Thanks for your interest in the art of storytelling!

I love being a storyteller, and am always pleased when I have opportunities to share personal stories, world folktales and western history narratives. As a touring performer and workshop presenter, my work has taken me all around the country. I provide workshops and entertain audiences of all ages at schools, libraries, concerts, conferences, festivals and community events. Most recently, I’ve been telling stories to audiences in senior living communities, including people dealing with memory care issues.  


At the request from a reader, this post includes two photos of Fry-Fry, the nemesis of the “Squirrely Shirley Meets Fry-Fry” show.

The story behind the creation of this puppet started with a comment by a friend years ago when I was on the board of a downtown Tucson (AZ) historic neighborhood association. Being on the board meant that I got to know a lot of really interesting people. One of our neighbors was an extremely talented man who had been a chef for several years. During neighborhood fundraisers, dinners and ice cream socials, I came to know and admire David and his wife, Kathryn, because they knew how to organize events and bring ideas and people together. One evening during a conversation about bad restaurant experiences, David described the greasy food odor wafting from some fast-food places as being “fry-fry.” What a great image! His off-handed reference to greasy food made a lasting impression on me.  

As I was writing the “Squirrely Shirley Meets Fry-Fry” show, I considered introducing a puppet with a fondness for greasy, sugary, salty food.  I envisioned this puppet as the bad guy for our 2012 show about making healthy choices. Thanks to David, the descriptive image of fry-fry smells from fast-food places seemed like a good place to start exploring what I had in mind.  

The puppet character evolved to be a rather inarticulate and irritating troublemaker. I had a lot of fun constructing this stick puppet shaped a little like a French fry container. I decided to give him a mouth that could change from a smile to a frown during the show.

So, now you know a bit about the character of Fry-Fry, and how he evolved from an off-handed remark, to an idea that eventually became an unforgettable puppet. I am grateful to this odd little character, because he helped me envision a family friendly, interactive puppet/storytelling program about the value of exercise and good food choices. I now consider this light-hearted family show as my contribution to the First Lady’s national campaign to combat childhood obesity.