I'm Jennifer - writer, editor, coordinator, event planner, mama, and yogi ... and probably a few dozen other things. I am the author of three books: Drawing from Life: The Journal as Art (Princeton Architectural Press, 2005) and Dan Eldon: The Art of Life (Chronicle Books, 2001) and the forthcoming Life On Safari. I've also worked for a wide array of commercial, corporate and non-profit organizations developing annual reports, articles and marketing materials.
My own projects are essentially about creativity - how it works, where it originates. But I like to write about ... anything. Case in point: I was an editor on Microsoft's Complete Baseball, a commercial CD Rom (remember those?). Though I didn't know the difference between a short stop and a fielder, for about a year and a half I was able to tell you the life story of all sorts of Gus and Tom's who'd made it to the Big Show for a season before going home to Bozeman to pump gas.
As much as I love writing, it doesn't always keep a household afloat. Over the years, I've honed my talents as a program coordinator - more or less a go-to gal for communications, events, and everything needed to keep a group of people moving harmoniously toward the same end point. I really enjoy working with mini communities and helping to triage our way toward a common goal.
In 2005, I helped start the University of Iowa's Obermann Institute for Public Engagement, in which graduate students combine their research and teaching interests with public service. In terms of challenging my planning acumen: Fifteen grad students selected from a pool of 80, 30 speakers, a syllabi of 50+ readings, three field trips, four venues, and several catered meals.
More recently, I managed an 8-month search to hire a dean for a major law school. The job included managing multiple data bases, overseeing correspondence with more than a hundred nominees, and coordinating travel for the committee and candidates - all in a highly confidential environment.
And yet, a girl's gotta write. At least, this girl does. So I maintain two blogs, one about life as a single mother, post divorce; the other, Mothers of Invention, is the working space for a book about motherhood and creativity - and the pleasures and conundrums involved in doing both.
I've curated two exhibits, a traveling show of Dan Eldon's work and an overview of the University of Iowa's writing programs, A Community of Writers: Creative Writing at the University of Iowa, that was on display for a year and which included a 20-minute documentary film that I co-directed, A License to Write.
Motherhood has made my career path ever more circuitous, but it was never straight. After graduate school (MA in English - I don't regret it, but I can't say I'd recommend it), I got a teaching certificate and taught middle school. I was a barista and temped in several Seattle law firms before ending up where everyone ended up in Seattle, circa 1993: Bill G's Farm. Microsoft, that is.
Along the way, I've done a lot of yoga and been involved with various organizations and non-profits, i.e., The Demeter Project, which partnered professional women and middle school girls; The Friends of Hickory Hill Park; Creative Visions; Better Iowa City School Food; and - most recently - The Secret Society of Single Mamas.