.


    • I’m thrilled you’re enjoying the book. And yes, when I was reading your blog I saw that we were in Los Angeles during the same period of time, and you’re right – we were probably “hiding out in our homes at the same time.” I hope you are doing much, much better now. I sense that you are and again that is something we both have in common. It feels good to be getting out again, doesn’t it? Thanks so much for reading the book, and for saying hi.


  11. Hi Darlene…yes…I am doing much, much better. I begin to have an anxiety attack once every so often…so far apart I can never remember the last one. There are a few coping strategies I still use, and I don’t drive out in the middle of nowhere…but I travel alone, enjoy flying, etc. Right now I am trying to hurry up and get through a training on CBT via CD’s (need the CEU’s) so I can hurry back to your book. ;o).


  12. LOL…I’m so sorry. I actually thought about that after I typed them. CBT = Cognitive Behavior Therapy (I’m a therapist now…go figure) and CEU’s = Continuing Education Units. I need 20 of them a year to be relicensed. Have a wonderful weekend! Mine has been made better by you ;o).


  13. Hey Darlene!
    Thanks for following my blog – I just added a funny new post if you’d like to check it out 🙂
    I read the excerpt of your book and LOVED it. Ivan was great and reading about you trying to get in the gate was suspenseful and left me wanting more. It reminded me of what I’m going through now, trying to make it in Hollywood. Keep in touch! Any feedback would be great.


  14. Hi Darlene, I was so delighted to receive my copy of “An Agrophobic’s Guide to Hollywood’ in the mail. Thank you so much. I have it safely tucked away for my Christmas reading pleasure, but the truth is I’m finding it very hard to not jump in right now and let my holiday preparations go by the wayside.


  15. Hi Darlene…just wanted you to know I just finished An Agoraphobics Guide to Hollywood and was fascinated with the whole book…..we live close to Neverland and Jackson’s trial was in our city and there was so much speculation about who he really was….this offered much insight and loved the open and total honesty on your part in what you saw. I am also learning from your posts as I am a new author and just published my first book, “Climbing Out of the Box,” my journey out of sexual and spiritual abuse into freedom and healing… I also am a blogger….thanks for your inspirational work!!!


  16. Dear Darlene,

    I’m an old alumni from San Marcus high school. I think I also went to La Colina junior high with you. This email is a bit of “throw a rock in a tree and perhaps I’ll knock down an apple” – – that is, would you read a film script I’ve written? I can send you a synopsis via email; I prefer to send the script itself in hardcopy because I would accompany it with some video and audio material that gives a better flavor of it. The subject of the script is quite unusual and something never attempted in Hollywood before (or anywhere else as far as I know), though the material is basically factual. Many friends and associates who’ve read it have urged me strongly to find a way to get it made. That has proved a tough nut, however.

    I had hoped to read your book as well as the play you wrote, Pizza Man; I thought I owed you that much before approaching you on this subject. However, life has been impossibly chaotic this last year, and all I’ve managed to do is watch the movie I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. I also read most of the articles on your blog. Please excuse the fact that I have not really entered your world sufficiently before I ask you to enter mine.

    As you have communicated in your blog, the script writing business does not suffer fools easily. Thus, if you do read my work, it goes without saying that I expect you to use your sharpest sword.


    Chris Boys


    • Hi Chris,

      I think I remember you from La Colina, but my yearbooks are all packed up in the garage so I can’t tell for sure. What have you been up to all these years? Did you go into writing? Fill me in.


      • Dear Darlene,

        Well, where to begin? After finishing high school I went to UCSB and graduated with a degree in physics and a minor in math. I never used either of them formally. Instead, my life became involved in spiritual pursuits, and I ended up spending six years in an ashram in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I worked as an auto mechanic, which was very grounding for me as I was quite a head case at the time.

        All through junior high, high school and the University I was really into surfing. Boy, did I love that sport. I even had a little shop and made my own boards. Did you spend much time at the beaches in Santa Barbara? I knew and surfed every nook and cranny of the coast from Oxnard to Jalama. Two gifts of my youth were the ocean and the education I received; I’m grateful for both.

        In 1989 I was still living in Santa Fe, no longer in the ashram, and I got involved in a harebrained scheme to manufacture the drug ecstasy. To make a long story short, the scheme was a flop and I was busted by the feds. As a result, I enjoyed a nine-year vacation, courtesy of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Because I’d never become a US citizen, I was deported to Canada after serving my sentence. Within a few months I moved to India and have been living here for the last 14 years. I live in a small city, Tiruvannamalai, in Tamil Nadu, South India.

        In prison I became quite good with a certain area of American criminal law and that’s how I make my living now. I also occasionally edit and proof books and articles for other writers. Tiruvannamalai is an international pilgrimage spot, so I meet Westerners from all over the world in different professions. A few years back, I decided to write a film script; I was assisted by screen script supervisor from South Africa and a professor of cinema from Belgium. That’s the script I would like you to take a look at. It actually came quickly to me; it was in an area of life I had studied extensively and lived personally.

        I’m working on another script now in an area of life that prima facie I have no familiarity with. I’ve had to study the subject formally, read books on the period etc. Did you have to do something similar with that script you wrote for Squanto? The interesting thing for me is that working on this latest script I found I could work in much of my life experience and understanding even though I had not lived the objective circumstances. Perhaps you know how that is also.

        Well, nuff said for now (especially since this is one of my first adventures with Dragon Naturally Speaking and it is a bit like walking on egg shells).

        Ciao, Christo


      • Well, no one can ever tell you that you’ve led an uneventful life. You’ve had enough experiences to fill several screenplays. Here’s the problem: I can’t help you. You need to get your work to a director, producer, or studio/cable television/or network executive. Those are the people who buy the screenplays. I’m just a plain, simple screenwriter (who wears saddle shoes, not expensive running shoes) and legally I can’t read someone’s spec script without opening myself up to a possible lawsuit. My lawyer has always advised me to say no when someone offers me their script to read. Sorry, but that includes ex-classmates also. Good luck with it though – I’m sure it’s a fascinating read.


  17. Dear Darlene,

    No problem; truth is stronger than fiction, as they say. Being an armchair lawyer myself (though in criminal, as distinguished from civil law), I can understand that caution is the better part of winging it. God willing, I will get back to you after I have read your book. I have been touched by your journey with such a difficult condition. I too have had a somewhat similar challenge. We shall see.

    You kinow, you are the only one of that whole crew from my high school years with whom I have made contact. Kind of cool.

    Ciao, Christo


      • Dear Darlene,

        Good news about your mother (ultimately, that is). My mother is 90 and seemingly fresh as a daisy. She always laughs to me on the phone and says she still doesn’t have any short-term memory loss. For the last couple of years she’s been playing and studying bridge. Evidently, she’s become real good at it. She’s Canadian and comes from tough stock. She was a good athlete when she was younger, and I remember her playing tennis and golf to the time she was about 55. Her health is good except for her lungs, which are weak because she smoked until the age of 65.

