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Chasing Down the Muse: Here’s to you, Cindy

Before the sun could even peek above the hills to the east, fog caressed the verdant green as a rooster crowed and goats bleated in the early morning air.

The weekend was upon us.

I knew my days would be filled with teaching a two-day, mixed-media workshop in my studio, but what else might the hours bring?

Whatever might come, it was unlikely that it would ruffle the calm of these retreat-like days that were always filled with the laughter and easy camaraderie of a group of creative, fun women — strong women, all.


Rain or shine, come hell or high water, I will survive.

These time-worn words could easily have been uttered by and apply to many women whom I am lucky enough to know. However, this past weekend, all the honors went to Coastline Pilot City Editor Cindy Frazier. She is truly amazing!

As many of you may already know, Cindy read her poem, “Bleeding Hearts,” at Saturday’s Dimestories three-minute prose reading event at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC.

While a short reading, what it took to get her there (beyond being chosen, which is monumental enough, right?) must have been nothing short of phenomenal. I would love to have been there to support her and cheer loudly.


You see, Cindy has been doing battle with pancreatic cancer for quite a while now. Lately, it has been especially challenging, it seems.

Just a few weeks ago, I saw Cindy after a particularly daunting go-around with liver problems. She was to have picked up a piece of fused glass she had made in one of Maggie Spencer’s classes at the Sawdust Art Festival.

We were just wondering aloud what might have deterred her when she appeared at the door. I had been forewarned about her liver problems on Facebook, but I was unprepared.

Just one more thing, right Cindy? But such an obvious one. Her skin was saffron yellow and it hurt one’s heart to see this clear evidence coupled with the slowed gait and softer-than-usual voice.

That was just one more thing in a long list over the past months to show the determination of this strong woman.

Thinking there was nothing more Cindy could do to show me how dauntless she is, it stunned me to see that she would be reading at the Festival of Books. I knew she had once again been in the hospital for a week and dealing with bags and feeding tubes and much, much more. Barely out of the hospital, how could she pull this reading off?

I knew.

Strength and determination and some New England spunk thrown in for good measure. You go, Cindy!


As I listened to the loud cheering of crows overhead as fog blanketed the canyon this past weekend, I imagined I was hearing the cheering for you after your reading. Though I could not be there, know that I was cheering you on … and on … and on.

You are one special lady.

CHERRIL DOTY is an artist, writer and director of the Sawdust Studio Art Classes in Laguna Beach. Always fascinated, inspired, and titillated by the beauty and the ever-changing mysteries of life, she can be reached at, or by phone at (714) 745-9973.