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Jenn Book Haselswerdt

US educator, playwright + dramaturgist


Jenn Book Haselswerdt

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My guest this week on the podcast is Jenn Book Haselswerdt, a multi passionate creative and mum of 2 from Missouri USA.

Jen is an Arts integration teacher, playwright and dramaturgist , but also enjoys doing all kinds of creating, from pottery to knitting and baking.

Jenn was first drawn to the theatre through 'Annie' the musical. She was a professional through College, had a short time as a professional actor but then realised that she wanted to teach and write in the theatre.

Jenn holds an Undergraduate Degree in Theatre, and a Masters Degree in Theatre, History and Criticism. She works with companies on new play development, reading scripts and doing research into the histories behind plays.

She also works with a gallery to teach about the history of the art pieces.

**Jenn's episode contains mentions of anxiety and depression**

If today’s episode is triggering for you in any way I encourage you to seek help from those around you, medical professionals or from resources on line. I have compiled a list of great international resources here

Music used with permission from Alemjo my new age and ambient music trio.

When chatting to my guests I greatly appreciate their openness and honestly in sharing their stories. If at any stage their information is found to be incorrect, the podcast bears no responsibility for guests' inaccuracies.

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Podcast transcript at the bottom of the page

Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of The Art of Being A Mum Podcast. I'm beyond honoured that you're here and would be grateful if you could take 2 minutes to leave me a 5-star review in iTunes or wherever you are listening. It really helps! This way together we can inspire, connect and bring in to the light even more stories from creative mums. Want to connect? Take a screenshot of this episode and share it on Instagram tagging me in with @art_of_being_a_mum_podcast

I can't wait to connect. And remember if you or somebody you know would like to be a guest on the podcast, get in touch! I love meeting and chatting to mammas from all creative backgrounds, from all around the world!


Thank you!


Alison acknowledges this Land of the Berrin (Mount Gambier) Region as the Traditional Lands of the Bungandidj People and acknowledge these First Nations people as the custodians of the Region.


Welcome to the Art of Being a Mum podcast where I, Alison Newman, a singer, songwriter and Aussie mum of two,


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enjoys honest and inspiring conversations with artists and creators about the joys and issues they've encountered while trying to be a mum and continue to create.


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You'll hear themes like the mental juggle, changes in identity, how their work's been influenced by motherhood, mum guilt, cultural norms


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and we also strain to territories such as the patriarchy, feminism and capitalism.


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You can find links to my guests and topics we discuss in the show notes along with a link to the music played, how to get in touch


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and a link to join our supportive and lively community on Instagram.


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I'll always put a trigger warning if we discuss sensitive topics on the podcast but if at any time you're concerned about your mental health


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I urge you to talk to those around you, reach out to health professionals or seek out resources online.


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I've compiled a list of international resources which can be accessed on the podcast landing page, slash podcast.


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The Art of Being a Mum would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land and water which this podcast is recorded on as being the Boanduk people.


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I'm working on land that was never seeded.


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Hello and welcome to another edition of the podcast. Thank you so much for joining me from wherever you are in the world.


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It is a pleasure to have you. My guest this week on the podcast is Jen Book-Hasselswert.


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Jen is a multi-passionate creative and a mum of two from Baltimore in the USA.


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Jen is an arts integration teacher, a playwright and a dramaturgist but also enjoys doing all kinds of creating from pottery to knitting and baking.


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Jen was first drawn to the theatre through the musical Annie.


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She was an actor through college and had a short time as a professional actor but then realised that she actually wanted to teach and write in the theatre instead.


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Jen holds an undergraduate degree in the theatre and a masters degree in theatre, history and criticism.


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She works with companies on new play development, reading scripts and doing research into the histories behind plays.


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She also works with a gallery to teach about the history of various art pieces.


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Please be aware today's episode contains brief mentions of anxiety and depression.


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I hope you enjoy episode number 101. Thanks again for tuning in.


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Thank you so much, Jen. It's such a pleasure to welcome you to the podcast today. Thank you for coming on.


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Thanks for having me.


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Such a pleasure. And we were just chatting before we hit record that I'm in your future right now.


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It's Saturday at 1pm in Australia and what time did you say it was over there?


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It is Friday night at 10.30pm.


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There you go. Well, we're still here. The future is still guffing.


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It's so bizarre to think like that.


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I always love on New Year's Eve when, because we're one of the first, apart from Auckland, Sydney is one of the main first ones to go.


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And I love just sitting there through the day and just watching all the other countries go through their big fireworks.


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And it feels so weird when you're sitting in bright sunshine on a really hot day and you're watching people in the snow in the dark.


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It is so cool. I love it.


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Well, I have to tell you, my son is 12 years old and he is really excited that I'm talking to someone in Australia right now because a video game that he was really looking forward to came out today.


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And all the YouTubers who he knows have gone to Australia so that they could get the video game first.


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Oh, wow.


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And record all of their YouTube.


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Yeah, like reactions and what game is that? Do you know what it's called?


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It is Tears of the Kingdom.


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Yeah, right.


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It is the new Zelda game.


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Oh, yes, yes. I know the one.


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Yeah, yes. That is a very popular. That's been going for a long time too, hasn't it, Zelda?


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I mean, yeah, I'm I'm 43. And like I remember playing a Zelda game back on 8-bit Nintendo back in the early 90s.


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Yeah, yeah. Good old Zelda. She's still going. Good on her.


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So what part of America are you in, Jane?


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I am in Missouri, which is in kind of like the middle of the country.


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Kind of fraught right now. But I'm from Baltimore, which is in Maryland close to the East Coast.


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Oh, yes.


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Yeah, I was from the Atlantic Ocean.


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You would be amazed the amount of people I've had on here from Maryland.


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I can't say it right. I say Maryland. Yeah, I reckon I've had three, three episodes with people from like Baltimore or near Baltimore.


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Yeah, there's something going on in that part of the world that's just coming to me.


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We embrace kitsch in a way in Baltimore that like no no other place does.


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And so I think we kind of breed arts loving people.


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Yeah, I love that. It's so cool.


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Yeah, and I'm starting to get better with my geography of America.


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So yeah, I appreciate when you say you're sort of in the middle. That's my mental thing.


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Yep. Yep.


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So my parents live in Maryland. My brother lives in Los Angeles, California.


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And so I'm about 1500 miles from each. From each of them. Yeah. Yeah. That's a beautiful visual. That makes sense. Yes.


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But I still forget which side is Seattle on the West Coast. It is. Yeah.


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Sometimes I get confused because New York's on the East Coast, isn't it?


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Yes. That's cool.


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And Seattle's in Washington State and Washington, D.C. is on the East.


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How did you manage that?


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There are too many, you know, wanting to name things after the same exact people.


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Why there, you know, I'm in Columbia, Missouri, and there's Colombias all over the place.


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Everywhere. Yeah. Yep. Yep.


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Oh, there you go. It's interesting. I love all these things I get to learn. It's all fun.


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Actually, when I was a kid, I used to play this game. It was called Where in the World is Carmen San Diego.


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And that was one of my favorite games. Yes. And I used to love like I liked that one more, the original more than the time travel one.


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It was something I did like the time travel. But yeah, that just made me realize all these amazing places in the world.


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And I think that was the start of me being fascinated with I had to get pen pals so I could talk to people.


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And then my fascination with the weather, what it's like in other places like I don't know.


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It's built from that that game. It's opening my eyes to it. Yeah.


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It's the only way I know nation's capitals. Yes. Yeah. That's so true, isn't it?


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Hey, on weather, what what's it like there at the moment? What's your right now? It is humid and muggy.


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Yeah, it is. We had a really cold snap and very late cold snap with the garden.


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Gardens kind of froze up and none of the plants knew what to do. Yeah.


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But now it's 85 degrees and very, very humid. I'm just going to work that into my conversion.


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Yeah, I'm still I'm still I don't have a match. Oh, yeah, that's nice.


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Yeah, that's warm. Yeah. But muggies. Yeah. Yeah. Make it a bit uncomfortable.


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No, not muggy. Yeah. There we go. All right. Enough of my random questions.


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I have nothing to do with anything. I just indulge myself. I love it. Oh, dear.


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So you're obviously a mother, Jen. And I love on your your Instagram how you say you like like the coziness of creating things that are cozy.


