Monday, May 4, 2015


For Autobiographical Stories

In August of 2015, for the first time ever, Mark W. Travis will be offering newly-designed WRITE YOUR LIFE workshops in Hawaii that will incorporate the cutting-edge Travis Techniques of the Interrogation Process and the Power of Staging.

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August 7-9, 2015
Kailua, Hawaii

Those of us who write do it because there are stories inside us burning to get out. Writing is essential to our wellbeing. ~ Judy Blume

The core of every autobiographical story is the internal emotional life of the protagonist (you). Knowing and revealing that inner life is every writer’s greatest challenge. In this workshop, through the Interrogation Process, you will be given tools that will help you safely navigate your way through that inner landscape where you may discover startling truths. You will learn the techniques for sharing these truths in your writing in such a way that your readers/listeners are instantly and deeply engaged.

Whether you're a writer, actor, solo performer, inspirational speaker, memoirist, or just someone with an itch to get your life story on paper...  join us for a spectacular 3-day weekend of developing and shaping the stories that live within you. Experience The Travis Technique™ of the Interrogation Process, and ignite your writing!

Dates:              Friday through Sunday, August 7-9, 2015
Time:               9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Location:         Home of Rachel Funk Heller, 260 Kailua Road, Kailua HI 96734
Fee:                 $750 before July 15 Registration Deadline, $800 after the deadline.

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August 13–16, 2015
Honolulu, Hawaii

This unique four-day workshop focuses on one of the primary tools of autobiographical storytelling: PERFORMANCE.

A book must be an axe for the frozen sea inside us. ~ Franz Kafka

With the Travis Technique™ of the Power of Staging you will learn to better control your story and thus trigger the desired emotional response in your audience. This is the goal of every good public speaker and storyteller.

Whether you tell your story for the stage (your solo show), or for a work-related presentation, or for your own storytelling pleasure, it matters how you tell your story.  Your delivery determines the impact you have on the listener and consequently how you are perceived. Yet, many public speakers allow their lack of storytelling skills to undermine their intentions. Poorly presented stories can be detrimental. Stories staged with The Travis Technique™ can transform both the teller and the listener.

During the four days you will learn how to:
·         Establish an immediate connection with the audience
·         Stage each moment of your story to bring clarity and expose subtext.
·         Create memorable characters in an instant through vocal and physical signatures.
·         Perform multiple-character scenes
·         Distinguish the Two Narrators as different aspects of the self through voice, physicality and movement
·         Take the audience on an arc in relationship to both narrators
·         Create pace through rhythm and timing for maximum dramatic effect
·         Make the invisible environment visible
·         Establish the eye-line between two (or more) characters
·         Place the audience either outside the scene (observing) or inside the scene (experiencing)
·         Take the audience on your emotional ride
Shaping a short autobiographical story into a performance piece is an intense and exhilarating process.  The workshop will culminate with a group performance on Sunday evening, August 16th.  Grab this chance to experience The Travis Technique™ of the Power of Staging and ignite your storytelling!

Dates:              Thursday through Sunday, August 13-16, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Performance:  Sunday, August 16, 7:00 – 9:30 PM
Location:         Home of Sabra Rae Feldstein, 125 Hanapepe Loop, Honolulu HI 96825
Fee:                 $950 before July 22 Registration Deadline, $999 after deadline.


  • WRITE YOUR LIFE / ON YOUR FEET is limited to ten (10) participants who have taken a WRITE YOUR LIFE workshop before with Mark Travis or Elsha Bohnert.
  • Submit your 3-minute story to Mark Travis at before July 8th. Mark Travis will choose among the entries which 10 students will be accepted. 
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Take both workshops for $1500 (a saving of $200)
Take both workshops and sign up a friend: $1450 (a saving of $250)

Coming from Europe or Asia?
Pay only $600 for the WRITE YOUR LIFE workshop.
Or $1450 for both the WRITE YOUR LIFE and the WRITE YOUR LIFE / ON YOUR FEET workshops.

