It's been a wild ride to get to here. I was born and raised in Southern California, and am a beach girl through and through. In fact, if I'm as much as 25 miles away from the ocean, I get the heebie geebies. There's no such thing as being too close to the water.
I started keeping a diary when I was six, and switched to serious journaling when I turned twelve. At 18, I burned all my journals. Their destruction seemed like a better idea than the possibility of peering eyes of parents or ex-boyfriends.
At 18, I moved to Hawaii for perspective - as well as to meditate, surf, swim, and explore the rain forests. After a couple of years, island fever and a broken relationship, drove me back to the west coast. In any case, I was ready to further my education.
From OCC and Humboldt State, I sailed further south and completed by BA Literature at UCSD. I married Gentry Lee and had two sons, Cooper Gentry Lee and Austin Myles Lee. Both are now grown men.
I traveled as a documentary photographer for PBS "Cosmos" and headed an international marketing team of educational products. I co-wrote one of the earliest instructional software videos.
My first marriage ended with his mid-life crisis, which actually allowed me to return to Laguna Beach, kids in tow. A chance meeting to fellow writer and landscape designer, Steve Kawaratani, led to our marriage, which continues to this day.
A second round of education at Laguna College of Art and Design, and a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Visual Communications. An online portfolio of my design work can be viewed at cooperdesign.net. Recently, I received a Certificate in Professional Screenwriting from UCLA.
I exhibited my abstract photography for five years at the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts and have earned several awards for writing, photography and design. In 2005, I had the honor of being named Best Columnist for newspapers 10,001-25,000 circulation by the California Newspaper Publishers Association. The National Resources Defense Council honored me with a Gold Award for a book I wrote, photographed and coproducer called, "Elements". I also produce, edit and write for a biannual journal, "GC River Runners".
Cooper Design Associates, my marketing communications firm has also been the recipient of design awards and recognition. Websites, Brochures, Environmental Graphics, CDs, Advertising are just a few of the areas that are the focus of the firm.
Spare time? Traveling, hiking and kayaking. A retreat home in Baja serves as a second adventuring base.
Next? Complete my memoir. It's a story of being sandwiched between two crooks.
Yep, a wild ride to get here ... and I wouldn't change a minute.