        Hey, I had an interesting idea. What would you to say to exchanging a few of our recommendations about good movies? It might be a cool way to keep in touch. Just to give you an idea of my tastes, I consider Vertigo the greatest movie of all time. I even wrote a few essays on it and the seemingly endless depth and different points of view it can be understood from. Though I laughed when I watched an interview on YouTube where Hitchcock discussed it. Man, he had a pretty superficial and crude understanding of the masterpiece he had created. My favorite comedy is probably Dr. Strangelove, and I loved Groundhog Day. I consider Citizen Kane a vastly overrated clunker. I love the movies Bogart did with John Huston.

        As for foreign flicks, I liked Talk to Her by Almodovar, Cinema Paradiso, Sansho Dayo, Rififi, and The Garden of the Finzi Continis.

        As a starter, I watched a movie a couple months ago and specifically thought of you. It is The Silence of the Sea by Melville. I thought of you because it has the feeling of a stage play. It is a poignant, captivating work with a beautiful performance by the lead actor. Have you seen it? (I hope you haven’t, chortle, chortle).

        Don’t worry about any recommendation you make to me, because I can get it. Here in good old India we get to use Pirate Bay, and man, that thing is the greatest – just about everything’s available. Also, don’t worry if you make a recommendation and I have already seen it, I’ll just watch it again, no problem. I’m sort of a movie freak actually; I have a collection of about 6000 of them. People come through here from all over the world, and every season I add about 600 to my collection through trading, and every month I download about another 150. It’s a bit of an obsession, but I allow myself this one indulgence in life.

        Anyway, waiting for a good recommendation from your end of the world,

        CIAO , Christo


      • Film taste is so personal that I seldom make recommendations. When I was a kid I used to fall in love with movies, but now that I’ve worked in the industry I feel like Dorothy when she looked behind the curtain and learned that the all-powerful Oz was really an old little man. I know when a film works for me and when it doesn’t, but even that depends on the mood I’m in when I’m watching. I’m always up for a good drama but that’s not a genre that’s being done very much nowadays – at least at the studio level. You have to sort through independents to find good personal dramas now, and those can be hit and miss. Vertigo, I must say was never one of my favorite films. As much as I wanted to love it, I never could stay awake long enough to watch it to the end. I think it has something to do with Bernard Hermann’s score – there’s something hypnotic about it and it lulls me to sleep.


  18. Dear Darlene,

    Wow, so the film industry is a revelation when you have had the experience you have had. Actually, can you give me an example (without naming names)? I’ve read your blog and realize how film-script writers can be torn apart in the process of making a film. But fill me in better about how other aspects of the process queer it for you.

    Would the problem be the same for you in a film that was an adaptation of a play? Would you expect, for example, a film such as Twelve Angry Men or Rope to be just as disillusioning?

    You say you used to love films as a kid. Me too. I loved to go down to State Street in Santa Barbara and go to the Arlington and the Granada and watch the latest release. I and a friend or two would watch a movie and sneak cigarettes occasionally if we could. After the movie we would walk around State Street and hope that we would meet some girls and … geez, I don’t know exactly what we hoped – probably a combination of romance, art and combustible hormones. I do remember how idyllic the ambience was on certain summer nights when the Santa Ana’s were blowing and I felt that I was catching a bit of heaven on earth.

    I remember two films I saw. One was a surprise to me, the John Frankenheimer movie, The Train, starring Burt Lancaster and Paul Scofield. The other was Spartacus. That movie I saw with my younger brother and my mother. About twenty minutes from the end of the movie, my mother suddenly told my brother and me that she was leaving the theater and we could stay and watch it if we wanted. That is how powerful the last part of the movie was for her. It’s interesting, because I too sensed that there was something so powerful being communicated that if I allowed myself to feel it I would be completely smithereened. Instead, I managed (barely) to keep it together and follow things in a more superficial way – mostly by concentrating on Jean Simmons’ body (a curious example of thank God for small favors).

    Yes, I can understand your reaction to Vertigo. I think It Is mainly a movie for men. The obsessive fascination that Scotty has with Madeleine is a particularly man’s point of view. It is difficult to do the reverse and view Scotty from Judy’s point of view in the same way. The soundtrack for the movie did not put me to sleep; instead, it touched something in my cells. I immediately recognized that it had motifs from Wagner’s opera, Tristan and Isolde. I experienced this intense and overwhelming fascination with Madeleine as an archetype, the beloved in feminine form. Also, because of my particular life experiences I resonated deeply with Scotty’s devastation and pain.

    I once heard a brilliant definition of tragedy: a tragedy is when the central character is greatly devoted to the secondary principle of life. The definition is saying that the secondary principle of life is that we are separate and mortal. If we are mightily devoted to this principle, then there is the possibility for tragedy on the grand scale. If we are just living the principle in the mediocre sense that almost everyone lives it, there is not necessarily a tragedy but the inevitable suffering that is involved in life. So, Vertigo was for me the ultimate tragedy.

    Anyway, enough said for now.

    Take Care, Christo


  19. This is from an 81-year-old man who’s had three different last names in his lifetime, one of them being Wiener. Hi, Darlene, I recall exchanging some thoughts on as you were returning to college for graduate work, but haven’t seen anything more. That hasn’t kept me from searching for your work, and I’ve just finished “An Agoraphobic’s Guide….” I enjoyed it immensely despite never having been a Michael Jackson fan; you made him far more human than I would ever have imagined possible. I am next attempting “Pizza Man” although I haven’t read a script straight through for decades.

    ‘Not sure I told you, but after retirement from education, I wrote sports and features for the Lompoc Record, Santa Maria Times and Williamson County (TX) Sun from 1990 to 2005. Just recently I picked up some assignments from the Sun Rays Magazine here in Sun City/Georgetown, Texas.

    Among my favorite fiction writers are Lee Child, Michael McGarrity and Rick Riordan. However, just before I read your book, I completed Nelson DeMille’s “The Lion,” and can say both you and he are superbly able to be humorous while leading into serious subjects. There’s probably a professional writers’ term for that, but at best I’ve been a semi-pro.

    By the way, you’re the second screenwriter whom I’ve known, the first being the late Ken Trevey, SBHS Class of ’47.

    Since I’ve said nothing as interesting as Chris Boys has, many times above, I won’t automatically expect a response. Would I value one? Absolutely!


    • Mr Wiener!!! It’s such a thrill to hear from you! How did you find my blog? How did you find my BOOK?! OMG, I’m so nervous writing this because you were one of my favorite English teachers at La Colina – I think I had you in 7th grade, and I remember you teaching us sooooo much about grammar. I think of you every time I hesitate and wonder if I’m using a comma or a semi-colon properly. What a coincidence that you are writing me after Chris Boys contacted me here – Remember Chris from La Colina? He was the smartest boy I knew who also surfed.

      I remember exchanging emails with you a number of years ago, and you mentioned at the time that you were doing some sports writing. I’m so happy to see that you’re still picking up assignments. Send me some links to your articles; I’d love to read them.

      Thank you so much for contacting me and letting me know that you read and enjoyed my memoir. If you purchased the book from Amazon, maybe you could write a little review for the book’s page. And you could mention you were my 7th grade English teacher! That should win points with readers.

      Please come back and visit me here on my blog. I try to post something every week or two so if you sign up you’ll be notified when something new shows up here. In the meantime, I have your email address now, and once I sign off here I’ll send you mine.


  20. Dear Darlene,

    It’s cool reading your account of getting ready for your daughter’s wedding. It’s a window into another world. I remember when my brother got married in Santa Barbara about thirty years ago. He was so freaking nervous. We were in the limo going to the church and he was practically sweating, so I came to the rescue and gave him a Valium. A couple hours later at the wedding party, he came over and slapped me on the back and told me he had relaxed and got back into the body. What’s that saying? – Always be prepared like a Boy Scout.

    You know, I’ve been racking my brain trying to remember Mr. Wiener, but I can’t. In fact, I can only remember a very few names of teachers from junior high and high school. But what I do remember is the great education I received at both schools. Do you remember ninth grade and how La Colina went on double sessions because the new junior high in Goleta wasn’t finished yet? My parents were really into me getting a good education, and they thought it wouldn’t be best for me to go to La Colina that year. So, instead, I attended ninth-grade at the private school, Laguna Blanca, in Hope Ranch. That school also had very good teachers. At the end of ninth grade my parents offered to let me continue at Laguna Blanca, but I told them that it wasn’t any better than the classes I was taking in public school, so they let me go to Sam Marcos.

    You know that saying about how youth is wasted on the young? – well, there’s a lot of truth to that in my case. When I look back, I can see the dedication, professionalism and the beautiful humanity of my teachers. So, Mr. Wiener, if you were my teacher, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And if you weren’t my teacher, I still think you as a way to think your compatriots who gave me so much.

    I do remember one teacher from La Colina, Mrs. Chalburg. I remember her because of a day we all remember. It was a Thursday in November of seventh grade. I was sitting in her class, which as I remember was a history class, and the principal came on the intercom and said, “As some of you may have heard, there are news reports that the president has been shot. We don’t yet know his condition, and I will come on again when there’s further news.”

    We all just sat quietly, and then about fifteen minutes later, the principal came back on the intercom and announced that the president was dead. He said that he was suspending school for that day and the next, but we could still go and eat lunch if we wanted to. We slowly got up and exited the class, and as I was leaving, I looked at Mrs. Chalburg and she was sobbing violently. It’s hard to believe, but that was the first time in my life I had seen a grownup sobbing. I saw a lot more of them sobbing that weekend.

    When I got home that day, my father had returned from work and he broke out a bottle of scotch and began to drink, but not to excess. We had a couple records of President Kennedy’s speeches, and he played them and we all listened, and I too begin to sob. That was a beautiful, powerful weekend. I remember it as one of the very few times in my youth I forgot about going surfing.

    My father loved the United States, and he loved the president. He had immigrated to the United States when I was six years old. Later in his life he told me of how he knew that life in postwar Britain was going to be a dismal affair. He had a degree in electrical engineering, and he felt the opportunity for a good life was in Canada and the United States. We arrived in Canada when I was fourteen months old. He had $100 to his name. He sent my mother and me to live with my mother’s relatives in Vancouver while he looked for a job in Toronto. Soon he had a good job at General Electric, and we began a life in the New World.

    By the time I was twelve, we were living in Santa Barbara. Geez, I couldn’t believe it, the place was a paradise. And once I discovered the ocean and my father bought me a surfboard, half the time I was living as if in a beautiful dream.

    Take care


  21. To Chris Boys: There’s no question that La Colina was an exceptional place, for teachers as much as for students. Principal Jack Richards wanted all of us to grow. That’s one reason I keep in touch — or at least try to contact — with as many former-students and colleagues as possible. At some point, I plan to read each of your posts. After that, I will probably wonder when Darlene will write about you.

    To Darlene: Your Mother of the Bride piece was delightful, but I’m unclear as to when the wedding takes/took place (or did I not read thoroughly enough?)..


  22. Hey, wasn’t totally sure how to personally reach you, but just wanted to share that I’m an agoraphobic screenwriter myself. It’s a bit frustrating, not just the career of a screenwriter, but to be struggling with mental illnesses on top of it. I would love to speak to you personally on the matter if possible. Thanks for sharing your story! You’re an inspiration.


    • It’s nice to meet a kindred spirit. Have you read my memoir, An Agoraphobic’s Guide to Hollywood? I think you’ll really relate to what I experienced, especially during that period of time when I was working with Michael Jackson. And yes, you’re right: it’s “frustrating” “struggling with mental illness” on top of having to deal with the film industry. But keep this in mind: There are so many others in the business that also struggle with mental illness. It might not be agoraphobia; maybe it’s ADHD or Bipolar, Borderline Personality, Drug addiction, Alcoholism, etc. etc. But because of the stigma of mental illness people suffer silently, afraid that others in the business might judge them for what they’re struggling with. Everyone lives with so much fear in Hollywood – there’s so much pressure that you will lose your job or worse, not be hired at all. The competition is intense, and just knowing that there are so many people that would do anything to have your job is scary. That fear only intensifies mental illness and so yeah, my heart goes out to anyone in the business who has to struggle alone. And agoraphobia is something most people just.don’t.get. They can’t understand how anyone can just stay indoors and not want to have a a life outside their front door. A few years ago I wanted to look for a support group for agoraphobics that I could join, but it dawned on me that probably there wouldn’t be many people at the meetings. Seriously. No joke implied. The good thing about the internet is that if you’re an agoraphobic you can meet other agoraphobics online without ever leaving your house. So welcome to my own little version of an agoraphobic’s support group. You’re always welcome to check in here, and I will always answer you back.


      • Thanks for replying, it was great to read your insight. Thank you also for sharing your article pertaining to the matter. It’s a difficult thing for people to understand, like you said, but it’s even more difficult having to work with it, around it, through it, etc. It’s good to read, however, that an agoraphobic is capable.


      • Always! More than capable! With our support systems in place (and they vary from person to person) we can do just fine. Keep writing, keep fighting the good fight, and keep me posted. You know where to find me now.


