Tuesday, September 23, 2008

#86 Jen Michalski: Unchanging and So New

Jen Michalski’s twin brother, Scott, came out first, but his nose and ear were all bent up. His nose still looks a little smashed. Of course, this early struggle just made Jen even more ambitious. When Jen and Scott were toddlers, their mom used to dress them up in matching outfits even though they were fraternal twins, one a boy and one a girl. Their mother would take them shopping to department stores and they would sit on the mannequin stands and sing songs from Sesame Street (today, Jen has a mannequin in her house). Their mother always knew where they were. When Jen was 4, she learned to say Fuck You from her father. But all the fighting in the family made her reserved in some ways. Jen’s filter became quite thick and sometimes she'd rather say nothing than risk what the response might be. Around this same time, Jen decided that she wanted to be an elephant when she grew up. She thought it was a viable career choice. She thought that elephants looked peaceful and that they must be brave (there aren't many hiding places for an elephant). Over the years, Jen wanted to be an elephant, then a writer, then a policewoman, then a writer, then a doctor, then a writer. She wrote her first short story when she was 5 and she read everything she could find--to try to find out how other people lived. She assumed that everybody else was happier than she was. By the time she started college, Jen had written six novels. In college, she wrote poetry. After college, she wrote short stories and two more novels, but she never tried to publish them. Also after college, she was in a relationship for eleven years, which was difficult to end. Jen doesn't like change. She doesn't even like going on vacation because then she has to get used to a new routine. She has lived in the same city for most of her life (B’more!). Now, Jen’s much much happier with her life and especially with her new partner, the wonderful Phuong. And Jen still reads all the time and runs an online e-zine, jmww, where she publishes other people's stories. She’s fascinated by what people write and why. And last year, Jen published her first collection of stories, Close Encounters (So New Media). Now she’s writing another novel and this one she’s going to publish.

More Jen Michalski
JMWW

11 comments:

Leslie F. Miller said...

We're a lot alike, except for the twin thing. And the novel thing. Well, OK, I used to have a mannequin and I've lived in Baltimore a long time.

Joseph Young said...

yeeeha!

Michael Kimball said...

Jen, Joe, Leslie--you are all amazing.

deleted said...

Another fantastic story.

Tim Gager

Jen said...

It's wonderful! For your next project, I say you write people's future on a piece of rice. ;)

What's your mannequin's name, Leslie? Mine is Candy Darling.

LadyLitBlitzin said...

I love it!! Best story I've read in a long time! :)

Anonymous said...

Jen is so kind. You meet her and forget that you haven't known her forever. I wish I could be more like her.

--Pat King

Michael Kimball said...

Thanks, Tim. Writers are great material.

And Jen, futures are so difficult. You have to make stuff up.

Michael Kimball said...

Thanks, Lady. It's all Jen.

Michael Kimball said...

That's a great way to say it, Pat. I'm glad I met her.

Anonymous said...

yes, i'd like futures, too, but will content myself with all these amazing pasts, each so different but so intriguing.
zo