meet jenn.

Kind of feels redundant to have an "About Me" page on a blog that's, uh, all about me. But anyway, if you're new here, then I can get you caught up.

Who's Jenn?

A twentysomething who spends her days juggling the manuscripts of three novels for young adults. Yes! So that makes her a writer.

One day, she'll shove a manuscript out of the nest and toward a few agents. One day, she'll cramp her fingers, they'll be crossed so hard, hoping so much. One day, there will be publication, and a new batch of manuscripts.

But not until she knows they're ready.

So for now, she's writing, re-writing, writing, re-writing, writing.

She loves writing.

Sometimes she says awful things about it, but that's just because she's impatient. Novels are very long journeys. So, sometimes staying the course is trickier than she'd like it to be. Sometimes writing is really hard. But she loves it.

She's writing this too, actually. In spite of the slightly creepy third person usage.

Does she do other things?

Mmhmm. She loves knitting, cooking, long rambling conversations, and coffee. The days that hold all these things are her favorite days.

Also, she's living at home with her generous parents and her older sister: the brilliant Kristen--graphic design student extraordinaire. Her fantastic younger sister lives nearby with her family: a fabulous husband and amazing daughter.

It's a life lived amidst the joyful chaos of family. That's a good life. Though chaotic. And joyous.

Does she have a "real" job?

Are you kidding? Working on the same paragraph for a few days in a row, or spending a year writing a manuscript that has to be utterly discarded; trying to bring people to life using twenty-six letters in different combinations, imagining places that haven't been imagined yet...

That's a real job, sweetie. All writers--even if they aren't published yet--are doing real work.

Oh, but she does sell cute knitted things with the brilliant Kristen: their shop is Squirrel & Serif on Etsy.

What's The Ampersand Café?

Jenn was an English major, and she took a bunch of writing classes with really smart professors.

But she never had a class called "Oh my gosh, I'm writing a novel, and I don't think I'm psychologically fit enough to do this. I might go insane, or I might never finish, or possibly both."

Maybe it was offered after she graduated, who knows. But once she got to work, she realized she needed that class. The Ampersand Café is a blog where she tries to puzzle out how she writes a novel. Or three.



Girl & Book. The & is what makes it all complicated. And wonderful.

Without the &, there's no story. And no blog.

This is me and Moxy. Moxy is my assistant. Her job is to be anxious: in fact, she stays anxious so I don't have to be. ... It's a good system. You can use it if you want to.

It's not a real café, then?

Um, no. See, Jenn has this dream of owning a huge house, with a dozen guest rooms. And she would fill them with people who can't afford a place, but are learning to do that thing they most love to do.

Because she thinks everyone has something they passionately care about, something they feel they were put on this earth to do.

... Seriously, I'm trying hard not to say "following our dreams!!" because that makes me sound like a Disney apostle, like I sleep on fairy princess bedsheets. I don't. Really.

But what I mean is: if we all do the things we love to do, it's a better place. That's all.

Does that make me an idealist? It does? Okay. I can live with that.

Anyway. Chefs-in-training, musicians, artists, writers... anyone aspiring. She would so love to support those endeavors.

Right now, she can't. Right now, she's the one being supported.

So, The Ampersand Café is her virtual guest room.

Better yet, it's her online café, where she hopes to support and encourage other writers and other aspirers.

Where she talks about what she's up to, and how she's trying to figure out this life, day by day by day.

Also, if she calls it a café, she can talk about food. Pie. Coffee. All those loves of her life.

Thank you for stopping by!

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