Coach Teresa says: “The Writer’s Journey Has Led Me To Plays”

Where has your writer’s journey led you?

I met Kim McMillon when we were both in our late twenties.  She [Kim] entered the offices where I was working looking like a fashion model.  Soon I found out she was a playwright.  Her plays Voyages: A Multi-Media Excursion to Reincarnation was staged at U.C. Berkeley’s Zellerbach Auditorium and Confessions of a Thespian: When Spirit and Theatre Collide at the Julian Morgan Theater in Berkeley.

I went to see both plays at least twice. After all, a stage play is not something one can pause, reverse, and playback on one’s remote control.  Kim McMillon’s scripts contained messages I wanted to experience again and again and again.

Listen to Kim McMillon's radio show Arts In the Valley

Kim was the first person who made it safe for me to say “I’d like to write . . .” She was the friend who gave me stage time at community events to articulate the messages in my novel Love Made of Heart before I had found my agent.

Teresa LeYung-Ryan says: "YES! to education on mental health and illness." . . . "NO! to domestic violence and child abuse."

Fast forward.  My mother-daughter novel Love Made of Heart is published.  2002, 2003, 2004. At bookstores, I delivered “dramatic readings” where I would read the part of Vivien Lin (protagonist Ruby Lin’s mother) and a young actress would read the part of Ruby Lin.

Whenever I’m invited to speak at schools (including Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley, San Francisco State University, City College of San Francisco, Lowell High School), the dear teachers and lovely students read scenes from Love Made of Heart. Here’s the blog post and video of teacher Sheryl Fairchild and brilliant students in her First Year Composition class at SFSU.

Kyndal, Teresa, Henriikka, Allison, Chris deliver dramatic read of "5150" from Teresa's novel Love Made of Heart--filmed by Colin

Fast forward again.  It’s December 2009 Women’s National Book Association colleague Carol Sheldon invites me to see her play at Fringe of Marin Festival — One-Act Plays and Solos.  I’m mesmerized by L’Amour or Less (written and directed by Carol Sheldon).

I am a novelist, a speech writer, an editor, a writer’s platform coach, an author of prescriptive nonfiction (how- to) books for writers.

The desire to write a play is not a whim. First of all, I like reading plays and watching plays.  In addition to plays written by Kim McMillon, Kathryn “Kathy” G. McCarty, Carol Sheldon, Patricia Morin . . .  I also like: The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams; Lost In Yonkers by Neil Simon; Brighton Beach Memoirs by Neil Simon;  Electra by Sophocles; King Lear by William Shakespeare; Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose; Crossing Delancey by Susan Sandler; The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler.


Travel writer & certified tour director Elisa Sasa Southard was instrumental in getting Teresa LeYung-Ryan a part in director Kathy McCarty's production of Eve Ensler's play The Vagina Monologues; thank you to all friends who cheered for Teresa and supported the fundraiser for Community Violence Solutions; author Mary E. Knippel (right) drove 50 miles to the event---photo by Ellen Gailing

It is January 2012. I’m presenting “Writing Career Make-Over & Building Your Platform” at California Writers Club-Redwood Branch. After my presentation, I hear members talking about Linda Loveland Reid’s sponsoring the annual Redwood Writers Playwriting Contest and that this year’s guidelines are as follows:  plays have to be 10 minutes short.

That evening I dined with colleague Kate Farrell, editor of the anthology Wisdom Has a Voice: Every Daughter’s Memories of Mother. The next day I saw colleague Lynn Scott, author of A Joyful Encounter: My Mother, My Alzheimer Clients, and Me. I believe that being with these two empowering women gave me the inspiration to turn a memorable dream (of my mother) into the centerpiece for a short play.

That week, during a commute to Berkeley, I had the first draft of the play written in thirty minutes.  Of course it took several weeks to rewrite and rewrite it.  I took Lynn Scott up on her generous offer to read it and make suggestions.



Festival Director Lennie Dean hugs Playwright Teresa LeYung-Ryan at awards ceremony---photo by Jonathan Hayden


Elisa Sasa Southard videotaped Lennie Dean telling Teresa LeYung-Ryan why her 10-minute monologue was selected as a winner by judges.

Teresa LeYung-Ryan‘s Answer Me Now (a monologue) is about a middle-aged woman asking her dead mom a question.

Teresa’s play and eight colleagues’ plays will be performed on June 29, 30 and July 1st, 2012 at the Redwood Writers & 6th Street Playhouse Play Festival in Santa Rosa, CA.

$16 per person for all 9 short plays

Tickets on sale now!!      707-523-4185

June 29, Friday at 8pm;

June 30, Saturday at 2pm and 8pm;

July 1, Sunday at 2pm.

July 1st   4:30-5pm, following performance, free panel discussion with winning playwrights

Teresa says: “I’d love to see my friends there.  Click here for more information. Please email me too and let me know which show you’ll be attending.  I’m at  My ID is:   WritingCoachTeresa ”

Festival Director Lennie Dean, Playwright Teresa LeYung-Ryan and Certified Tour Director Elisa Sasa Southard cheer for Redwood Writers & 6th Street Playhouse


The writer’s journey has led me (Teresa LeYung-Ryan) to editing clients’ manuscripts and coaching writers on platform-building.  And, playwriting.

Listen to Kim McMillon's radio show Arts In the Valley

Kim McMillon’s writer’s journey has led her to producing and hosting her radio show Arts In the Valley.

Where has your writer’s journey led you?


Coach Teresa

Editor, Story Consultant, Platform-Building Coach

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan has helped over 1,000 writers.

“Reach out, not stress out, to materialize your dearest dreams.”








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