When I was all of 6 or 7 years old, my parents took me to see my first opera -- Madame Butterfly. At the climax of the performance, the desperate Cio-Cio-San fully realizes the extent of her supposed husband Pinkerton's abandonment, and sees no way out of the shame brought on by his betrayal. Just as Cio-Cio-San takes her father's ceremonial dagger and is about to impale herself, I jumped up from my seat and screamed at the top of my lungs, "No! No! Don't do that!" My astounded parents tried their best to calm my anguished sobs, explaining that it was just make-believe, but I wasn't fooled. I knew better. Even when Cio-Cio-San came to take her bow at the final curtain, I was convinced this was some other person wearing poor dead Cio-Cio-San's clothes.
Since then, I've stubbornly refused to believe that there was no way out, and have always looked for positive solutions to the difficulties, challenges, and uncertainties that we all face at one time or another, each in our own unique way. I am profoundly convinced that "There's got to be a better way!" than giving up on ourselves or on life. Winner Takes All is yet another step on my continuing journey toward that better way. Human beings are so very valuable and life so very precious that it deserves to be