  23. Dear Darlene,

    I’m an actress from Berlin (Germany). I was so fascinated by your play “Pizza Man” that I dicided to translate it into German and thus to share it with german audience. (Don’t worry, before I became an actress I made my degree in German and English :-)) I even found a german publisher in Berlin who started negotiations with “Samuel French”. Unfortunately the last weeks we were led from one contact person to another. The production is planned on the June 27th. Could you probably tell me, who is the right guy/girl to write the emails to? I’m a bit lost somehow. I’m reading your book now (An Agoraphobic’s Guide to Hollywood) and have the same magic feeling as I read your “Pizza Man” first time …

    I hope it’s ok, that I wrote to you directly – I just don’t know what else I could do!

    Best regards from the cold Berlin



    • Mr. Weiner was one of my favorite teachers I had for English. If I use words well, I tip my hat to him for teaching me how to do that. If you see any mistakes in my writing…well, I must have been absent the day he taught us that grammar rule. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading my blog post.


  24. Dear Darlene,

    Thanks so much for your Memorial Day article; touched me at the heart.

    Lately I have been doing a lot of editing for another writer. Your comments about Mr. Weiner made me smile. I received a good education from teachers like him, though my final teacher was a bank robber in prison. He was, of all things, a writer for THE SANTA BARBARA NEWSPRESS. He also had had a pretty substantial heroin habit for over twenty years, so he used to rob banks to make up the slack in his salary. He ended up robbing 93 of them.

    When he was finally busted, he was facing a 25-year sentence. But then, his lawyer approached the USDA (United States District Attorney) and asked him if the Feds would be interested in clearing a number of additional bank robberies off their unsolved list. You see, they only had my friend Tom for about five robberies. The USDA asked how many robberies the lawyer was talking about. The lawyer replied that it was in the neighborhood of 90. The USDA went a little bug-eyed, he was kind of in shock. He said that he would have to confer with the FBI, but if Tom had not used a gun, then he might be able to get the sentence reduced to 10 years. And that is what eventually happened.

    Tom lived in the same Unit as I did at The Federal Correctional Institution, La Tuna, in New Mexico, and I came to know that he was a professional writer. He was a character and had managed to procure a supply of marijuana, which he smoked regularly to fuel his writing Muse. Every day he wrote, and he told me that that was a cardinal rule for a professional writer: you simply had to write, come rain or shine.

    Anyway, about this time I was contracted by another inmate who had just been released, a guy from Saudi Arabia of all places, to write a PHD thesis for him in psychology. He said he could get a much better paying job if he had that degree. I agreed to do it for about 2000$ (pretty good money in the joint). I even picked the thesis topic, and after he submitted the idea to his professor, it was approved.

    So, for the next year and a half I was working constantly on the thing, and all of the printed material I ran by Tom, at about 5 to 10 pages at a time. I thought I knew how to write but Tom was on a different level entirely. He really woke me up to so much stuff about writing that I didn’t know. He became a sort of obsession with me. I would work and work on the hard copy, until it was like: “Damn, this time I have got it. It will make it past Tom for sure.” I never actually achieved that goal but I got very close. Tom eventually shook my hand and said I was his star student. He even liked the PHD thesis I had written.

    Final note: The thing about your father touches me for a couple of reasons, one of which is that the battle he fought in (Normandy) is where my latest movie script (still a work in progress) also takes place, though it is from another point of view entirely. Geez, there is so much research involved. Wish me luck, I need all I can get.

    Ciao, Christo


  25. Dear Darlene.

    Thlught of you recently after I watched two Iranian films: A SEPARATION and THE COLOR OF PARADISE. My God, they seemed extraordinary to me.




  26. Hi Darlene, this is the first time I’ve heard about you, and I’m glad I have, as I specifically looked on who to speak about agoraphobia. I’m not the one with agoraphobia, but my boyfriend is, and I would love to help him as I have never heard of this phobia before and it has brought up some fights which could’ve been avoided if I had more information. I’m not expecting any therapy help, but I wouldn’t even know what type of therapist I would have to speak to (I, as my bf is afraid to speak to anyone else about it), and I know he needs it, not for me, but for himself. I’d appreciate any help. Thank you in advance.



    • Hi Caro,

      It’s late right now but I wanted to write you to let you to know that I read your comment and to let you know that I’m sorry your boyfriend is having such a difficult time. Do you know if he experiences panic attacks? Also, is he anxious about going out to public places? Those are two telltale signs that he might be suffering agoraphobia. You might want to read up a little more about agoraphobia so you have a little background about it. I never recommend to anyone any specific treatments because every person is different, and each person is unique in what can help them. I’ve written several blog posts about agoraphobia and those might be helpful for you to read. Read this one first: (10 Things That Helped Me Get Over Agoraphobia), and there are two more links at the end of that post that lead to two other posts about agoraphobia. Let me know you’ve read this comment and looked at the three posts and I’ll think about more suggestions for you to provide support for your boyfriend. Be patient. Be supportive. Let him know you’re there for him and never rush him or force him to go somewhere he doesn’t feel comfortable. He needs to know that his feelings matter, that you are there for him. It’s probably not a bad idea for you to seek some counseling first because there can be a lot of pressure put on the “support person” in a relationship with someone who is struggling with agoraphobia. Hang in. It can definitely get better for him (and you too!), with some help and time.


      • Hey Darlene, I was awake by the time you replied but I didn’t get a notification that you did, but I did get one for Chris Boys, weird!

        About the 10 things.. I did read the whole blog before I posted the first message, that’s why I wanted to know about the type of therapist who would help a person with agoraphobia.

        To answer your questions, he does get panic attacks when we go to a crowded place like when we went to downtown to grab a bite to eat from a food truck, his heart was racing when we parked and we had to finish eating back in the car, or for my graduation which he still went but his parents and mine were with him. Another time I told him to meet me at a friend’s house that is very close to my house in a very safe neighborhood, so he went but he turned on the wrong street (at night), got lost and started freaking out and even cursing, which he never does, he got so bad that I had to go and find him a block away. He’s not always like this, WHEN we go out, we go to places that he’s already comfortable to go without being afraid but to is hard to introduce him to a new one. Sometimes he tries to make me happy and go wherever I want so I won’t get upset but he’s still anxious inside, I even forget about his agoraphobia, I don’t want him to be afraid that I will get upset, but he’s so used to it, he doesn’t see it as a problem that needs to be fixed, he just lives around it and makes a lifestyle, and he made his world so comfortable that is hard to divert it a little bit towards mine, I’m very spontaneous and it crashes with me a lot, even going to church which is a huge part of my lifestyle (was his too when he was younger) I don’t get to share that with him, but he did say he will start by watching it on TV. I know that part of it has to do with insecurities, and sometimes I doubt if it is agoraphobia, he self diagnosed himself and he’s just comfortable with that. He’s a sweetheart and he’s been let down and taken advantage of by loved ones too and I think that has contributed to his insecurities. He’s doesn’t like pictures of him, but he can wear a mask and definitely let people take pictures of him! That happened when we went to a music festival and we dressed up, he had a very cool costume mask that everyone wanted to take pictures with him, and he had no problem with it. We’ve been together for a year and a half and I’ve only been to his room once, but part of it is because it’s a mess and he doesn’t want me to see it =D That is his favorite place, he doesn’t like to leave his house, sometimes I barely see him in a week, and I will get upset because I start thinking “he’s not trying hard enough” to keep the relationship and I go into all these thoughts and get upset by myself because I don’t want to make him sad. I hope he never sees this because he will be so upset with me for posting his issues on the net even though no one knows him.