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And so you do all sorts of different things. So, yeah, share with us what you like to create.


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Sure. So I stole the phrase from this influencer named Deanna Joy, which is multi-passionate creative,


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which I think sounds so much better than dilettante. So I my first love is Twitter.


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But when we're talking about the the creating I do with my hands, I love baking.


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I love pottery. I love quilting and other sewing.


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And kind of all those things that make you feel warm and cozy. Yeah. Now, I'm sorry, I cut you off.


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What did you say your first love was? Well, my first love was theater and still is. Oh, magnificent.


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Oh, we're going to get on very well. So, yeah. So straight theater or musical theater?


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Mostly straight because my voice was never well, my voice is OK, but my dance skills were never at a place where I could.


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Nine years of ballet didn't do anything for me. Yeah.


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But yeah, so straight theater. I actually have my undergraduate degree in theater and master's degree in theater history and criticism.


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And I work with companies on new play development and reading scripts and doing research into the histories behind plays and things like that, which is


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really the most nerdy fun you can possibly have. But that just sounds so fascinating, like getting to delve into stuff in such a deep level.


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And you said criticism. So that means you can be like a proper critic and give like proper critiques on plays and things.


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Yeah. Yeah. And my sort of my sort of outlook on things, which informs the way I teach to is, you know, saying I like or I don't like really doesn't help anyone in their creation of theater and their creation of whatever.


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I also work with a gallery in town to do similar work with some of their gallery shows teaching about the history of the art pieces.


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But to ask questions about the creation and ask questions that might lead to more questions that might lead to playing with what answers might be is just such a fun collaborative way to work that playwriting doesn't have to be


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a solo endeavor. And, you know, you can it's called a play for a reason. It should be fun.


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This particular guy in Australia, his name's Peter Gers and he's very, I don't know, well known in South Australia, not probably the rest of Australia and certainly not internationally, but he's a theater critic.


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And over the years, he's he's he's made it. He has a radio show and he used to be an actor. And he basically I remember him saying once about critiquing theater, that there was absolutely no point in belittling people or saying, you know, they did a terrible job.


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You know, it's all about recognizing the amount of effort they've gone to, what their intention was behind the piece. Maybe the delivery wasn't, you know, quite what they had hoped or, you know, beyond the level of what he might have expected or whatever.


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But there's no, there's absolutely no point in just bashing people, you know, when they're having a go. Is that something you could sort of relate to?


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Absolutely. I think I was taking a professional development one time.


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And there was an article that we read about the power of positivity in working with something like this with with art criticism, and I absolutely burst into tears in the middle of class, because I had always been called, I don't know if you do you know the movie


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Pollyanna? Oh yes. Kaylee Mills, like the 60s or 70s. So I'd always been called a Pollyanna because I am very positive about things. And it had never, you know, being a teenager in the 90s, when, you know, it was cool to be aloof and ironic.


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Yeah, but being a positive person was really difficult and being positive about things, you know, people kind of looked at it as though you didn't have a critical bone. That to be critical meant to be nasty.


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And, you know, darn it, I was 15 years old, I like the Spice Girls and I wanted to be able to like the Spice Girls. Yeah, yeah, you know, but I couldn't.


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You know, reading this article about the power of positivity just struck such a chord with me that it should be about buoying up what's good about things and striving to make those things that aren't at that level, to that level, rather than bringing everything down.


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Yes, yeah, that's a really good way of saying it, isn't it? It's like you're, I don't know what the word is, it's this constructive criticism, I guess. It's things that can help people to make changes or, you know, look at things in a different way.


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It's not just a straight comment that's, you know, with no possibility for any further, anything. It's like, a statement that's not helpful at all.


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I think like when we're talking about, you know, being, you know, so criticism doesn't have to be critical, right? So like, when I'm working with a playwright on developing a new script or a new piece of theater, you know, who cares what I like?


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What I like isn't necessarily going to be the same thing that an artistic director is going to like, or that the lady in row six is going to like, or the man in row seven, they're all going to like different things.


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So what's the purpose of saying I like this or I don't like that? But what we can do is say, hey, I noticed that in Act One, your character says such and such, but that never comes back in Act Two. It seemed really important in Act One.


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Was it important in Act One? And being able to ask those questions to help structure that piece.


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And play, you know, I keep coming back to the word play. Play around with those answers and hopefully ask more questions.


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You know, it's kind of like a, I guess, like, I mean, this is a person who knows nothing making this statement, so correct me if I'm wrong, but it feels to me like it's like a book editor kind of like you're looking at with eyes outside of who wrote it.


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And you can pick up stuff like, like you said, like, is there a theme that seemed important then didn't get continued or something come up all of a sudden or where did that come from? Like, there's no background to this, whatever.


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That's kind of, I guess, a layman's way of describing it.


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For sure. So like, so the it's called like Dramaturge, which is the same as it's the German word for playwright.


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And so, but we, I mean, I do write plays, but when I'm Dramaturging, that's not being the playwright. And so I kind of, so someone who practices metallurgy shapes metal into something beautiful. So someone who practices dramaturgy helps shape drama into something beautiful.


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There you go.


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That's so cool. I love that.


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I learned a new word today too.


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That's awesome.


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Do you recall being a child and just like how you got into your love of theater? Where did that come from?


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I, that's a great question. I remember going to, I remember whether it was watching the movie Annie or going to see a play, but I remember that it was Annie specifically and looking at the children on stage and going, I could do that.


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And so I started going to theater camps when I was five.


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And, you know, just kind of being in plays and my theater camp that I grew up with was also at a swim club and did kind of sports stuff too because it's trying to be all things to all people.


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And then John Waters movie was filmed there, speaking of Baltimore.


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So that was super fun.


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But, you know, they were very specific that we had all of us had to take music and dance and make the sets and the props for the play.


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So kind of, kind of, you know, well rounded in that way.


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And then I was in all the plays in middle school, which is sixth to eighth grade here. Yeah. And then in when I was going into ninth grade, a new school was opening up that was arts focused.


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And so I went there. And so I've been a theater major since the time I was 13 years old.


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And John never told us that there was anything beyond you could be an actor or you could be a director.


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I mean, I guess I knew in my head that you could make scenery and things like that. But really like when you were studying, you're either going to be an actor or a director.


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And I was like, you know, with acting all the way through, you know, graduating from college. And then I was a professional actor for a hot minute.


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And I had always wanted to do and what I've been saying since maybe second grade was I want to teach. I want to write. I want to do theater. And when I found dramaturgy and also teaching.


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I'm an arts integration teacher for my full time job. Those things. That's what it is. It's you know, dramaturgy is using teaching to fulfill the arts and arts and teaching arts integration is using the arts to fulfill education.


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And so those things really. It's what I wanted to do since I was in second grade. Yeah. And it was like, it was just.


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You just hadn't discovered that that was a thing yet.


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And it was actually my roommate when I was 22. She was she told us that she was leaving to move to another state because she got literary management as dramaturgy internship at a theater out of state.


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And at the same time, one of my friends from high school got a gig on Broadway in the show Mamma Mia. Oh, wow. And I was jealous of my roommate, but wanted to congratulate my friend who was going to be an actress on Broadway.


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Yeah. I thought, wait a minute. Yeah, perhaps I need to examine my life. Yeah.


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There you go. Oh, how cool is that? Yeah. And that's the thing. Like I found in. I don't know this all these little worlds that you have no idea about. You know, like in talking to people just through this podcast, like discovering all these other things you can do.


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If you know you want to be involved in art, you know, you don't. Sorry. There's not just, you know, the actual painter. There's all these other things you can be. And one of my favorite chats I've had on here was with an art historian, which I found so fascinating.


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I was like, I feel like I've missed my calling because I love art. I don't make it very well, but I'm really fascinated in the history behind things and the symbolism and the imagery and how they, I don't know, express their ideas through different ways and all the different styles of art.


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Yeah. So this is really cool that I'm learning something. I bet you there's no one listening that has ever heard the word dramaturgy before. So, hey, and if you have, send me a message on my Instagram and I'll give you a prize or something because this is cool.


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I'm going completely off path now that I know this stuff. Whoa, that I love it. I love it. What are your like favorite plays or things that have influenced you the most like actors or themes or anything? Just share with me things that you love about theater.


