Friday, August 31, 2007

Someone I'd Like You to Meet: Jenn from Something to Say

Jenn from Something to SayWhen I started the Write-Away Contest in January one of the first people I met was Jenn from Something to Say: About Life in the Netherlands who seemed to know exactly what to do to win a contest. From three different judges she picked up three Honorable Mentions and a 1st Place award so it seemed natural to see if she'd be willing to be the guest judge for August's contest.

Before meeting Jenn my experiences with The Netherlands had been limited to Dutch doors, going Dutch, double Dutch and (my favorite) Dutched chocolate which, contrary to popular belief, does not mean chocolate that has been fingered by people from Holland. Reading her blog has broadened my cultural horizons and getting to know her is a treat.

Jenn's got a fabulous sense of humor that will have you cracking up--just ask her breakdancing Serbian rapper friend. She has a beautiful voice that won national hamburger acclaim and spent 25 years dancing her way across international stages.

So why is she living in The Netherlands? Well besides her sense of humor she's adventurous. After growing up in Salt Lake City, Utah Jenn, her husband Don and their three children Ian, Andrew and Emma moved to Europe two years ago as part of a career change (read more about it here) and have been living in The Hague ever since. One year grew into two and now who knows how long they'll stay.

What's her favorite part of being in The Netherlands? She says it's the easy international travel and after following her trips to France and Italy all I can say is that she really knows how to make one jealous. Her least favorite part of life as an expat? As you would expect, having extended family so far away--and if I remember correctly they're somewhere in the jungles of Arizona so travel to Europe can be difficult.

One of the first questions I had for Jenn was about her time. Besides blogging and being mother to three she's recently taken a job at The International School of The Hague (and doesn't that just drip with classy-sounding couture?) and somehow she decided that the time was right to start up another blog to showcase some of the fun she's been having with her new camera. Looking Into is a collaborative photo blog with her friend Allison of Soccer Mom in Denial and is a place to show off her pictures and make me all the more jealous.

I asked her how she found time for all of this and she jokingly said she's on a strict "Who needs sleep?" regimen but followed up with admitting she's a night person. "I am a midnight creator. I like the late hours of the day when the household is asleep and my mind is active. I am alone at the keyboard and can write uninterrupted!"

However, besides abandoning sleep she gave an excellent piece of advice, one that I myself use to help the blogging ideas flow:

I don’t have routines, I kinda wish that I did, it might make life easier. But I tend toward the awaiting inspiration for my writing. I find that if I force it, it just doesn’t make for a good read. Honest open writing is what I strive for. As far as keeping ideas organized I do carry a notebook with me EVERYWHERE I go, and I jot down the things that strike me as interesting. Sometimes that is in single word ideas or lists, and sometimes that is full out writing BY HAND an entire post. It just kind of depends. But I highly recommend carrying a writer’s notebook around.

Finally, when I asked her about how long she intended to keep blogging she said that as her blog title indicates, she'll continue to post as long as she has "something to say." With her interesting experiences I think there are plenty of posts to come.

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Fourier Analyst said...

One of my faves! But of course I am prejudiced as she got me started blogging too! And even though I too am an ex-pat in the Netherlands, Jenn's fresh perspective on things makes me remember and appreciate the things I discovered here so many years ago! Glad to know other's love her stuff as much as I do!

Mike said...

Hello Jenn from Something to Say.


Mary Alice said...

Very good advice I think. And I love her photographs. I am finding myself, that a single sentence or a funny sign, some very small thing, can be the inspiration to create a larger piece on the silliness of life. I will start carrying a notebook, it is easy to forget tiny inspirations on a busy day!

Lei said...

How fun - to get to know here a little better. She leads a fascinating life!

Thanks for sharing!

Patois said...

Great fodder for a post. I love her blog, and I can't wait to check out the photo one. Thanks for sending all your readers her way.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I just recently found her blog (through you) and have been reading it as well.

Jenn in Holland said...

Gosh, this girl sounds really interesting. Maybe I will go and check out her blog!


Thanks so much for writing such a great post about me Scribbit. I do appreciate it! And thanks for the fun of being the judge in the contest. That was really cool to do.

Leslie said...

Jenn, oh, Jenn. How I love Jenn! Honestly, is there a sweeter soul on the internet? I think not. I'm absolutely head over heels for Jenn. She is definitely my #1 blogger I'd like to meet face to face.

Brillig said...

Wonderful tribute to an amazing woman. Seriously, I think she's got the whole world wrapped around her little finger--all of Bloglandia is in love with her! I am no exception to this. In fact, I may go so far as admit that I have something of a girl-crush on her. Tee-hee.

Lovely post, Sribbit. And Jenn deserves every word of it.

Anonymous said...

michelle: i totally enjoyed reading your post here. thanks, kathleen

PS. and i loved how you guys did the duct tape boats the other night. nice to see you again that night, even if it was so briefly.

Daisy said...

One of the best things about the blogosphere is 'meeting' interesting people. Jenn is one of those!

soccer mom in denial said...

Such a GORGEOUS (!!) photo of a lovely woman.

Thanks for writing about her. And thanks for writing about our little collaborative.

Shelby said...

Jenn in Holland has been of my very VERY favorites for a while. This is such a beautiful post and picture of her! Thanks for sharing. Wish you and her the best. Lovely lovely lovely day it shall be..


Jami said...

Jenn is GREAT, but she's something of an acquired taste. You know, kind of like chocolate is an acquired taste.