        Some of the 10 things you said on your blog he does, like his job, he has had the same one for 10 years and I don’t think he’ll ever consider leaving it because of the change that will entail, which again will crash with mine because I can’t stand living where we do, and I would love to travel for work as a COTA or move to a better paying state but he won’t even consider it. I try to drive for him but he gets car sick (is that part of the agoraphobia too?) He also doesn’t have many friends, and won’t make new ones due to bad experiences in the past. Most of the other ones don’t apply to him or us because we don’t have family yet. About the parking, is kind of funny because he always parks far, I’m not sure if it’s because he doesn’t want to get his car scratched that he will have to get mad or in an argument with someone so he just parks far or he just does. I like the idea about the dog, he’s thinking on getting one when we get married and have our own house, we’ll see.

        I couldn’t get to one of the articles you recommended, but I did read the rest. I will probably read all your posts, once I’m done studying for my boards this Thursday, wish me luck!


        Ps. Sorry about the very long reply, I just don’t have anyone who I can speak to about this without judging him, or me… Thanks!


      • Hi Caroline,

        Whew! First, take a deep breath. My heart really does go out to your boyfriend for the pain and stress he must be feeling. I can really identify with pretty much everything you’ve written about him: the avoidance of going out in public, the panic at getting lost, feeling overwhelmed in crowds. Even getting carsick. I’m sure he must be feeling so much anxiety inside of him no wonder he’s nauseous. I know that all of this behavior must really be hard for you to understand because you sound like a well-adjusted and outgoing person. But what he’s going through is not something that gets better by someone being impatient, or thinking he will “outgrow it.” It’s not that simple. But unless you’ve dealt with someone going through these issues before, why would you know how to deal with it? I really commend you for wanting to ask questions, to learn as much as you can about this, and most of all for wanting to help your boyfriend. And I think you should maybe say all of that to him. He must be so terrified that if he really admits he’s struggling with these things that he might lose you. One of the fears agoraphobics have – or at least this agoraphobic – is that we are so weird, so different, so NOT normal, that all this weirdness will get in the way of having a normal life, and a relationship. When I met my husband I was so terrified I would screw it up somehow. I was so frightened that if he knew how fearful I was about going out into the public, about driving, about being with people, he would stop caring about me, and leave my life forever. It took me sooooooo long to tell him I had this major problem in my life. (By the way, I’m not trying to push my book, but you should really read it because it will give you a greater understanding of life from the point of view of someone going through agoraphobia. And it might help.) More than anything, you need to let him know that you are struggling to understand what he is going through, but that you are willing to learn, and to be there for him because that’s what being in a relationship is all about. Sometimes we have to be a little bit stronger for that other person when they need it the most. It sounds as though you might be willing to do that, but you need to learn more about what he’s going through first. One organization I can recommend to you is NAMI: There are chapters located all over the U.S. and I’m hoping they have one close to where you live. This is something you can do on your own if your boyfriend can’t do this right now. It may be too big of a step for him, but it sounds as though it might be something you can do. Just go to their website and check it out. You might find some helpful information there about phobias and agoraphobia, also about panic attacks. Email them or call them with your questions. They may be able to point you in the right direction. They have a program called Family-to-Family, and I participated in it a few years ago when a friend of mine was really struggling and I felt so frustrated I didn’t know what to do. I learned so much, not only about my friend’s issues (which had nothing to do with agoraphobia) but also about my OWN struggle with agoraphobia. The people at NAMI are so caring and helpful – I think it might be a good place for you to bring your questions, and to begin to learn how to help your boyfriend. A “support person” can be so important in helping an agoraphobic feel a little safer in the world. But it takes patience, understanding, and an ability to know that sometimes, no matter how much your boyfriend wants to do something to make you happy, he really can’t do it. You may not understand why, or you might think the reason doesn’t make any sense, or (even more frustrating) he might have been able to do this activity or been able to go to this place before, but for whatever reason, he.just.can’ I can’t tell you how many times my boyfriend (now my husband) and I were supposed to go do something and we had to turn around and NOT do it because I just couldn’t do it at all. He would try to coax me, or take hold of my hand, and maybe that would make me try a little bit more to do it, but then, I just COULDN’T. And you know what he’d do? He’d let me make the choice I needed to make: to not go forward and to go back. That was hard for him. I can’t tell you how many times he had to go to a public function without me. And I can’t tell you how lousy I felt because of it. But here’s what I want you to remember about what I just shared with you: Because he let me tell him how I was feeling, and because he let me have that choice for turning back when I felt so terrified, he helped to give me the power I needed to keep trying to get better. One of the problems agoraphobics can have is that they feel powerless – that’s what anxiety and panic attacks do to a person – they make you feel powerless. So along comes this wonderful guy in my life who essentially says to me, “You know what, let’s try to do this. I know you feel terrible right now, but I’m here, and I’ve got your back and let’s try this together. And you know something, if you want to turn around and go back home, that’s cool too.” Without judgement. Without being angry. Without making me feel like a failure. That’s what my guy did for me. And you know something? That attitude plus being able to talk about my “stuff” (fears/anxieties/etc. ext.) with a therapist, AND never giving up really, really, REALLY helped me get better.

        I’m glad you wrote me, and I wish you (and your boyfriend) all the best in the world.


  27. Dear Darlene,

    You know, this agoraphobia thing. I have a question, and if it’s not too personal, shoot me an answer. Do you know anything about your birth, how long and how difficult it was? Were you your mother’s first born? The reason I ask, is that, though I do not suffer from agoraphobia, I do suffer from a very difficult condition in my body and psyche, one I consulted many therapists and doctors about throughout my adult life. It was only when I learned that I had had an extraordinarily difficult and violent birth — which I discover by pure chance and then my mother confirmed (“Oh my God! How did you find out?”) — that I began to make some progress. Until that discovery I felt like a man from Saturn, living an incomprehensible nightmare. What I am saying is that even very, very tough conditions almost always have a genesis; they do not appear out of the blue. Like that, It helped me a great deal to see that what I was living had a certain “logic” to it, and I could work intelligently to help myself because I understood (at least to some degree) what the cause was.

    CIAO, from a fellow alumni, Chris Boys


    • I think agoraphobia is a complicated disorder and I’m not sure it can be contributed necessarily to a “difficult birth.” But I’m glad you found some comfort through understanding what you experienced.


