Russ Woody, an Emmy-winning television writer/producer and author will make a stop in Colusa on July 24.
Woody’s visit and day-long agenda of appearances is being hosted by Safe Haven Drop-In Center and the Colusa Theatre and Colusa Casino Resort in partnership with Colusa County Behavioral Health and the Colusa County Library.
Woody is a childhood friend of Colusa Theatre manager Dave Bishop. When Bishop, a strong supporter of Safe Haven learned the Center wanted to host a special guest who could not only bring a story of success, but one of beating the stigma of mental health issues he suggested Woody.
Woody, who is also a 1979 Chico State University graduate, has seen great successes in his writing career, but he has also waged the war on clinical depression.
When asked about his challenge and his success Woody responded by saying;
“There is nothing more painful or challenging than one’s struggle with his or her own mind. Some of us have had to work very hard to find peace of mind, harder still to find happiness. It is the mind, after all, that we use to overcome the surmountable and insurmountable of the world outside.”
“That I have been able to live a full, rich and predominantly happy life is due largely to modern medicine, the insight of those professionals who have helped me and some effort on my part. But it would be arrogant to assume that all did not teeter on the luck of the draw or maybe a passing thought by God,” he added.
“To those sore and delicate souls who know of, and have survived, the depths of mental illness’s black abyss, there are arguable rewards—insight, kindness, a creative bent… and perhaps there is universal purpose in that. I don’t know. But we, those of us who have returned from within our own terrifying worlds, we should take some pride that we are often the keepers of humanity’s conscience.”
Woody has a string of successful television shows to his credit as well as a successful first novel entitled “The Wheel of Nuldoid” which he wrote in 2009.
Since the early 1980s, he has amassed a number of producing and writing credits in television in the series Benson, Fantasy Island, Webster, Newhart, Valerie, St. Elsewhere, Hill Street Blues, Parenthood, Good Sports, Room for Two, Double Rush, Mad About You, The Drew Carey Show, Cybill, Style & Substance, Becker, True Jackson, VP, Notes from the Underbelly, The Middle and Murphy Brown, for which he won a Primetime Emmy Award as a part of the show’s writing team.
In advance of his July visit to Colusa Woody has shown support and generosity to Safe Haven Fund by donating five autographed copies of his book to the Fund’s raffle during the annual Stamp Out Stigma Wellness & Recovery Rally held in May. He also contributed a case of the books to be sold to benefit the Safe Haven Fund. The fund is a non-profit 501 c 3 under the umbrella of the Community Foundation of Colusa County. The contributions to this fund benefit the day to day expenses of the center.
Preliminary planning for Woody’s July 24 visit includes a meet and greet buffet breakfast at Tommy’s Market Street Grill, a viewing of an episode from the Emmy winning season of Murphy Brown and a question and answer session with Woody at the Colusa Theatre, a 3:30 pm reading from The Wheel of Nuldoid and a 6 pm reception and readings from his other of Woody’s works at the Colusa Library.
Woody will also visit Safe Haven Drop-In Center to share with the clients and other guests his experiences, successes and challenges.
All events are free with the exception of the buffet breakfast which is $11.99. Individuals wishing to attend the breakfast are asked to call Valerie at 458-0856 or Kathy at 458-3704 for reservations.
Mental Health Services Act coordinator Dereck Parks who with Valerie Stirling, peer support specialist oversees Safe Haven commented that he is so impressed that a man of Woody’s talent and success would contribute his time to do a presentation for Colusa County.
“It is indeed a generous gesture that Russ is willing to come here and make such an effort of outreach to our clients, our youth and our entire community,” he said. “I hope that many of the people of Colusa County will seize this opportunity and support this wonderful event.”