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Writer's Block: Mentor Me

Have you ever had a mentor or other influential person in your life who helped you along a certain path in school, work, or life in general?
There were three professors at Central Conn. State University who inspired my critical thinking, creativity, and independence: Thaddeus Torp (theatre), Ray Shinn (English), and Kenneth Feder (archaeology).  Torp and Shinn each helped bring out my performance skills, Torp as my acting teacher, and Shinn as a director at New Britain, CT's Hole in the Wall Theater.  Shinn and Feder each helped hone my critical reasoning and appreciation for history in their classes.  They taught me how to look between the lines in ancient literature and scientific writings to determine what really happened, despite what was written, and the motivations for how history is written.  Torp and Shinn have sadly passed away, but Feder is still making his impact, including occasional interviews in the Discovery channels.

As a child, I was directed toward performance arts by musician Nat Needle, who directed Middletown, CT's Oddfellows' Playhouse and Children's Repertory Theater, and who now runs an art studio with his wife and plays jazz piano in a restaurant for fun.  Much of my early performance skills were developed at Oddfellows', and that's where I discovered my need for an audience.

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