  28. Hi Darlene! My name is Paula du Gelly and I’m an actress. I’m studying your play ” Pizza Man” that I just love. I came across this expression when Alice mentions to Julie ” you should never trust a man who wears Brooks Brothers suits” I did a lot of research about it but I’m still not clear what Alice means by that. I’m sure it must be a cultural term and I’m Brazilian maybe that’s why I’m having a difficulty understanding it! Can you help me?
    Love your work, I’m enjoying this so much!
    Thanks a lot!


    • Hi Paula,


      Do you know the label “Brooks Brothers?” Brooks Brothers is very “button-down”, very traditional, very conservative in style. Alice is definitely NOT conservative. Alice is very instinctual, intuitive and free-going. I could go on and on here…but does this make sense to you? Does it make the line more understandable? Let me know…


      • Hi Darlene!
        Thank you for your reply! Yes, it makes total sense. I absolutely love this play, I am enjoying tremendously to play Alice. I’m so glad I got to know your work!


      • Thanks so much for your kind words. If you have any other questions, I’m here and will try to answer them for you. Alice is one of my favorite characters – enjoy playing her as much as I did writing her.


      • Darlene, I’m having a blast…..I’m so happy. It is very challenging to play this character, but I’m feeling overjoyed every time I perform it. Thank you for your support. I simply adore your work!!!


  29. Hi my name is Amanda I am 21 mother of two, i got panic attacks starting two years ago when i had my gullbladder removed and my nan passed away. I was ok for the first year but starting january of this year i could leave the house, i am on 0.5mg ativan wich helps but i still dont go any where. I have seen some improvement like i can finally take out the trash agian and play with my kids outside, but i dnt go any where, It Scares me i am so affraid of having a attack and i dnt knw why i am so affriad i know they cant hurt you , but its just scary. I just have to say i have done tuns of research and met with two councilers but so fare nothing has seem to click for me until i read your 10 steps i finally feel like there is someone eles out there and that i am not crazy and that this will get better, thank you for reaching out and helping those who dnt have a voice. I just have 1 question where do i start, my husband is willing to take me any where and turn around and take me home if he has to but i dnt want to disapiont him. I dont want to go any where with my kids becuase my daughter is 5 and i dnt want to say we have to turn around and go home i dred her questions of why do we have to go home, why cant mommy stay any where long, yet i allready deal with the question mommy why dnt you go any where with us, she isnt use to it she is so use to me going everywhere. So where do i start how do i fight?


    • Hi Amanda,

      I just wanted to let you know that I read your comment and I will write you more over the weekend. I’m so sorry that you’re going through such a tough time, and I know how difficult that is. It sounds as though you have a really supportive partner, your husband, and that will certainly help as you work your way through the agoraphobia. Give him a big hug and let him know how much you appreciate him. Hang in, and be kind to yourself. Take it one small step at a time. Pat yourself on the back for what you CAN do, and don’t beat yourself up for what you’re having trouble doing. The fact that you can play with your kids outside is absolutely the best thing possible. And yes, taking out the trash is an important step too. The biggest problem with agoraphobia is it makes us feel like total failures. DON’T LET IT DO THAT TO YOU. You have the right to feel good about yourself, and playing with your kids is definitely one of the reasons you should. I’ll write you more by the end of the weekend…


      • Thank you for replying i am so thankful for you help. I will look forward to talking to you later.


  30. One of the toughest things about being agoraphobic is feeling so totally alone. One of the most healing things you can do is to reach out to other agoraphobics, and so by writing to me you’ve already taken an important first step. If you have Facebook, here is a site that I found that is filled with people with suffer, like you do: (I hope that link works but if it doesn’t it’s called “High Anxieties” and look for it on Facebook) You might look into joining it and share with them your questions and concerns. Every agoraphobic is a unique individual, but you might read something on that site that you can relate to, and more importantly, you can reach out to other people who will really understand what you’re going through, and will help to support you as you get back into the world again. Having a strong support system in place is especially important for you.

    In addition to having a support group, I can’t stress enough how vital it is for you to have a good counselor/therapist you can see on a regular basis. Medication alone is not the answer to dealing with agoraphobia. I’m glad that the one medication you’re taking is helping a little, but “talking therapy” is crucial because it just feels so overwhelming to deal with agoraphobia that you need to know someone is “always in your corner” who clinically understands what you’re going through. It’s great that your husband is supportive – that will help you so much in your recovery. But a therapist needs to be in place too, and in my case, it meant I had to find a way to get to those therapy sessions. My husband took me the first few times, and then, I had a friend take me a few more times, and gradually I worked my way into taking a cab. I don’t know where you live but maybe your steps might be different. The important thing to remember is that getting healthy again involves taking steps…ONE STEP AT A TIME.

    Being agoraphobic can be even more difficult when you have kids. When my kids were little, luckily they never asked me why I didn’t go more places with them. I was able to somehow go with them on the weekends when my husband could do the driving and I felt safer and more protected when he was around. But I needed help during the week getting the kids to school, and if they had to go to the doctor. Just the thought of handling all that by myself used to really make me feel sick. And then, I would really emotionally beat myself up for not being able to do things for my kids all by myself. Remember this: You’re their mom, and your love is the most important thing, not whether you can take them to the park by yourself, or to a movie or a mall. The fact that you play with them is what counts, not WHERE you play with them. Nobody knows your kids like you do (what they like to eat, what makes them afraid, what makes them laugh, what books or television shows they watch, what toys are their favorites) Do you cook for them, read to them, hug them and kiss them, take care of their hurts, listen to them, and hold them? You’re their mom and as long as you reassure them that you are there for them with your love, and that you protect them, that’s what counts the most. A therapist/counselor can help you answer any other specific questions your five year old might have. But above all, just know how much you love your children and that’s the most important information you can communicate to them. That you’re a good mommy, your love is strong, and that you are always there for them.

    Please know that you CAN get better. I was also in my 20s when I became agoraphobic – I was in a car accident, and that’s what changed my life. But always remember that little by little I DID get better, and you will too. It’s frustrating sometimes because we want to be healed quickly, but in my case, it took time, and I didn’t do it by myself. Just know it’s okay to get support or to ask for help. It’s all part of getting better.

    All my best to you,


    • Thank you so much it really helps, i have done the counciling on and of days it was ok and some days it made it worse, and know as you have said it is hard for me to think about leaving and going to the councilers but i will try. Its also hard becuase my husband works 75hrs a week.


      • The more you can reach out to people for some help, the better. Having a good counselor – someone you feel comfortable with (ask yourself if you’d feel better talking with a woman or a man because to me that made a big difference) – will help you figure these challenges out. You won’t be working on this all by yourself; there will be someone else guiding you along the way. And yes, some days will feel harder than others. Just take a deep breath, and take it one step at a time.


