Lake County’s Finest: Artists, Writers, Visionaries, Activists

Visiting with old friends (and all of us are getting older!) is one of life’s greatest pleasures. During my Lake County visit in Northern California I found refreshment and inspiration in over half dozen artists, writers, peace activists, and environmental visionaries. The usual Northern California mix. Lake County is three hours north of San Franciso and over the mountains from Santa Rosa. In this rural county with Clear Lake as its jewel the small population pops with arts and cultural talent.

Xian and Susan Yeagan. Susan paints, designs theatrical lighting schemes, cooks like a dream, sings. Xian Yeagan is the former director of the Lake County Art Center. He still does their website. He’s a master of engraving and carving gemstones and glass. Now he’s drawn to fantasy images rendered in digital art.

Sybile Frances, 80-something, stewards Innisfree on the shores of Clear Lake where I lived for my first two years in Lake County. She lives her talk as an advocate for the environment. Her philosophy is expresed in Sybil’s Simple Sustainable Systems.

Barbara Christwitz continually seeks peace in every area of her religious, personal, political, and community life.

Fran Ransley is one of the funniest, incisive, and well-crafted writers I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet and read. She raises an array of animals, vegetables and fruits on her diminuative ranch. You outta see her reptilian chickens and miniature horses.

Hal Zina Bennett author and writing coach is a book industry marvel: writing and ghosting hundreds of books. His seminars and books reveal his knowledge of creativity, intuition, and shamanism. He’s been a friend and mentor since “Sightlines: A Poet’s Diary.”

Arletta Dawdy of Santa Rosa intrepidly pursuing her trilogy of novels.

Carol and Clovice Lewis. Both Carol and Clovice amaze me with their creativie flexibility and versatility. Clovice Lewis composes, plays cello with Jazzical and in many venues, flies planes, starts companies, and does anything computer. Carol Lewis is an internet marketing guru who sings, coaches, and goodness knows what else.

Meg Brown of Santa Cruz and Davis is an all-around artist: ceramic sculptor & potter, fabric artist (weaving and knitting), installation and performance art.

And, of course, Daniel Holland my host who is a comic, writer, gardener, and best-hearted man in the world.

That’s quite a list. I’m astonished and honored that we’re still friends. Perhaps after all home isn’t a place they have to take you in. Perhaps it’s the place where you are recieved with love. Even three years after my move to St. Louis I still have a place to go home to in Lake County, California.

Similar Posts


  1. Carol,

    You and Clovice were part of a wonderful family of friends for me in Lake County. Clovice, as I’ve often said, gave me the wisdom to see that I needed to come closer to the family fire. He said, “Everyone deserves to know the truth about their lives.” This was the key that opened the door for me in the fall of 2004 after Julia’s death…to come back to the home place in the Midwest.


  2. Hi Janet,
    I’ve had the opportunity to see you at both “Home Places”…lucky me. Thanks for including me in your tribute. Looks like I will be going up to Lake Co. shortly to do some research for a writer frined who lives on the East Coast…I’ll think of you again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *