April 2019

Audience at Golden Gate University
The powerful vulnerability of personal stories.


Dear Friends and Family,

Stories are King

As a kid I got grief from my family because my stories would always veered toward the dramatic. Since mine was a scientific family, facts were king. When my mother died a few years ago and I became the last living member of my nuclear family, I realized that my stories were now the stories. There was no one else to offer a different point of view. This scared me.

I love using stories to bring people together, teaching performers how to tell great tales and showing executives the “powerful vulnerability” of personal stories. As a medical clown working with people living with dementia, I enthusiastically join in and extend any story they tell with no concern for facts; my job is to engage with their emotions, which are still completely intact, not with their fading memory.

When is it OK, even crucial, to veer away from facts and when it essential to stick to them? How much evil has come from one story (e.g. “It is a scientific fact that Jews are diluting the Aryan race so you must get rid of Jews to give your children a better life.”) and how many of us hold, perhaps less pernicious but still dangerous, beliefs based on stories we’ve heard?

Jeff Raz reading from The Snow Clown
Jeff speaking at the Commonwealth Club about “The Snow Clown” and bridging cultural gaps through art and human connection on June 11, 2019.

Listen to a mini-audiobook from Chapter 26 of The Snow Clown about stories: click the link below.

Medical Clowning: The Noble Job of Spreading Joy

Medical Clown ProjectJeff Raz Medical Clowning”What if your entire job description was to spread joy? Sounds pretty wonderful, doesn’t it? ”

Read an article on the Medical Clown Project
by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber here.





Jeff as Medical Clown
Photo courtesy of SF Gate 2011

The View From Here Production
Joanna Haigood won an Isadora Duncan award for choreographing “The View from Here“. I am proud to have been Joanna’s Associate Director on this piece based on the work of Marc Chagall.

Check out Jeff’s recent Creative Mornings-San Francisco talk about bridging cultural gaps through art.