  31. Hi Darlene. It’s been awhile since we have “talked!” Long story but I got ill at the end of last year. I began working with a writing coach on a book and quit posting to my blog, since I am going to use that material. Anyway, I have gotten a request from a cinematographer who I used to know over 20 years ago, before he started his career. We have stayed in touch and he has read my blog. He wants to option the film/TV rights to my story.

    I don’t want to bother you but if you have time I wondered if you could look at his IMDB credits. He admits he does not like most of the stuff he has shot and that he would love to tell “people stories.” He asked me to have my literary agent or attorney call him. He said, “I have various production entities I can take this to to get it made as a MOW or feature.”

    I cannot imagine my story being that interesting, but he insists I am too close to it.

    I haven’t really responded other than to tell him that I could talk to him about it.

    Even if you don’t want to advise me in any way, please know that I think about you at times and would still love to meet you some day. My husband and I are talking about returning to the Central Coast of California for 1/2 year at a time starting in a few years when he reaches retirement age. (CANNOT WAIT!).

    Hope all is well with you,
    Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg


  32. Just found your website by accident. My great-great-great-great grandfather was Felipe Santiago Garcia. I’ve been trying to find his and my great-great-great-great grandmother’s graves for years. Got lots of history. Started the California Missions Foundation in 1998–now launching the El Camino Real Preservation Trust. We need to talk.


  33. Hi Darlene,
    I was actually trying to track down my old friend Chris Boys, and stumbled on this thread. I, too, went to La Colina (7th and 8th grade) before moving to San Diego. If you overlapped with Chris, you overlapped with me.
    i haven’t had the exciting life Chris has had. I’m just a retired grandpa plunking away on a ukulele. It suits me!
    I don’t think I had Mr Wiener in English – all I remember was my English teacher was a woman. ‘S funny, I didn’t really care about semi-colons until I was about 25. Then, all of a sudden, grammar became really important to me. Go figger.
    I was wondering if you could either give me Chris’s email address, or (I see you say, “never made public”), you could give him mine. I’d appreciate it!


    • Hi Erich,

      Yes, I seem to recall your name. Unfortunately, I don’t have Chris’ email address. He was quite active here on my blog for awhile, but I see that he’s not signed up anymore to receive notifications when I post. Sorry I can’t help you. Maybe he’ll come back and see your comment?


      • Thanks for getting back to me, Darlene!
        Well, too bad about Chris’s email, but who knows? He may very well come back around.
        Take care, and all the best,


    • Wow!! I have been searching all over for Erich for a good ten years. Of course, It didn’t help that I kept looking for “Blaze” instead of “Blase.” Here is my email: You are the best, Darlene, for this blog of yours, just that you have helped me reconnect with a great friend.

      I do still get your comments updates on my email; that is how I found this one.


      • I hope Erich gets notifications of these comments and reconnects with you. He never left me his email address so I hope he drops by again and the two of you can re-connect. Best of luck, Chris!


  34. Hi cousin!
    My great, great grandmother, Maria Cipriana Garcia and yours, Rosa Garcia, were sisters. Their parents were Hilario Jose Garcia and Maria Teresa Arellanes. I live in Santa Barbara and started genealogy about 3 years ago. I enjoyed reading your articles about your search for our ancestors. Quite informative and amusing. My grandmother, Edna Barnard married an Italian, Frank Beraldo. Ahhh… must be those eyes. Like you, all my grands, aunts and uncles are now gone. Wished I had asked more questions when I was young. Keep up the great work. Judy.


      • Darlene, I haven’ been able to find the family member with pictures of our family. I don’t even know what Cipriana looked like. I found a picture of their sister, Carmen (Carmelita) who married a Calderon. She was a cook for Gen. Fremont. Let’s get together after Thanksgiving and I can give you the info. that I have on the Garcias’. Taker care, Judy Miller


      • Judy – I have a photo someone sent me of Maria Carmen Garcia, and I’m wondering if she is the Carmen (Carmelita) you mentioned in your comment. I will send you the photo offline…


  35. Hi Darlene,

    A fellow actor and I have spent 3 months exploring the first quarter or so of Pizza Man in scene study class and having both fallen in love with it. We have decided to take the plunge – start our own theatre company and put on Pizza Man as our first show. I have secured a small 32 seat theatre in Melbourne for a two week run in early March and wanted to ask how I’d go about securing the rights?

    I also wanted to check how you would feel about us changing some of the American references to ones that would be more familiar to an Australian audience. I would be more than happy to send you the ones we are thinking of changing, however if you are not comfortable with this I completely understand.

    I have had such an amazing time exploring Julie and love her to bits.

    Warmest regards,



    • That is so exiting, Sally! I’m honored that you’ve chosen PIZZA MAN as your first play in your theatrical venture. Here is the information you need regarding the rights to the play. You should contact the Samuel French Company and here is the person to email:

      Melody Fernandez
      Amateur Licensing Supervisor
      Telephone: 1- 212-206-8990 x-168
      Tollfree: 1-866-598-8449 x-168

      Please keep me posted and I’d love to see a poster of the production once you get the show up on its feet. The play has its own Tumblr page and I will post it there for you. Thanks so much for contacting me. Break a leg!

      Darlene Craviotto


  36. Hi Darlene!

    My name is Richard Handy. I run a professional acting conservatory in Asheville, NC. We have recently branched out into doing productions in addition to the educational elements of the program. For the first production the students chose Pizza Man as the play they wanted to do most. We all absolutely loved the script. I came upon it when I spoke to a bunch of Friends in NYC as well as Samuel French for suggestions and a hand full quickly said Pizza Man. I was quite embarrassed that I didn’t know of it yet considering how popular it seemed to be among my friends. Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you and had one question – I was wondering what inspired you to write Pizza Man and what you most wanted the audience to walk out of the theatre and have to talk about? Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing form you. Until then, take care.

    With Respect and Gratitude,

    Richard Handy


  37. Hey Darlene!
    I just wanted to say thank you. We had difficulty finding a venue. The original one backed out, but we finally got confirmation and the production is going up July 13 and 14 here in Asheville at the Altamont Theatre. The cast and I just wanted to say thank you again for your honest respond with regard to your personal connection with Pizza Man. It was great hearing how it all began and your arc with your experience in seeing it over the years. It helped us greatly in discovering the characters and the work. We will do our best to do your words justice. Thank you for your words and break a leg in all your current and future endeavors. We wish you the best!

    Richard Handy, Elena Dickerson, Evan Anderson and Katie Cassanti

    Liked by 1 person

    • How exciting!!! Thank you so much for letting me know about your production. I think of Pizza Man as one of my children and I always love to know what my kids are up to. Sounds like you are having a great time with rehearsals and the excitement of production, and I wish you the very best on opening night and for the entire run. I’m sending you a bouquet of best wishes – Break a leg! to one and all!


    • I try to buy all of the images on my blog through various websites. Some of the earlier posts utilize a few images found on the internet. I can’t recall where that image was located, and if you think you know, please point me in the right direction so I can give credit.