Send a non-refundable deposit of $150 to:
Boyden Road Productions
10322 Mary Bell Avenue
Shadow Hills, CA 91040

Mark W. Travis is considered one of the world’s leading authorities on the art and craft of film directing, writing and storytelling.  All of his techniques stem from the pursuit of organic and authentic performances that are deeply felt by audiences. He has served as directorial and creative consultant to Mark Rydell, George Tillman, Cyrus Nowrasteh, and dozens of Independent filmmakers in Hollywood and internationally. Mark is known internationally for the Solo Shows he has developed and directed over the past 15 years, and has been credited in the L.A. Times with having created a ‘new theater genre.’

Mark offers a series of “Write Your Life” weekend workshops for all writers, actors, directors and storytellers who want to explore the tools and techniques of autobiographical storytelling.  Since 1992 Mark has been sharing his techniques on writing, acting and directing across the country and worldwide. His first book on film directing, The Director’s Journey, became an instant best-seller (L.A. Times) and was followed by Directing Feature Films which is currently required reading by hundreds of film schools worldwide. His third book, The Film Director’s Bag of Tricks, was published in September 2011.  For more information:

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Darling Alice Anne!

Mililani, Hawaii 2004

Alice Anne, my long-time “out there’ friend is at it again, badgering me to take a workshop.

“Out there” refers to not only where she lives (out in the country at a former Tibetan Buddhist retreat center) but also to where her mind roams.  She’s a psychic.  But otherwise normal.

For years she’s been telling me about this Hollywood guy who does something with writing or storytelling.  Sounds good, and yes, I write and I like telling stories, but my calendar is already chock full with more important things.  Plus, what?   I have to rough it?  Sleeping dormitory-style with… who-knows-who…?  Puh-leeze!

And this guy, Mark Whatever, I’m sure Alice Anne has a crush on him, the way she goes on about him.  Spare me, please.   

So, okay, he’s special and my writing will take off and I will be transformed and get discovered and be rich and famous and go to Hollywood and… 

Alice Anne just shrugs her shoulders and, turning away, says, “The meals will be catered by Henry.” 

Oh, wait, now you’re talking.  I love Henry and I love whatever he makes.  He is divine!  Totally divine!  I’d do anything to be married to a chef.  Except, it would have to be Henry.

And that’s how I got lured to take Mark Travis’ workshop ten years ago. 

That first workshop was everything I wanted and needed.  I wrote about my mother, wrote things I never imagined I would write.  

In all the years since, and continuing, I keep answering Mark’s challenge:

What would you write about if you had no fear?

 This is how I remember Mark the first time I met him

For the 15th year Mark Travis will teach his Write Your Life workshops!
Friday-Sunday, January 23-25, 2015
Friday-Sunday, January 30 - February 1, 2015

Sign up now!
Remember, Henry caters the meals.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Misuzu with the Bart Simpson bracelet I gave her years ago

"Elsha, you have lunch already?"
"No.  Where are you?"
"Okay, see you in a minute."

When Misuzu calls, I'll drop everything and meet her.  She is one of the most extraordinary people I know.  A Hiroshima bomb survivor and an artist with a wicked sense of color and movement, she repeatedly astounds me with her uncanny ceramics, figure drawings and abstract paintings.  Her emails to me are similarly works of art and imagination.  Because she travels so much, it's a treat for me to spend time with her.  So yes, of course, I'll run over to Shirokya's at Ala Moana Center to have lunch with her. 

This time she's back from two months of hiking through Japan.

"I'm tired of having an old house that needs a new this and a new that," she says, "I don't care anymore about possessions.  I want to go to uncivilized places with just my small backpack and good shoes."

"Where did you go?"  I ask.

"I wanted to go all the way up to Hokaido, and further, to a little island, but a friend was flying in to meet me in Tokyo, so I walked around Tokyo.  Then she canceled and there was not enough time to still go to Hokaido.  Next time."

"What was the most interesting thing you experienced?"

Big smile on her face.  "I came off a ferry and I saw this old woman carrying a big basket of beans from her garden.  It was a very hot day and she sat down on the ground in the shade.  I sat down with her.  We talked for half an hour.  I enjoyed being with her so much.  She insisted I come to her house and spend the night." 

"Did you?"
"No,"  Misuzu laughs, "but back in Tokyo, I sent her a big box with many presents.  No return address.  Not even my name.  I wanted to surprise her.  I like that."

