Travel writer. Nightclub singer. Actor. These are some of the things I’d list if you asked what my favorite job would be. But one of Mark Helprin’s characters in A Winter’s Tale tops the list. She got to walk around the city every day, meet different people and collect stories.
I do some of that in my current job; but I’d like to do more. I became a writer because there were too many days when I feel like a helicopter, hovering, but unable to land. I want to find stories—mine and yours.
I’m not looking for the Ultimate Drama (though being a playwright I tend to like those). Because drama can be in anything and often is. The older couple in my neighborhood who spent years in an African leper colony as missionaries. The boy who starts boxing lessons because the kids at school are teasing him. The woman who faces an unexpected divorce and has to recreate herself and redefine what she thinks about family. All these are stories I know. I also want to find the ones I don’t know.
I don’t usually share much about myself because I tend to think the stories I make up are more interesting. But if I were to ask someone for a story, I’d probably start with seven questions:
- Who are you? Town, city, country, likes, dislikes, what do you do?
- What do you wish you could do?
- Are you in love with someone? Ever have been?
- Religion? God? No God? Why or why not?
- What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done or want to do?
- How are you going to do it?
1. Writer, mom, wife, born in Brooklyn, New York, went to college in Boston, lived in San Francisco, Hammond, Indiana and the Twin Cities. Traveled in Ireland, Israel, France, Switzerland, Canada and Mexico. Besides writing plays and my first novel for young readers, Augustana Care, which allows me to meet incredible people and write their stories. I also write for
2. I probably answered this question already – except I’d really love to travel more—starting with all the countries that start with the letter I.
3. Yes, yes and yes.
4. First was my singing and writing partner. I love singers because when they do it right, God is in the house. Reader, I married him. Had one child, divorced 13 years later. Then – some years later -- fell in love with my wise, funny, artistic, athletic, amazing friend. Reader, I married him, too. Still married. Still a great guy.
5. Jewish. Wrestle with God (a lot) so I must believe. Right?
6. Scariest thing I’ve ever done is sing onstage. But still managed to sing in a band called The Seizures. (Briefly Grand Mal and the Seizures). Couple of shows and cabarets, too. Miss that most in my writing life.
7. Will I do it again? Don’t know. Right now, I like watching my son sing onstage (opera and musical theater).
What about you, what are your answers? Any more questions? Send 'em here or write to me at www.jennazark.com.