  38. I was reading your article about agoraphobia and the problems and successes you have had with it. But I was wondering about how you went to England. The article went from your being nervous of Home Depot too traveling on a plane all the way to a new city in a new country. How did you manage that? That seems an could enormous step, almost impossible.


    • Hi Brandon,

      I’m glad you dropped by and commented. I’m especially glad you asked, “How did you manage that?” The simple answer: I had a lot of help. You can’t wrestle with agoraphobia and expect to be on the winning team by doing it all by yourself. Did you read my post: 10 Things that Helped Me Get Over Agoraphobia? Here is a link to it:

      And a follow-up to the first post that added another important thing:

      I know what it feels like to sit in my house and feel like shit because just the thought of walking out my front door makes me panic. But I also know that the terror that kept me inside CAN be tamed, treated, and tempered. “That seems like an enormous step, almost impossible.” While definitely an “enormous step” it is certainly NOT impossible. I work at it every day. And yes, I have my little bag of tricks, props, transitional objects, lifelines…whatever you want to call them. They’re mine exclusively, while other people might use other things. Mine work, and that’s why I call them, “MY bag of tricks.” They’re not yours or anyone else’s, although, they might just work for you or for other people. I talk about them in that post above: “10 Things That Helped Me Get Over Agoraphobia.” In all honesty, they didn’t help me get OVER agoraphobia, though. For me, my agoraphobia is always within reach, and that’s a fear I always live with. On my worst days, I think: “It could get worse. It could push me back into the house, completely.” But those are on my really, really bad, vulnerable, toxic, critical voices in-my-head days.” On those days, I remind myself not to “get down” on myself. Not to be critical or judgemental. I’m my best friend; I am looking out for myself; I CAN handle any bump I come across in my day; I’m strong, smart, and I can protect myself from whatever comes my way. Then, I reach for the doorknob and step outside. Yes, sometimes I go running back – like I did at the Home Depot. But I take a breath, I retreat to a safe spot, I calm my beating heart, and I let myself know: It’s ok. I’m ok. I can “take care of myself.” You see it with little children – toddlers. They try something, like walking, and maybe they fall. They reach out for their parent, and a good parent will welcome that child back into his or her arms. Comforting them, and letting them know that it’s ok to fall. Once that child has been comforted, you will see him take a step back into the world, knowing that safe place – that good parent place – is there for him, when he needs to be comforted, to feel safe again. How was I able to travel on a plane? I didn’t do it alone; I had my husband with me. He’s a support person I feel comfortable with – someone I can easily tell: “I’m feeling super phobic right now.” He doesn’t panic, or tell me, “Get over it.” He just lets me know that he’s there. So, yeah, that helped me a LOT to get on that plane. I also take a valium when I have to fly. A small dose, but enough to calm me down, to fall asleep on the plane, and to not be obsessed with feeling terrified. So yes, there’s medication I take when I have to travel on a plane. I also bring LOTS of distractions (books, iPad, etc. etc.) It also helps me to plan out as much as possible when I go into the world: I choose my seat so there’s no surprises. I learn a little about the plane, I only travel one airline because in my mind I feel the most comfortable on it. And since I’ve now flown it several times and had only one BAD experience on it, it is comforting for me to think of those positive experiences I had on those earlier flights. I also research (or know about) the airports where I will be going. Smaller airports are better for me because they mean less people. But if it’s a big city huge airport it’s especially important for me to research everything I can about it. One thing that has helped me recently are those lounges you can go to – for about $25 per person – and they have fee food, soft drinks, coffee and tea. These are small spaces in the very large spaces of an airport, and that helps me feel safer. That lounge becomes (for me) my safe space because there are less people there, and LOTS of distractions: food, tv, showers (to freshen up on long flights), sometimes a place even to take a nap. So yeah, I WORK at finding some comfort, some sense of personal safety (for me, at least). These things work for ME, and I am always willing to share them with whomever asks. I don’t promise they will work for everyone, but the key thing to calming down the terror within you is to always be willing to TRY. It’s the simple act of “taking a step” that makes everything possible in life. So yeah, it’s NOT impossible. Thanks again for asking…


  39. Darlene!
    You have a new novel out?
    & have you done a “reading” @ Chaucer’s?
    I am back in town, & sorry if I missed it!
    Nevertheless I will ck with Chaucer’s, buy it, &
    possibly connect with you if you’re not tooo busy (probably not likely!).
    Anyway- congrats, hope we might have a chance to meet! Rodger D

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Hello Ms Craviotto,
    I sent an email to the address above and was directed to leave a message here in hopes you’d respond back.
    I was interested in possibly getting an autographed copy of your book as well as ask a question or two about how you coped when the agoraphobia first hit?


    • Thanks for writing me, sarcasticstorm. Do you have another name I can use to address you? I’m hoping this gets to you – if not, I’ll try to reach out to you on your blog. I’d be happy to answer your questions about how I cope (yep, still am working on it) with the agoraphobia, but have you read my book yet? There is a lot in the book about my struggles and how they started. You might want to start with the book first, and then, you can check out the post I wrote here on my blog, “10 Things That Helped Me Get Over Agoraphobia.” I’m not completely “over” the agoraphobia, but that post spells out a number of coping strategies that have helped me a LOT. If after reading the blog post and reading my book you still have questions, I would be happy to answer them here on the blog. Hope this helps you, and thanks for writing me. I will always answer if someone takes the time to write me.


  41. Do you still have an agent in Hollywood? Could you help me contact him/her and see if he they could be my agent? I have a script I can send them. I have had the script reviewed by someone active in the industry and she thinks that it is definitely good and should be made into a movie.

    Also, Darlene, could I send the script to you (in hardcopy via postal mail) and would you look at it? Maybe a small favor for an old high school fellow alumni?


  42. Hi there!

    My name is Lisa and I am a professional illustrator.

    I was puzzled when I recognised copyright-protected images owned by myself at your website. If you use a copyrighted images without an owner’s permission, you should know that you could be sued by the copyright owner.

    Check out this document with the links to my images you used at and my earlier publications to get the evidence of my legal copyrights.

    Download it now and check this out for yourself:

    I believe you have willfully infringed my rights under 17 U.S.C. Section 101 et seq. and could be liable for statutory damages as high as $150,000 as set forth in Section 504(c)(2) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (”DMCA”) therein.

    This letter is official notification. I seek the removal of the infringing material referenced above. Please take note as a service provider, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act requires you, to remove or disable access to the infringing materials upon receipt of this notice. If you do not cease the use of the aforementioned copyrighted material a lawsuit will be commenced against you.

    I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

    I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

    Best regards,
    Lisa Weber



    • I tried contacting you but my email was bounced back. Your links above don’t work and don’t show me your work. I don’t use other people’s works without their permission. Please provide me with links to your work to verify.


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