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  • Writer's pictureJen

Welcome! / Meeting Mayumi

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

Hi! I'm Jen and I'm a poet. Or, as I see it, I make up word-puzzles in my head, and then try to solve them. Sometimes the words slip effortlessly in place, like it was "meant to be". Sometimes it takes years of playing around to get them to fit just right! Playing with words makes me happy; finding just the right, words to make my readers happy, makes me happiest!

If I had just one message for you, whether you're a kid or an adult -- it would be: live your creative dreams! Don't wait for your dream to come find you. It doesn't work that way. Take baby steps, plus big bold steps too, bravely in the direction you want to grow in. Write, paint, sing, play... and watch your creativity, and your self, bloom. If you have any questions for me -- about poetry, about writing, about being an author, about actual real ways that you can grow your writing craft, and maybe become a published writer or poet, feel free to contact me. Really!

Here's a little story about a time when I did -- and did not -- contact an artist I admired...

Maybe 15 years ago, I had the opportunity to meet my all-time favorite artist, Mayumi Oda, at a (very cool) conference called Bioneers. I was beyond excited just knowing I was in the same gigantic room as her! I finally worked up the nerve to approach her at her table. I think my voice quaked a little as I said, "Mayumi, your drawings in Thich Naht Hanh's book "Being Peace" changed my life. I wrote a paper about you in college. It is such an honor to meet you today!"

Mayumi looked me up and down with eyes which, I knew from her masterful Zen artworks, somehow saw more clearly than other people's. She looked long and deep into my own eyes, so long that mine may have actually watered a bit, and then hollered, to my shock and surprise: "WHY DIDN'T YOU CALL ME?" Flustered but truthful, I replied: "It never occurred to me that I could actually, you know, speak with you!" "Next time," Mayumi said firmly, "call. Or, visit me in Hawaii, any time. My number's in the phone book."

Mayumi Oda changed my life again that day. Realizing that my creative idol was a real-life, very kind, very funny, LOUD human, exploded an awful, harmful idea that had somehow taken root in my head; that art and artists were separate from me. She shifted something, in me, that day. Or maybe, she planted the seeds of an artist, in me, that day.

Did the hollering do that? Like I said: she's really good.

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