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Lighthearted Enlightenment

Former stand-up comedian Cynthia Daddona offers some words of wisdom.

March 10, 2001|ANN SHIELDS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Ask Cynthia Daddona what her new book is about and you might get a series of one-liners. But then the author of "Diary of a Modern-Day Goddess" (Health Communications, $10.95) has been a stand-up comedian, broadcast journalist, news reporter and inspirational speaker--not to mention member and co-founder of the Santa Barbara Humor Society.

"I think of myself as an Erma Bombeck of spirituality," Daddona said. "I really have this mission to make a difference in people's lives, to help them nurture themselves and lighten up. If you are going to laugh about it later, why not laugh about it now."

Daddona will be at the Ventura Barnes & Noble on Sunday. Later in the week, she will be at the Thousand Oaks Barnes & Noble.

In a recent phone interview, Daddona said she wrote the book--described as a lighthearted account of one woman's quest for enlightenment--because she and her friends were getting too serious about self-help.

Not so lighthearted was the motorcycle accident that shattered her writing wrist--although she calls it her lucky break. She was the girlfriend / passenger in a ride that ended up with a broken relationship as well as a broken wrist. Two reconstructive surgeries gave her the cosmic kick in the pants she needed, she said. So she finished her book, typed a proposal with two fingers and peddled it at the Book Expo in Los Angeles.

"It was the night before my birthday," Daddona said. "I just got down on my knees and said 'OK, God, I got a broken heart, broken wrist and broken bank account. If you want me to get this book published, bring me a publisher right away.' " The next day, Health Communications said it was interested. But she advises others not to wait for an accident or an illness to pursue their dreams.

Although the book is really a celebration of the feminine spirit, she doesn't want people to think that her version of the modern-day goddess is a high-maintenance princess. Rather, she is someone who takes responsibility for her own life and happiness. She is in touch with her inner spirit, inner soul and inner lightheartedness, she said.

Daddona also hosts comedy parties with her friends. Sometimes the events are potluck, with everyone bringing food plus something humorous to share--be it an audio or video clip, an essay or a joke from their favorite comedian. She calls it good, clean fun.

With a large bicoastal Italian family, Daddona said she doesn't have to go far for laughs. At some gatherings, she said, she has rushed into the bathroom to write down the outrageously funny lines she hears.

If you think you are a modern-day goddess, check out Chapter 24 of the book. You will learn it's time to get crowned if you have a yoga instructor, acupuncturist, astrologer and feng shui consultant on speed dial.

Meanwhile, Daddona's one-liners continue. You know you need counseling when your inner critic has a box seat in your head. Visit her Web site at www.moderndaygoddess.com for more insights.

HAPPENINGS

* Today: 7 p.m. Pajamamania will hear artist and independent film maker Fu-Ding Cheng read his story "Dream House." Book signing follows. Borders Books & Music, 125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, 497-8159.

* Sunday: 2 p.m. Cynthia Daddona will discuss and sign "Diary of a Modern-Day Goddess." Ventura Barnes & Noble, 4360 E. Main St., 339-9170.

* Sunday: 7 p.m. Featured poet, followed by open-mike session. Borders Books & Music, 125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, 497-8159.

* Monday: 12:30 p.m. The Monday Afternoon Book Club will focus on "House of Sand and Fog" by Andre Dubus III. Thousand Oaks Barnes & Noble, 160 S. Thousand Oaks Blvd., 446-2820.

* Tuesday: 4:30 p.m. A to Z Mysteries Party with games, giveaways and mysteries to solve. Thousand Oaks Barnes & Noble, 160 S. Thousand Oaks Blvd., 446-2820.

* Tuesday: 7 p.m. The Second Tuesday Contemporary Book Group focuses on "Angle of Repose" by Wallace Stegner. Borders Books & Music, 125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, 497-8159.

* Wednesday: 7 p.m. Reagan speech writer Peter Hannaford and authors Kiron Skinner, Annelise Anderson and Martin Anderson will discuss and analyze Reagan's radio addresses. Free, but reservations are required. Call 522-2977 for more information. Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, 40 Presidential Drive, Simi Valley.

* Wednesday: 7 p.m. The Shakespeare Discussion Group will focus on "Henry the IV (Part I)." Borders Books & Music, 125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, 497-8159.

* Wednesday: 7 p.m. Lucinda Bassett will discuss and sign "Life Without Limits." Thousand Oaks Barnes & Noble, 160 S. Thousand Oaks Blvd., 446-2820.

* Thursday: 1 p.m. Literary Wanderings will hear Cynthia Daddona discuss and sign "Diary of a Modern-Day Goddess." Thousand Oaks Barnes & Noble, 160 S. Thousand Oaks Blvd., 446-2820.

* Thursday: 7 p.m. "Dessert with the Authors," featuring Lisa See, Paul Bishop and Charles Hillinger, at the Thousand Oaks Library, 1401 E. Janss Road. Members free, $7 for others. Reservations required. Call 477-3007 or visit the Web site at www.ftol.org.

Plan Ahead: Songwriter Roseanne Cash, author of "Penelope Jane: A Fairy's Tale," will sing and read from her book from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on March 29 at Adventures for Kids, 3457 Telegraph Road, Ventura, 650-9688.

Information about book signings, writers groups and publishing events can be e-mailed to anns40@aol.com or faxed to 647-5846.

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