I look at my precious friend.  She has the body of a little teenager and dresses like one, black and white baseball cap worn backwards.  Gray hair the only sign of her age.

"You know, Elsha, I have maybe another ten years to live.  So I want to do everything I can in these ten years."

"And then?"

"My dream is to be walking somewhere, fall down and die.  Nobody will know who I am.  No possessions.  No identification.  Body finished."

Not bad, I think.  Not bad at all.

I raise my water cup.  "Banzai, dear Misuzu!  May they be the best ten years of your life!"

Such a small backpack, but just right for her.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


In preparation for her 60th birthday, Marcia Zina Mager went on a 3-day retreat in a cabin on Dr. Lori's property in Haleiwa.  For her passage into cronedom, she asked her circle of younger friends to "give her away" to a bunch of kickass Crone friends.  Crone meaning any woman over 60 and  kickass meaning a woman who has kept her juju, one who lives life with "huevas." (Literally: "ovaries" or "eggs," the female equivalent of "balls," like in "She's got huevas!")

Besides Zina, there were eight of us present, with Alice Anne and I being the oldest, and AA of course topping us all in being the most kickass Crone ever.  She blessed Zina with a wish for many grandchildren.  My wish for Zina was to gift her with many lovers.  Actually, I think I said the number "Five."  At least 5.  That should keep her happy for a while.

We shared gifts of songs, rituals, stories, poems, music... champagne, food, fruit, cake, dance... tears, laughs, sweat (lots of sweat), dragonflies, kazoos... ending the day with Zina sweetly presenting each of us with a personalized gift.

I'm still feeling voluptuous with the passion, beauty and huevas of my women friends. 


Friday, June 13, 2014


The construction site at Kapiolani Hospital fascinates me.  All that macho heavy machinery gives me a testosterone rush.  I think I'd be really good driving all that steel and growl.  What really strikes my fancy, though, are the cranes.  And today I got to see something I'd never watched up close before.  At least, as close as I was allowed.  The pictures will have to tell the story.

Out on the street is a truck is waiting,
loaded with steel girders for reinforcing concrete columns.
A worker comes to attach the girders to cables attached to the crane.
He has climbed on top of the load and is looking up 
at the crane cables swaying way above him.
He takes hold of the cables .
Two girders are now attached to the crane cables.
Okay, everything is hooked up and ready 
to be lifted over the pedestrian walkway into the construction pit. 
I'm shooed out of harm's way.  Of course.  I understand.  
The thin plywood roof over the walkway 
is no match for all that steel if it were to come crashing down.
The next pictures I'll have to take from a distance away 
with my so-so Android zoom.

Slight raise...  didn't expect those things to be flexible.
What else don't I know?

Little higher...
And off she goes...
Cool!  So glad I saw it and could document it.
Raising steel!

Friday, April 18, 2014


Thanks to Lena Gan, we were invited to attend the Governor's reception for the signing of the Bali Hawaii Sister State Initiative. 

The reception was held at the Archives Building by Iolani Palace.  Indonesian food, Balinese and Hawaiian dancse, and music by National Guard and UH Gamelan Ensemble (with anklung gamelan).

With the Balinese Gamelan leader I Made Widana 
(Apologies if I did not identify him correctly)

With General Darryll Wong, Adjutant General, Hawaii National Guard


Bali and Hawaii are the two most beautiful places on earth, and their many similarities make for a natural partnership between these vibrant states.  The Bali Hawaii Sister State Initiative (BHSSI) provides a framework for developing planned collaborations, strategic alliances and partnerships between the Bali province, Indonesia and the State of Hawaii.

The partnership will promote and facilitate continuous learning and best practices of economic, social and cultural sustainability and development within the areas of tourism, education, agriculture, environment, and other trade and investment sectors.

Bali and Hawaii share a common need and desire in collaborative learning and keep each other accountable to remain world-class destinations.

The partnership will also focus on historical preservation and cultural renaissance through, among others, "entertainment-education" approach in championing, appreciating and sustaining local arts, music, culinary and other cultural ways of living and heritage.

The BHSSI also aims to help promote and forge win-win partnership activities in quality (not quantity) development [...] taking into consideration the appropriate local wisdom and cultural heritage, values and practices.  Bottom line, we are confident this relationship was made in heaven.