“Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.” –Thoreau

14 October 2011


It's official. I'm going to graduate school.

I'll begin attending the Vermont College of Fine Arts in January 2012. I'll be working toward my Masters degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults. The writer-in-residence for our first semester will be Libba Bray-- author of the New York Times bestseller A Great and Terrible Beauty (a very good book) among other titles. It's a two year low-residency program, among the best low-res writing programs in the country (The Atlantic, Poets & Writers, ect). Plus, they offer my specialization. Most of the other schools I spoke with (full- and low-residency) either "don't do" young adult literature or assured me they could "make it work." Umm... no. Graduate school is too expensive for me to trust you'll somehow "make it work." The VCFA program is focused, innovative, and very exciting. I think I'm going to learn a lot.

Four books on this display were written by VCFA alumni.
It's scary, of course. It's a lot of money and a lot of time. My health isn't very good, I don't have a day-job right now, and we'd like to add children to our little family in the next few years (human children, obviously, since we already have the fuzzy variety). I've given serious consideration to whether or not it's even worth it; we all know a degree won't guarantee success, or even employment. But Casey assures me we can make it work and Casey never lies to me. Usually. Cue the weary sigh.

I have to give special thanks to the former-professors who submitted letters of recommendation for me. Well, they were formerly my professors. They are still professors, just not mine. Steve Buhler, Virgina Smith, and Stan Brown: Thank you! If I end up teaching college courses someday, it will be thanks to their influence. And to all three of my mothers, who gave me feedback on my submission materials. Chris Cary, Becky Cary, and Cindy Diers: You rock! I literally couldn't have done it without them.

That's it, I guess. That's my big news. I guess I'll go back to saving Marte Possen's life now.

06 October 2011


A. Age: 26
B. Bed Size: Full. I've had this bed since junior high. Casey loves it (he's a cuddler) but I think it's too small (because I, for the most part, am not).
C. Chore That You Hate: Doing the dishes. I love to cook, but nothing will ruin a perfectly lovely meal like having to clean up after it. This has become the spouse's chore.
D. Dogs or Cats: I love them both, and the rest of my family favors dogs, but I'd choose cats every time. Lucky for Princess Catherine and Henry the Wonder Kitten.
E. Essential Start to Your Day: Sunshine. I wake up with the sun.
F. Favorite Color: It depends on context. I like to wear gray (I know, technically a shade) or blue. I like to decorate with brown and red. I like to eat green or yellow. But my official "favorite" is purple. Weird, right?
G. Gold or Silver: No preference. I wear both, often together.
H. Height: 5’4" but people always think I'm taller.
I. Instruments You Play: None. I played the clarinet once upon a time and the guitar. I think I flirted with the violin and flute. Nothing stuck. I sing instead.
J. Job Title: Writer. Occasional actress and model. Hopefully I'll be able to add "graduate student" soon.
K. Kids: They are fuzzy. Catherine, a six year old calico tabby we sometimes call "Cat", and Henry, a one year old marmalade with too much energy.
L. Live: On the northside in Chicago, Illinois. We rent.
M. Mother’s Name: Christine, called Chris, is my biological mother. Rebecca, called Becky, is my stepmom.
N. Nicknames: Jenny. Jenn. Jenna. Child (thanks, Dad). Bear (thanks, Grandma). Sweetheart (Casey is not terribly creative). Panda (from high school). Elf (from grade school). I think that's about it.
O. Old-fashioned Favorite: I have a lot of these. I love scones and shepherd's pie and black tea with milk. I prefer antique furniture. Family traditions are important to me, especially at holidays. I like antiquated names.
P. Pet Peeves: People who put their pets up for adoption because they moved to an apartment that won't take them. You chose the apartment! How could you consider apartments that won't take pets?
Q. Quote From a Movie: "This is the captain. We have a little problem with our entry sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then - explode." (Serenity)
R. Right- or Left-Handed: Right-handed! Not even a little ambidextrous.
S. Siblings: Younger brother, Gordon, who got all of the height and the cool name.
T. Time You Wake Up: With the sun. Sometimes I go back to sleep though.
U. Underwear: Uh, yes?
V. Vegetable You Hate: I don't hate vegetables. I can do without raw onions, but I love them cooked.
W. What Makes You Run Late: Cat vomit. Usually.
X. X-Rays: Hard to come up with one for the letter X, eh? Umm... I've had several. Arms, legs, head, chest, stomach. Well, some of those were probably other kinds of scans. I give up.
Y. Yummy Food That You Can Make: Enchiladas. Scones. Spaghetti and meatballs. Quiche Lorraine. I'm all over the map.
Z. Zoo Animal: I love manatees.