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Well, I always, I think about musicals. I always think about musicals first because they are musicals are what I don't know captures everything. I don't know. I love Sondheim. Stephen Sondheim's work.


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Into the Woods is my favorite.


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The first act of Sunday in the Park with George.


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The second act is not my favorite.


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The first act is great.


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I think that there is something in the way that he works his lyrics and music together.


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Being the person who who is able to do both.


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And I think his command of rhythms are are amazing. I felt very


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content is not the right word, vindicated I felt vindicated when I was listening to an interview with him and the interviewer asked, you know, how do you come up with your rhymes and he said I use a rhyming dictionary.


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I was like oh me too. I felt I was so excited.


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So he's, he's wonderful.


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His work is wonderful.


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Little Shop of Horrors is another favorite of mine, Howard Ashman and Alan Menken.


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You know before they ever wrote the Little Mermaid.


00:25:32,000 --> 00:26:01,000

Their work adapting and when I write plays I do adaptations, mostly their work adapting just this weird little B horror movie into this amazing, kitschy work of musical theater is incredible and there's a moment in the movie where Rick Moranis,


00:26:01,000 --> 00:26:21,000

he does a little riff, because he's you know very nerdy, the character, and he goes, I don't know, I don't know, and his voice just changes into this amazing passionate singer.


00:26:21,000 --> 00:26:26,000

And being able to pull that out is is wild.


00:26:26,000 --> 00:26:34,000

I am a big, I've always been a big fan of Wendy Wasserstein, who passed away.


00:26:34,000 --> 00:26:49,000

Oh gosh, probably almost 20 years ago now but her work was one of the first, her, she and Carol Churchill I think were the first two sort of feminist playwrights that I had read.


00:26:49,000 --> 00:26:53,000

And so their work was really influential on me.


00:26:53,000 --> 00:27:14,000

And there's some fantastic stuff going on in small theaters. Nowadays I really wish that Broadway would go back to championing new works and not reviving the old ones I will die on the hill that Oklahoma is a subversive piece of theater.


00:27:14,000 --> 00:27:16,000

It really is.


00:27:16,000 --> 00:27:21,000

But we don't need to revive it every two minutes.


00:27:21,000 --> 00:27:35,000

It's interesting you say that I had a conversation with, back in season two, Dr. Erica Ball, who writes contemporary classical music in the US.


00:27:35,000 --> 00:27:49,000

And we were having this conversation about that, why people keep putting on all these shows of Mozart and Tchaikovsky and when there's all these people that are alive today, and a lot of women too,


00:27:49,000 --> 00:27:56,000

and people of color that are writing new music and why aren't we listening to that and why aren't they being put on.


00:27:56,000 --> 00:28:12,000

And, yeah, it was this sort of this push and pull between the audience that wants to hear something familiar, because I think they will enjoy themselves more if they know what they, you know, they know it and they feel familiar with it, or the audience that wants to feel challenged


00:28:12,000 --> 00:28:23,000

and wants to be pushed out of their comfort zone and it's a real quandary. And I guess it probably is a similar thing because at the end of the day, these things have got to make money.


00:28:23,000 --> 00:28:27,000



00:28:27,000 --> 00:28:47,000

Yes, and there's this whole conversation about how like the older people have more of the money. And so if we want to make money, we have to do what the older people quotes. Yeah, what they want to see is what they're comfortable with but what we're forgetting is that younger


00:28:47,000 --> 00:29:06,000

people want to be part of these conversations they want to support the arts people who, you know, can't necessarily afford, you know, to, you know, wear a suit to an evening of $500 theater.


00:29:06,000 --> 00:29:23,000

They, they also deserve the arts they also deserve to see themselves on stage, be exposed to these different worlds and so there's, you know, yes, the arts need to make money.


00:29:23,000 --> 00:29:40,000

And we need to, you know, keep bringing in the people who are going to pay for the things, but also not forget that there's a new and diverse audience out there who also needs to see this work.


00:29:40,000 --> 00:30:07,000

And there's a theater company in town here that does incredibly avant garde fantastic works and I've worked with them with dramaturgy a few times, kicking myself that I wasn't able to work on their new play, which is up this weekend, but they do these


00:30:07,000 --> 00:30:28,000

quite specific works, and, you know, both that theater and the community theaters in town and the other professional theaters in town, make things very accessible to a diversity of audiences which I think is a really wonderful thing about our local


00:30:28,000 --> 00:30:44,000

community here that you know yes you can go and see ragtime and Susickle, and also an immersive Frankenstein, you know, really fantastic.


00:30:44,000 --> 00:30:52,000

Yeah, it's interesting isn't it's like the bigger things get the more mainstream they have to get to have an audience.


00:30:52,000 --> 00:31:20,000

And it is kind of disappointing.


00:31:20,000 --> 00:31:28,000

So, thanks to the purpose of our discussion today, which I'm not apologizing at all for going off track and I'll probably do it again.


00:31:28,000 --> 00:31:32,000

Thank you for having a grown up arts conversation with me.


00:31:32,000 --> 00:31:35,000

I love it. I do love it.


00:31:35,000 --> 00:31:38,000

Yeah, so how many kids have you got Jen.


00:31:38,000 --> 00:31:49,000

I have to. I have Mickey who is 12 and Eloise who's 15 months. Oh, gorgeous. I love that name Eloise that is such a sweet little name.


00:31:49,000 --> 00:32:01,000

Oh, that's beautiful. So, two kids at completely different stages of their, of their growing up, how, how you finding that the gap and I'm asking that because I've got seven years between my two.


00:32:01,000 --> 00:32:08,000

And at times it can be very challenging, but how do you sort of navigate that the differences I suppose the challenges of that.


00:32:08,000 --> 00:32:23,000

Yeah, we were very wishy washy for 10 years about whether or not we wanted to have another baby. And all of our friends were having pandemic baby so we thought let's have a pandemic baby and so we had a pandemic baby.


00:32:23,000 --> 00:32:38,000

And, you know, we were really, you know, honestly nervous about how Mickey was going to handle, you know, not being an only child anymore after being an only child for 10 years.


00:32:38,000 --> 00:32:44,000

And their relationship is so sweet.


00:32:44,000 --> 00:32:49,000

She started giving real hugs, just a couple of weeks ago.


00:32:49,000 --> 00:32:59,000

And she loves they they run at each other and he picks her up and she hugs him around the neck and it's, it's super sweet.


00:32:59,000 --> 00:33:08,000

And I really like that you know there are things that you know that we do with Mickey that Eloise can't be involved with.


00:33:08,000 --> 00:33:19,000

You know I took him to see wicked at a theater where two hours in either direction from the closest like big city.


00:33:19,000 --> 00:33:27,000

So I took him to one of the big cities to see the tour of wicked, and she can't come.


00:33:27,000 --> 00:33:38,000

Or, we're taking him on a behind the scenes tour of the zoo because he wants to, he wants to be a zookeeper.


00:33:38,000 --> 00:33:40,000

And you have to be.


00:33:40,000 --> 00:33:53,000

He is, we're specifically taking him behind the scenes of the reptile house. And you have to be over eight to come to go to the reptile house so there are these things that we only do with him.


00:33:53,000 --> 00:34:04,000

And I think that really helps, you know, strengthen that relationship, since, you know, a lot of attention has to be on her.


00:34:04,000 --> 00:34:17,000

You know we can't do the same nighttime routine with Mickey anymore that we used to do because Eloise has an earlier bedtime and honestly, I fall asleep with her, a lot of the time.


00:34:17,000 --> 00:34:24,000

And, but yeah, their, their relationship is really fantastic. I was just thinking the other day that when she graduates from high school.


00:34:24,000 --> 00:34:29,000

I'm going to be 60, which is very old.


00:34:29,000 --> 00:34:35,000

You know, it'll be fine. Yeah, I've done that actually maintain that.


00:34:35,000 --> 00:34:48,000

Yeah, yeah, that's love. That's really nice. And when you talk about that thinking to the future. I remember one day I was sitting in the car waiting at school pickup, and I worked out how many more years I'll be sitting in the car at this spot for school.


00:34:48,000 --> 00:34:55,000

I was like, Oh my god, like, it freaked me out for a second, but you don't think about that every day.


