Sunday, April 16, 2006

One Degree of Lu Ann Staheli

If you’ve ever played the popular game “The Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” you probably know that the premise states because actor Kevin Bacon has been in so many movies, you can link him to almost any actor in seven or less steps.

An example from the internet illustrates: John Travolta was in “Look Who's Talking” with Kirstie Alley who was in “She's Having a Baby” with Kevin Bacon. (

Last week I went to the season wrap party for Everwood, the WB television series my husband works for. ( The entertainment included a woman reading life cards from a tarot deck. Although I’m not sure how much credence I put in the activity, my husband and I decided to have some fun and see what she had to say.

Imagine my surprise when she read my cards, telling me about how many people around the world either know me personally or recognize my name, and how they had been influenced by me. “You ARE Kevin Bacon,” the woman said. At first, we laughed, but then my husband and I started to realize that she might be right.

Here are a few of the lines of reasoning:

1. I have taught school for 27 years. In that time I’ve had over 6,280 students in either Indiana or Utah. They, of course, have moved on into their own adult lives—several are even teachers themselves with students of their own who learn from what I taught their teachers.

2. I worked for Alan Osmond Productions for 10 years, writing newsletters for both The Osmond Brothers and Osmonds: Second Generation. The newsletters went to hundreds of fan club members worldwide. I did a short stint writing for both Merrill Osmond and Marie Osmond’s newsletters as well.

3. I write book reviews for the SIGNAL Journal (a publication of the International Reading Association), The ALAN Review (a publication of the Adolescent Literature Association of the National Council of Teachers of English), and NCTE Selects program. These publications go to organization members all over the world. Twice I’ve run for national positions with NCTE and had my name and photos sent on ballots to them.

4. I published a chapter in Teaching Ideas for 7-12 English Language Arts: What Really Works from Christopher Gordon Publishers that language arts teachers might have read. I have colleagues who use my chapter in the college methods courses they teach to prospective language arts educators.

5. I was a Christa McAuliffe Fellow and presented my project at a special symposium in Washington D.C. I’ve presented at many other workshops for educators and writers as well. I was the Utah English Language Arts Teacher of the Year, and a nominee for the Disney Hands Award, Utah Reading Teacher of the Year, and listed in both Who’s Who Among America’s Outstanding Educators and Who’s Who Among Outstanding American Women, introducing me to members of those selection committees.

6. I’ve published in other national magazines, including Grit, Scouting, the LDS Church News, Superteen, and 16. I’ve placed in writing contests from Writer’s Digest, the Utah Arts Council Original Writing Competition for Juvenile novel, the League of Utah Writers annual writing competition, and the Montgomery-West Literary Talent Agency Competition. I earned the Diamond Quill Award for Collected Works from the League of Utah Writers and. was named the Utah Valley Chapter Writer of the Year.

7. I worked as a freelance editor for Covenant Communications, editing books for Rachel Nunes, Brenton Yorgason, Annette Pierce, Jennie Hansen, James Rada, and Charles Davis. I’m in a critique group with Covenant authors Jeffrey S. Savage, H. B. Moore, and Annette Lyon who have been gracious enough to list my name in the acknowledgments of their books.

8. I write two weekly newspaper columns that go to a bevy of subscribers, and even make their way onto the internet. Previously I was a freelance writer for two other newspapers with different readerships. Currently, I have a successful E-zine and this blog that takes my work to a wider audience.

9. I’m involved in the Utah Council of Teachers of English Language Arts, the League of Utah Writers, The Society for Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators, the International Reading Association, Assembly on Literature for Adolescents, the National Council of Teachers of English, Children’s Literature Association of Utah, and the Children’s Literature Association of Utah, as well as several local affiliates of these organizations.

10. I graduated from high school in Alexandria, Indiana. I graduated from college at Indiana University Bloomington. I’m an avid genealogist, who has attended church in Alexandria, Anderson, Bloomington, Terre Haute, and Brazil, Indiana, plus Orem, Provo, and Spanish Fork, Utah, when I have lived in or near those cities.

When you count up all the people I’ve met, even that number alone is astronomical. I have no way to ever know how many others might have “met” me though the work I have done. I still haven’t touched the surface here of all the daily contacts I make with friends, writers, neighbors, family, and students.

So perhaps the woman is right, I AM Kevin Bacon to hundreds of people who have lived on this earth.

By the way, my own connection to Kevin Bacon is as follows: Lu Ann Staheli did “Alan Osmond’s Stadium of Fire” for America’s Freedom Festival at Provo with Keshia Knight Pulliam who was in “Beauty Shop” with Kevin Bacon!

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