00:34:55,000 --> 00:35:08,000

Yeah, you just, you just get on with your life but yeah I think the saddest moment for me though like I'd never had sort of any, like, sort of regrets or anything about the age gap because it just literally it happened how it had to happen, you know, it couldn't have happened any


00:35:08,000 --> 00:35:22,000

other way. And, but then when I realized they'll never actually go to school together. I thought, Oh, that's a shame because I really liked, you know, having my sister at school and, you know, just, I think the ease of the drop offs and the pickups you know, one location.


00:35:22,000 --> 00:35:31,000

But I was like, Oh, and that was really the only time I sort of had a bit of a moment but apart from that. Yeah, but how did you feel. Oh sorry you gone.


00:35:31,000 --> 00:35:38,000

It's interesting to I work at, at a small private arts based school.


00:35:38,000 --> 00:35:58,000

And there's a preschool and I work at the elementary I used to work at the preschool. And Mickey was already in elementary school when I started working at this school so we've kept him in public school and he's really thriving in public school.


00:35:58,000 --> 00:36:08,000

And, Eloise is already registered at the preschool for when she turns to. So for all it's 2024.


00:36:08,000 --> 00:36:29,000

And it's just a very different, you know, kind of, kind of thing I know from being an extracurricular teacher of Mickey's he's taken some of my theater camps and I used to teach an artful yoga class where you, the kiddos do yoga and then they do an art project that gets


00:36:29,000 --> 00:36:33,000

into the creative space.


00:36:33,000 --> 00:36:39,000

And it's just it does not always work out for me to be Mickey's teacher.


00:36:39,000 --> 00:36:55,000

And, you know, it might be completely different with Eloise that you know she might be able to be my student and so just kind of thinking about the differences between having a child in public school and having a child in private school.


00:36:55,000 --> 00:37:00,000

I mean I don't I don't know how she'll be, but you know,


00:37:00,000 --> 00:37:08,000

Yeah, no, it's, and I've noticed the differences in how children are educated in the gap.


00:37:08,000 --> 00:37:24,000

Like, I don't know just the things that Alex used to bring home the eldest about how he was taught to read and particular things around maths and then Digby the little one, it's like they use completely different jargon about talking about things and sometimes I'll


00:37:24,000 --> 00:37:34,000

find myself saying a thing that Alex used to do like with these called chunk it up when you had a really big, really big word, and you break it into two and it did be looking at what are you talking about.


00:37:34,000 --> 00:37:51,000

I'm like, Oh, sorry, you don't say that you say something else now. And just get just these all these little differences. It's like, it's been quite interesting because I have my backgrounds in early childhood education so I found it really interesting to see how, you know, these new, I guess new


00:37:51,000 --> 00:38:04,000

research has been done and things like that over the years about how you deliver your content or whatever and all the all the new technology that's around now which wasn't around when Alex was a little tucker.


00:38:04,000 --> 00:38:14,000

Yeah, Mickey, Mickey asked the other day. He was like, Why do you keep changing my rules about how much screen time I'm allowed to have, like how much time on the switch and how much time on the iPad.


00:38:14,000 --> 00:38:26,000

Because we don't know what we're doing. No one has ever had to do this before. Yeah, we have no idea.


00:38:26,000 --> 00:38:45,000

I love that. Oh, I love that so much. Yeah, I'll try to figure it out. Yeah, yeah, we're the guinea pig generation when it comes to this. Oh my gosh, it's funny.


00:38:56,000 --> 00:39:13,000

Talking about differences, I want to chat about when you when you had Mickey and your transition to becoming a mother, compared to when you had Eloise.


00:39:13,000 --> 00:39:22,000

How, how did you go with your own identity, I guess and the adjustments in changing from Jen to somebody's mother.


00:39:22,000 --> 00:39:33,000

Yeah, that's great. That's a great question. Um, when I had Mickey, it was you know it's 31.


00:39:33,000 --> 00:39:39,000

And most of my friends hadn't yet had children.


00:39:39,000 --> 00:39:47,000

Being in the Washington DC area at that time people have children, very late.


00:39:47,000 --> 00:39:56,000

So, I think I knew one couple who had a baby. And so kind of being like you said the guinea pigs.


00:39:56,000 --> 00:40:02,000

At the time, and kind of having to figure this all out.


00:40:02,000 --> 00:40:14,000

My parents were relatively close by about 45 minutes away at that time and my mom was one of Mickey's primary caregivers. While I was at work she came three days a week.


00:40:14,000 --> 00:40:22,000

And he had sitters the other two days, or with my husband, and being able to have my mom there.


00:40:22,000 --> 00:40:38,000

Being supportive and being really my role model of being a parent because I didn't have well because she's awesome but also because I didn't have any real peers to look at as role models.


00:40:38,000 --> 00:40:44,000

And just kind of trying to figure it all out at that time.


00:40:44,000 --> 00:40:53,000

Between when we had Mickey in the Washington DC area, and having Eloise here.


00:40:53,000 --> 00:41:03,000

You know we lived, we've kind of slowly gone halfway across the country we made a stop in Michigan which is the little mitten shaped.


00:41:03,000 --> 00:41:15,000

Up by Canada. And so we made a stop there for two years, and then moved here. And within that 10 years in between Eloise and Mickey.


00:41:15,000 --> 00:41:20,000

You know now that I'm in my 40s my husband's in his 40s now.


00:41:20,000 --> 00:41:31,000

Most of our friends are finished having babies. Yeah. And so, you know, we don't feel like we're starting from scratch we don't feel like we're starting.


00:41:31,000 --> 00:41:43,000

Not knowing anything and in fact, our friends are very thankful that we're helping them clean out their basements and garages and giving us all the things.


00:41:43,000 --> 00:42:02,000

But it feels. Even with all the changes you know there there are apps for everything now and, you know, having online communities now that didn't exist back in 2011.


00:42:02,000 --> 00:42:13,000

Feels less like we're reinventing ourselves and more like yeah this is just how this is.


00:42:13,000 --> 00:42:15,000

Yeah, that makes sense.


00:42:15,000 --> 00:42:22,000

Yeah. Yeah, yeah, I could kind of relate to that and the way you've heard that that kind of makes sense.


00:42:22,000 --> 00:42:30,000

Yeah, because it's new, but it's not new in a way, you know, it's, yeah, it's familiar at the same time.


00:42:30,000 --> 00:42:40,000

Did you have children. Yeah. Yeah. So like, you know, Mickey was sleeping in his own room at two months and sleeping through the night at four months.


00:42:40,000 --> 00:42:48,000

Eloise moved out of our room at six months, and still isn't sleeping through the night. Yeah.


00:42:48,000 --> 00:42:58,000

And never got the crib transfer and so we're using a floor bed with her instead of a crib and things like that. There are definitely new things to learn but it's not a complete reinvent.


00:42:58,000 --> 00:43:09,000

Yeah, see that's interesting isn't it like my two are completely different, same sort of thing like, I know what you said then just, yeah, sounds very similar.


00:43:09,000 --> 00:43:25,000

And it's like, you're getting to know the child, like you sort of you know the ups you know the, the physical, the caring role the routine, but it's getting to know this little person and that's something I found really actually quite exciting about having another child.


00:43:25,000 --> 00:43:39,000

I love to putting it off for so long was that it's like, oh, I get to meet a new person and find out what they're like and what they like and what they don't like and all this sort of stuff. It was actually something I hadn't really thought of when I'm, when I, you know, the


00:43:39,000 --> 00:43:42,000

overwhelm of having your first child.


00:43:42,000 --> 00:43:52,000

It's just like, and you stop to think, yeah, when and being older to, did you find that like have physically being older yourself being older like I had digs.


00:43:52,000 --> 00:44:00,000

I was 29 I reckon I had him a few months before I turned 30 and digs. What's that seven years after that.


00:44:00,000 --> 00:44:12,000

I just felt like so much more content in myself as a person, you know, especially moving quite close to 40s when I think that's the time when you literally decide you don't give a shit about anything.


00:44:12,000 --> 00:44:32,000

Absolutely and feeling so much like, like I don't have to prove anything to anybody that I was when I was pregnant with Mickey, I was, I was the education program manager of a regional children's theater, and I was teaching theater classes, five days a week,


00:44:32,000 --> 00:44:47,000

and I would still, you know, eight months pregnant squat down on the floor and things like this is what I do for my job and I'm with Eloise, I was at like six months I was like I can't walk up the hill to the playground anymore.


00:44:47,000 --> 00:44:49,000

Get me a chair.


00:44:49,000 --> 00:44:53,000

What else is going to happen that sorry.


00:44:53,000 --> 00:45:02,000

Yeah, just like, I'm going to ask for what I need and people are going to understand and that's going to be okay. Yeah, yes, that's okay.


00:45:02,000 --> 00:45:04,000

Now go and you go.


00:45:04,000 --> 00:45:09,000

Yeah, I think like a big thing for me though is that I wish.


00:45:09,000 --> 00:45:27,000

I think this is this is always the case with people who have second children, third children, fourth children, whatever, I'm not going there.


00:45:27,000 --> 00:45:41,000

I'm not going to be the living part, but I wish that, you know, in between the time that I had Mickey and the time that I had Eloise, my understanding of early childhood education fine motor skills gross motor skills.


00:45:41,000 --> 00:45:43,000

The arts.


00:45:43,000 --> 00:45:47,000

How to provide experiences to children.


00:45:47,000 --> 00:46:02,000

And the physical location that we're in has changed so much that like now, you know we go on nature walks, and there wasn't that in.


00:46:02,000 --> 00:46:19,000

That I knew of in Washington DC, or, you know, we, you know, have these, you know, tactile experiences and toys that, you know, are more open ended and things like that.


00:46:19,000 --> 00:46:29,000

You know I know how to create things for Eloise that I know how to create for Mickey. And so I wish that he had been able to have those experiences as well.


00:46:29,000 --> 00:46:50,000

Yeah, yeah, I can relate to that too.


00:46:50,000 --> 00:46:58,000

You're listening to the art of being a mom with my mom, I was a human.


00:46:58,000 --> 00:47:04,000

Do you, I guess, this mom guilt thing it's a big one that I like to talk about.


00:47:04,000 --> 00:47:08,000

What's your thoughts about that whole thing.


00:47:08,000 --> 00:47:15,000

Oh it absolutely exists, at least for me, I can't speak for anybody else but so I'm Jewish.


00:47:15,000 --> 00:47:21,000

And we have lots of guilt everywhere all the time.


00:47:21,000 --> 00:47:25,000

generational trauma.


00:47:25,000 --> 00:47:39,000

But I think it comes from so many different places that you just internalize it without meaning to.


00:47:39,000 --> 00:47:45,000

I have my husband is incredibly supportive.


00:47:45,000 --> 00:47:58,000

He's a wonderful dad, a wonderful partner, and I still feel bad telling him that I want to take a pottery class, because it's going to take me away from the family.


00:47:58,000 --> 00:48:16,000

It is absolutely nothing that he has done or expressed or would do or express in fact when I tell him, hey, I really want to take this pottery class he goes, good. You should in that tone of voice.


00:48:16,000 --> 00:48:23,000

But I feel guilty about taking that time away.


00:48:23,000 --> 00:48:29,000

I was just talking about the positive influences of having online communities.


00:48:29,000 --> 00:48:47,000

But there's absolutely negatives with that as well. It's, you know, I found some wonderful supportive communities but, you know, I still feel the need to say like, oh we watch such and such.


00:48:47,000 --> 00:49:01,000

We're not a no screen time family. Like I feel like we're not no screen time or, oh, Eloise had, oh she had a peanut M&M the other day.


00:49:01,000 --> 00:49:10,000

And I watched her like a hawk. I mean like, yeah, it's like this caveat. Yeah. Yeah.


00:49:10,000 --> 00:49:23,000

And so there are wonderful things about that online community and then just things that make you stop for a second, not that anyone is necessarily actually judging you.


00:49:23,000 --> 00:49:40,000

Yeah. The assumption that someone will. Yeah, that culture that we've sort of become familiar with I suppose that that's what we should expect to happen when we share things like that. Yeah.


00:49:40,000 --> 00:49:53,000

I found I've deliberately stopped following people that make me feel challenged like that. I feel like, oh, if such and such read this or somebody saw this, I'd feel uncomfortable. So I've really done.


00:49:53,000 --> 00:50:07,000

I do it every now and then. Just go through the list and go, no, actually not feeling it. And try to try to have on my feed people that I don't know, are very similar to me in their values, I guess.


00:50:07,000 --> 00:50:13,000

It's a good way to put it. Yeah. We just started with a new sitter.


00:50:13,000 --> 00:50:25,000

And she has a reggio Emilia background. I have a reggio Emilia background. And, you know, that can go a couple of different ways.


00:50:25,000 --> 00:50:42,000

You could be super crunchy, you know, all the super crunchy things. Or you could potentially be, I call myself crunchy but realistic. Yeah. I exist in this world and this is where I am.


00:50:42,000 --> 00:50:56,000

So we were interviewing, I would say, oh, you know, we're not no screen time. And she goes, you watch Bluey? Oh yeah, we watch Bluey. Oh, love Bluey. Oh, love.


00:50:56,000 --> 00:51:15,000

Bluey is not as into it yet as I am. But oh, it's the best. These parents. Yes. I'll tell you, last night we were watching, we had Bluey on and everyone else left the room but me. And I just sat there and watched it. I watched it for about two hours by myself laughing my head off.


00:51:15,000 --> 00:51:23,000

Can I ask though, do you guys get the humor, the Australian humor, like that, because Bandit can be quite colloquial.


00:51:23,000 --> 00:51:36,000

I don't think we get all of it. But I think like what goes over our heads, just like we don't know. You don't know that you don't know. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I just want to be a chilly healer when I grow up.


00:51:36,000 --> 00:51:40,000

You know. She's awesome. Good old chilly.


00:51:40,000 --> 00:51:54,000

I love the stickers in her car and like it's just feels very real. Yeah. Yeah. And I love that her car is so messy. The messy car is what I can relate to. And there was a joke in one of the episodes where her sister comes to visit and the kids have never met the sister.


00:51:54,000 --> 00:52:10,000

And somebody, I think it was Bingo, had a onesie on that turned her into a cheater or something. Anyway, they were hiding in the car. That's where I'm going with this. And chilly said, that's okay. We won't die because there's food under the seats.


00:52:10,000 --> 00:52:19,000

And I was like, yes, you can see it in my car. Like, I feel really validated right now. Not judged.


00:52:19,000 --> 00:52:27,000

Absolutely. Oh, dear. Yeah. Sorry. I hijacked. You were talking about Bluey and then you were going to say something else and I just jumped in. Sorry.


00:52:27,000 --> 00:52:39,000

And I have to tell you that this is the way that parents in America also respond when I say Bluey. Everyone always goes do do do do do do do do. And like everybody does it.


00:52:39,000 --> 00:52:53,000

Yeah. Yeah. This woman. I say, yeah, she goes, you watch Miss Rachel. I'm like, yeah, we watch Bluey and Miss Rachel and Sesame Street. Yeah. Oh, yeah.


00:52:53,000 --> 00:53:12,000

And then there was something else. We're talking about food and how we both have the same. We have the same kind of outlook on food for our kids where we like, you know, we try to be nutritious, but also where everything in moderation.


00:53:12,000 --> 00:53:27,000

People set the kids up for positive associations with food and positive relationships with their bodies. And so it just made me feel real good that like, here's this person with this background in early childhood education and the arts.


00:53:27,000 --> 00:53:36,000

And we have the same kind of outlook on on things and that she's not going to make me feel like I should have cloth diapers. You know?


00:53:36,000 --> 00:53:50,000

Yeah, that's it, isn't it? And when like when you go, she does all this different stuff. It's like, oh, I'll do this while she's not here. And when she gets back, it'll be like, you know, yeah. And I don't know, like, I've been looking after kids for a long time in my job.


00:53:50,000 --> 00:54:14,000

And I don't know, I feel like most people are, I don't know what the word is, they are the screen time parents, they are the snack parents. Most people like that. Like that's what we are. But then the voices in the not that section are really loud and then they make us feel bad about our choices or what we do with our kids.


00:54:14,000 --> 00:54:26,000

So I don't know how you block out the noise, but yeah, it's a hard one. It is a tough one. Yeah. No, thanks for sharing that about that. I find it really interesting.


00:54:26,000 --> 00:54:43,000

I shouldn't say I feel it. It's interesting talking to people about their guilt. I sound like I'm like some sort of creeper. But I just find it fascinating how, you know, people's, their cultural background, the location, their upbringing and everything that goes into creating a person.


00:54:43,000 --> 00:54:51,000

How that affects how your parent and I just find it so fascinating. So yeah, thanks for indulging me there.


00:55:13,000 --> 00:55:39,000

Do you find that for you to create, to continue to create and not just in, you know, your profession, but also the things you do at home, like you're talking about all the things you like to do. Do you feel like that's really important for you to maintain for you, for yourself?


00:55:39,000 --> 00:55:53,000

Yeah, I think a big thing for me, I'm a person with anxiety and depression. And I think, and I know that that's something that comes up a lot in these conversations. Yeah, it's very common. Yeah.


00:55:53,000 --> 00:56:11,000

I, when I found pottery, you know, I'm a perfectionist. That's part of how my anxiety manifests in perfectionism and then procrastination. Because if things can't be perfect, then why do them?


00:56:11,000 --> 00:56:30,000

When I found pottery, you can't be perfect with it, especially when you're first starting out. And if you make something that's awful, and you fire it, then your mom will want it. And that's great.


00:56:30,000 --> 00:56:42,000

And your mom always, my mom, I don't know about other people, but my mom always makes me feel good about stuff. So she's got a couple of really terrible things that I've made.


00:56:42,000 --> 00:56:49,000

My dad also, my dad is also very excellent. They share the bathroom, but I give them to my mom.


00:56:49,000 --> 00:57:03,000

And if something flops on the wheel, or it doesn't work out when you're hand building it, you squish it, and you let it dry out a little bit, so it's not completely full of water.


00:57:03,000 --> 00:57:20,000

And then you do something else, and you try again. And just knowing that it's not going to be perfect, it can't be perfect. And that is okay. And then you can squish it.


00:57:20,000 --> 00:57:36,000

It was just so, like my very first class, it was so just affirming. And now I can make things that you can use, and I made this mug that I'm drinking out of.


00:57:36,000 --> 00:57:40,000

It's gorgeous. Is that blue? Is it blue and brown?


00:57:40,000 --> 00:57:44,000

It's like a Tiffany blue.


00:57:44,000 --> 00:57:45,000

Yeah, it's gorgeous.


00:57:45,000 --> 00:57:56,000

And then brown and I, you know, and I thank you. And I keep learning things and you can hold it and put something in it that will nourish your body.


00:57:56,000 --> 00:58:03,000

And, you know, I keep learning new techniques and I learned how to facet.


00:58:03,000 --> 00:58:18,000

I found that I was like, oh my gosh, that's so cool. I want to make everything. And right now I'm taking a class about surface decoration and I'm learning how to scratch away colors and how to do lino prints and things like that and clay.


00:58:18,000 --> 00:58:28,000

And it's, it's just fun. And if it doesn't work out, the stakes are so low.


00:58:28,000 --> 00:58:29,000



00:58:29,000 --> 00:58:34,000

But if you make something beautiful or something useful.


00:58:34,000 --> 00:58:51,000

Those stakes are super high and like you've you've done this thing that can help nourish your body or your, your home. I find that the things that I like to do. I was thinking about this today.


00:58:51,000 --> 00:59:05,000

The things that I like to do theater, pottery, quilting, baking, require other people's active participation.


00:59:05,000 --> 00:59:22,000

And so it's this nurturing instinct. These are things that sometimes maybe I do them by myself, but the people, the other people involved aren't passive participants.


00:59:22,000 --> 00:59:36,000

And so I find that, you know, maybe I read somewhere someone said, you know, people think I like embroidery because it's soothing and meditative but really I just get to stab something over and over again.


00:59:36,000 --> 00:59:40,000

And I felt that very deeply in my soul.


00:59:40,000 --> 00:59:43,000

I've never thought of it that way.


00:59:43,000 --> 00:59:55,000

Me either until I read that and I was like, yes, that is exactly. Yes. And when I make my quilts, it's I completely hand piece and hand quilt.


00:59:55,000 --> 00:59:59,000

I can't be bothered to load a Bob and I don't know how to do it. It's fine.


00:59:59,000 --> 01:00:01,000

It's more trouble than it's worth.


01:00:01,000 --> 01:00:14,000

You know, I really feel that. Yeah, I am looking at my sewing machine right now. I don't use it right there. I'm not even sewing by hand.


01:00:14,000 --> 01:00:39,000

But I can take it with me to a waiting room and do that there. But then when I finished a quilt, you know, you can you can snuggle or you can say, where's Eloise, or you can, you know, take it to a picnic and sit.


01:00:39,000 --> 01:00:50,000

And so there are these. And then with baking you eat it. That's better than having to bake. My husband does baking most of the time.


01:00:50,000 --> 01:00:55,000

But I, making a cake, man, that's the best.


01:00:55,000 --> 01:01:11,000

Oh, yes. My, my little one. He loves making cakes because he gets to lick the beaters. And that is, oh yeah, that's it. He doesn't eat it afterwards. So we make these cakes and they're sitting there like, oh, better eat this cake as I can't let it go to waste.


01:01:11,000 --> 01:01:13,000

You know, damn. Yeah.


01:01:13,000 --> 01:01:26,000

But yeah, it's and then we may. Yeah. And if we make something else with the batter is not that consistency. He's not interested in helping me at all. Like, it's like he just has to lick the beaters. And it's like this ritual.


01:01:26,000 --> 01:01:39,000

I remember as a kid, like getting to lick the beaters when, when we'd, Mum had finished her cooking and, you know, I probably always wanted the one with the most on it. So, you know, I always make sure I give him the one that he wants.


01:01:39,000 --> 01:01:53,000

I think the one that whatever I get, you know, I don't know. It's just creating those, the traditions, I suppose that, you know, to teach him how to do it properly too. Cause you don't, you got to not waste any of it. So, you know.


01:01:53,000 --> 01:02:06,000

So Mickey knows when I'm baking, if he's not involved and I go, Hey, Mickey, I have a really important job. He knows that means he gets to lick the beaters. Like that's the, he knows what his important job is.


01:02:06,000 --> 01:02:23,000

I love that. Cause that's the thing when your kids get older, like things that they were quite happy to do when they're starting to be on a teenager, it's like, Oh, I'm actually not interested in that anymore. But that's a lovely way that he'll probably always continue to be involved. Cause who can say no to licking the beaters?


01:02:23,000 --> 01:02:26,000

Right? Right?


01:02:26,000 --> 01:02:54,000

That's so lovely. That's really nice. I love that.


01:02:54,000 --> 01:03:21,000

So with that, I mean, this next question probably won't apply so much to Eloise at this stage of her life, but with Mickey, do you find it important that he sees you as someone who's not just there? And I say just, I shouldn't say just not there only to be in a mothering role for his benefit or for the household's benefit, but you're also your own person and you do things that don't involve anybody else sometimes.


01:03:21,000 --> 01:03:41,000

Absolutely. I think my mom is the most incredible role model in a lot of ways. But one of those is that she, you know, she was a stay at home mom. And then when I was 10 years old, she went to college. She hadn't gone to college.


01:03:41,000 --> 01:04:03,000

So this wasn't going back to school. This was her first go. And so seeing that she was going and getting a degree and doing that set that as a role model for me. I mean, also partly that like, I would be struggling with my homework at the same time that she was struggling with her homework.


01:04:03,000 --> 01:04:20,000

And so that was a really great. It wasn't great that she was struggling. It was a great thing, a great thing to see that she was, you know, making these efforts to do something that she really wanted to do.


01:04:20,000 --> 01:04:42,000

And so that was sort of my role model in that way that, you know, you can be a mom, which is really awesome and also be your own person. And I always kind of struggle a little bit when I'm writing like the Instagram tagline or an artist statement.


01:04:42,000 --> 01:04:56,000

What do I put first? And if I don't put mom first, what does that mean for my identity? But if I do put mom first, what does that mean for my identity?


01:04:56,000 --> 01:04:59,000

Yeah, it's a double edged sword, isn't it? Yeah. Yeah.


01:04:59,000 --> 01:05:16,000

Yeah. Do I want to be in an outward facing way?


01:05:29,000 --> 01:05:35,000

Can I get a little bit political? Of course you can. Absolutely. I'd welcome that. Yes.


01:05:35,000 --> 01:06:01,000

So Missouri has been making some laws that are against what my family and I personally believe about the right for every human being to be a human being. And there was a trans rights rally in the state capitol, which is just about a half hour away from where we live.


01:06:01,000 --> 01:06:15,000

And it happened to be a day that neither Mickey nor I had school. And I asked him, I was like, hey, but do you want to, neither of us have school. Do you want to go to the trans rights rally? And he was like, yes, absolutely.


01:06:15,000 --> 01:06:34,000

Oh, good on him. And Eloise came too, but didn't have a choice. So, you know, but it's, you know, important. I think, you know, he can be whoever he is, whoever he wants to be.


01:06:34,000 --> 01:06:50,000

But I think it's important that he knows, you know, that we are all political beings and that we make choices in this world to speak up for ourselves and to speak up for other people.


01:06:50,000 --> 01:07:08,000

So, you know, talk about like life is politics. You can't leave politics out of a conversation. I actually just commented that on a parenting message board where they were like, oh, shouldn't, you know, can't we just have one space where we can keep politics out of it?


01:07:08,000 --> 01:07:20,000

I don't understand why. I just, life is politics. My body is political. My parenting is political. My teaching is political. Like life is politics.


01:07:20,000 --> 01:07:28,000

Yeah, literally. It's all, it all overlaps. Like we can't be who we are. We couldn't be who we are if it wasn't for the political environment that we're in.


01:07:28,000 --> 01:07:39,000

So absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. My parents were protesters in the 60s. So I found my dad's conscientious objector card from the Vietnam War.


01:07:39,000 --> 01:07:41,000

Beautiful. Yes.


01:07:41,000 --> 01:07:45,000

Which is pretty rad.


01:07:45,000 --> 01:08:00,000

But, but yeah, I think that for, for kids to know that their parents are caregivers and also that it's important for them to take care of themselves.


01:08:00,000 --> 01:08:04,000

Never thought about it that way until it just came out of my mouth. That's what it is.


01:08:04,000 --> 01:08:15,000

It's amazing in a nutshell, literally, isn't it? Like that's it. Because if you don't look after yourself, you don't care for yourself, you can't look after anybody else.


01:08:15,000 --> 01:08:21,000

And going back to what you're saying about involving your son in the politics, I think it's really important to do that.


01:08:21,000 --> 01:08:33,000

And I was having this conversation with someone, I can't remember, a while ago maybe, about the way the generation's, certainly in Australia, I'm not, you know, obviously familiar with, with how it's been going over there.


01:08:33,000 --> 01:08:42,000

My parents and my grandparents would never tell me who they voted for. Like they wouldn't, we have the, we have the two parties here, the main parties, you've got the Liberal and Labour.


01:08:42,000 --> 01:08:54,000

And Liberal is meant to be Liberal, but it's not the right word to describe that party because they're not, they're not modern, they're not progressive, they're not for the people, they're sort of the opposite.


01:08:54,000 --> 01:09:05,000

They're the right wingers. And the left wing is the Labour Party, which is, you know, for the working man and for the arts and for all the good things that I believe in.


01:09:05,000 --> 01:09:20,000

Yes. And yeah, so yeah, I didn't find out who my family voted for for a very long time. And there's also this culture over here, and I guess it's the same everywhere, that you sort of, you don't necessarily vote for who your parents voted for, because they voted for that.


01:09:20,000 --> 01:09:26,000

But you're brought up in that particular way that it's more likely you're going to vote that way, I guess.


01:09:26,000 --> 01:09:34,000

It'd be pretty radical if you sort of went off the other way, I guess. So yeah, I sort of worked it out just by accident as I got older.


01:09:34,000 --> 01:09:42,000

And I remember asking my Nana once, like, because it was voting day and they went off and voted. And I said, who do you vote for? She goes, oh, no, you don't ask people that. You can't, you can't ask people that.


01:09:42,000 --> 01:09:52,000

And I'm really glad now that the politics is such an open conversation, because, you know, my son's almost 16. We voted 18 over here.


01:09:52,000 --> 01:10:00,000

And it's, I don't want him walking into a polling booth one day just going, oh, OK, so what's this all about? What do I do here?


01:10:00,000 --> 01:10:09,000

You know, like, I want him to grow up understanding the culture that we live in and how the politics obviously, as we said before, it's a fundamental part of our lives.


01:10:09,000 --> 01:10:18,000

And we often joke, you know, my husband has been a Liberal voter for a long time and I've been a Labor voter forever.


01:10:18,000 --> 01:10:32,000

And we chat to my son about the differences and why, you know, a political in a certain circumstance or over a particular issue, why I feel the way I do and why the way dad feels the way he does, you know.


01:10:32,000 --> 01:10:49,000

So I'm not telling him he has to vote for either or whatever. I simply want him to have an understanding of how these parties and what they believe in will affect him as a person and the decisions that he'll make in his life moving forward and in his children's life if he has them.


01:10:49,000 --> 01:10:57,000

So, yeah, I'm I'm all for it. I think it's wonderful to get kids involved as early as you can, as early as is appropriate or as you believe.


01:10:57,000 --> 01:11:05,000

And I think it's also for your child and your family, because like you said, it's it's all intertwined. You can't have one without the other.


01:11:05,000 --> 01:11:13,000

My husband is actually a professor of political science. That's what brought us to Missouri. Awesome.


01:11:13,000 --> 01:11:31,000

And his father is also a professor of political science. Yeah. And so like he knows who his father and whose parents had voted for because, you know, he was out on campaign trails and, you know, doing research and things like that.


01:11:31,000 --> 01:11:46,000

With Do you know the American sitcom from the 80s? Family Ties? Oh, yes, very much. Yes. Yes. Yes. So with Alex P Keaton, who was a Reagan Republican, while his parents were hippies.


01:11:46,000 --> 01:12:02,000

And so I think about that pretty frequently that like, you know, you can be anything you want to be, but like, don't don't do that. It's been over the last several very scary years.


01:12:02,000 --> 01:12:17,000

Yes. With, you know, people are changing from what, you know, they had traditionally been voting either for better or for worse.


01:12:17,000 --> 01:12:32,000

And people have started having these conversations more and more frequently as, you know, you become empowered to tell, you know, especially older relatives like, hey, it's not okay that you talk that way.


01:12:32,000 --> 01:12:37,000

Yes, we had a member of our family come out as transgender.


01:12:37,000 --> 01:12:52,000

And, you know, a couple, was it just last year? I think it was just last year. And, you know, having to, you know, teach their 90 something year old grandmother.


01:12:52,000 --> 01:13:12,000

You know, the other relatives who are of our parents generation, you know, what that means and that they are still the same person. They just, you know, have a name and a, you know, and other stuff that fits them better now.


01:13:12,000 --> 01:13:22,000

And, you know, we, plus this current generation that like, we, we told Mickey, we're like, hey, here's, here's what's going on with this member of our family.


01:13:22,000 --> 01:13:26,000

Do you have any questions? And he's like, no.


01:13:26,000 --> 01:13:30,000

And we like randomly ran into this family member.


01:13:30,000 --> 01:13:44,000

We knew that we were going to the same place on a family vacation, but we didn't know we look around into them on the beach. Yeah, and we hung out with them for a while and then they went their way and we went our way.


01:13:44,000 --> 01:13:49,000

And we looked at Mickey we're like so see same same exact person.


01:13:49,000 --> 01:13:54,000

He looks at me he goes, I know.


01:13:54,000 --> 01:14:04,000

Yeah, no, like, no, like nerves or anything. It's like, yes. No. Yeah. Yeah, it's wonderful. Isn't it.


01:14:04,000 --> 01:14:10,000

We are, you know, of minority religion.


01:14:10,000 --> 01:14:15,000

But we don't wear our minority on the outside.


01:14:15,000 --> 01:14:19,000

I am also of a minority gender, I am a woman.


01:14:19,000 --> 01:14:29,000

But, you know, for all intents and purposes, at least as far as we know now, Mickey is cisgender straight white male.


01:14:29,000 --> 01:14:41,000

And we have spoken pretty frequently about, you know that, you know, he's got a responsibility to speak up for people who don't have those appearances.


01:14:41,000 --> 01:14:43,000

Yeah, yeah.


01:14:43,000 --> 01:14:49,000

And, you know, I'm sorry that we've had to have those conversations.


01:14:49,000 --> 01:15:11,000

My husband, but I'm glad that we have had them. My husband is not Jewish. And when, you know conversations about, you know, there was a right wing awful protests where they were chanting the Jews will not replace us.


01:15:11,000 --> 01:15:18,000

And things like that. And he was like, well, you know, conversations about the Holocaust and things like that.


01:15:18,000 --> 01:15:22,000

He's like, well, isn't Mickey too young to hear about these things?


01:15:22,000 --> 01:15:25,000

And I'm like, I don't ever remember not knowing. Yeah.


01:15:25,000 --> 01:15:29,000

Like, I don't remember a time in my life when I didn't know what the Holocaust was.


01:15:29,000 --> 01:15:31,000

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.


01:15:31,000 --> 01:15:44,000

It wasn't like this moment where you remember getting sat down and told it was like part of your culture, part of your, it was there. A very visible part of, of, yeah, knowing. Yeah.


01:15:44,000 --> 01:15:57,000

Yeah, yeah. It's an important part of being a human being. And, you know, when people talk about bringing it back to the arts, you know, when people talk about the arts, well can't they just not be political.


01:15:57,000 --> 01:16:04,000

Why do actors have to talk about politics? Why do the arts are political? The arts have always been political.


01:16:04,000 --> 01:16:15,000

When we read Richard the third, we have to remember that, you know, Shakespeare's patron was Queen Elizabeth the first.


01:16:15,000 --> 01:16:23,000

And her, now I'm going to get the lineage wrong. It was either her grandfather or her father. No, it wasn't her father. It was her grandfather.


01:16:23,000 --> 01:16:33,000

Her father was Henry the eighth. It was her grandfather, who is the hero who slays Richard at the end of the play. Richard the third is political propaganda.


01:16:33,000 --> 01:16:36,000

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.


01:16:36,000 --> 01:16:42,000

Theatre is always political. Art is always political. Period. Yeah.


01:16:42,000 --> 01:16:54,000

We actually had this big thing happen in Australia recently, or not recently now, a few, few months ago. Was it last year? I can't remember now. Time's just a construct really.


01:16:54,000 --> 01:17:01,000

As we were saying before. But yeah, there was this lady. She's the richest person in Australia.


01:17:01,000 --> 01:17:09,000

I'm not going to honour her by saying her name because I don't believe in her beliefs and her thoughts and her things. So,


01:17:09,000 --> 01:17:14,000

she won't be listening, so it doesn't matter. But Australians will know who I'm talking about.


01:17:14,000 --> 01:17:17,000

She has a lot of minds that she inherited from her father.


01:17:17,000 --> 01:17:24,000

And anyway, she was sponsoring one of the netball teams.


01:17:24,000 --> 01:17:31,000

And one of the netball players is an Indigenous Australian First Nations person.


01:17:31,000 --> 01:17:40,000

And she made a comment that she wasn't really impressed by the comments that this rich person's father had said about Aboriginal people.


01:17:40,000 --> 01:17:46,000

He'd said it back in the 80s. And it wasn't appropriate then, but never obviously got called out then.


01:17:46,000 --> 01:17:58,000

But so this woman's sort of response to that was to take all the money away from them, took all of their funding away so they didn't have a sponsor.


01:17:58,000 --> 01:18:05,000

And most women in Australia that play professional sport, they have a day job because they can't get sponsorship.


01:18:05,000 --> 01:18:11,000

So they're not full-time professional athletes, unlike the men who get a lot of money.


01:18:11,000 --> 01:18:21,000

Anyway, this rich person made the comment that sport and politics should never mix.


01:18:21,000 --> 01:18:31,000

And it just reminded me when you said about the arts, it's like, particularly in a country like Australia where sport is like a religion, it is like a way of life for people.


01:18:31,000 --> 01:18:38,000

And politics overlaps everything, like we've said. It just reminded me of that. And I thought, I'll mention it.


01:18:38,000 --> 01:18:43,000

I don't know why it's taken me so long to get it out. But that was my point.


01:18:43,000 --> 01:18:55,000

Yes, absolutely. No, I totally and I have all of these thoughts spinning in my head about like, it's the same thing has happened in America.


01:18:55,000 --> 01:19:01,000

We play the national anthem before all of our sporting events, which, yeah, let's take politics out of it.


01:19:01,000 --> 01:19:06,000

Why do we play the national anthem before all of our sporting events? Yeah, whatever. Yeah.


01:19:06,000 --> 01:19:14,000

But then a few years ago, people started kneeling during the national anthem.


01:19:14,000 --> 01:19:27,000

They don't really stand for what the national anthem stands for and got kicked off of teams and their sponsors taken away and things like that.


01:19:27,000 --> 01:19:39,000

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I don't know. That really annoyed me. That did that whole the taking the knee, like, honestly, it's a wonderful thing to do.


01:19:39,000 --> 01:19:48,000

And then it just got turned into this, I don't know, white persons again, taking over and saying what everybody can do or can't do.


01:19:48,000 --> 01:19:55,000

It's like back to the colonial days. Sorry, that's not a very nice thing to say. But that's what it reminded me of.


01:19:55,000 --> 01:20:01,000

You are absolutely I 100% agree with you. Yes. Yeah, it's horrible.


01:20:01,000 --> 01:20:07,000

Well, thank you. No, thanks for talking about that stuff. I like a good chat about politics.


01:20:07,000 --> 01:20:20,000

And I do. Yeah, it's and it's I do like to hear about other countries, how they're going with stuff too, because I mean, I, I consume a lot of media, particularly independent media, but there's nothing like hearing it.


01:20:20,000 --> 01:20:33,000

Not from the horse's mouth. I'm sorry. You know what I mean? Getting a person's perspective, living it right now. Yeah. But Jesus, some stuff going on over there.


01:20:33,000 --> 01:20:42,000

I watch what's happening in America and Jesus, I feel sorry for you guys. I just think, oh, can you imagine do you think one day it will actually become two countries?


01:20:42,000 --> 01:21:00,000

Like, is it that bad that people just have to not be near each other? And that's a really simplistic thing to say. But yeah, it's wild because like where I live would absolutely be the part of the country that I don't agree with.


01:21:00,000 --> 01:21:18,000

Because that's, yeah, that's who I am. And it's so interesting because the two major cities, St. Louis and Kansas City, St. Louis, in particular, is so much more liberal, liberal, like actual liberal.


01:21:18,000 --> 01:21:31,000

Than the rest of Missouri. But just the way that political lines are drawn. That's the thing. Our political lines are drawn just horribly. Yeah, right.


01:21:31,000 --> 01:21:54,000

And you know, there's, you know, Missouri is one of nine states in the country that has a compulsory Holocaust education. Right. Which is wild to me. Like, it's amazing. Yeah. But that's 100% because of lobbyists in St. Louis. Yeah, okay.


01:21:54,000 --> 01:22:12,000

And, you know, where I live right now in Columbia is this like, so the left is blue and the right is red. So we're in this tiny little blue dot in the sea of red. Yeah, right.


01:22:12,000 --> 01:22:32,000

And apparently, you know, for a major part because the university is here. But yeah, it's wild. Like it is. Yeah. It's, and like I don't, you know, people say like, well, if you don't like it, go someplace else.


01:22:32,000 --> 01:22:45,000

So well, you know, but then I couldn't make change happen. Not that I one person I'm going to make change happen. I know what you mean though. It's like you're abandoning the opportunity to be involved in challenging what they're happening. What's happening here, I guess.


01:22:45,000 --> 01:23:00,000

Yeah. But at the same time, like I know families with transgender children who are leaving the state because they have. Oh, you'd fear, you'd fear for your safety. Like, from what I've seen over here. Yeah, if that's accurate. Yeah, it's pretty appalling.


01:23:00,000 --> 01:23:04,000

It's really, it's really appalling. Reproductive rates as well. It's. Oh, yes.


01:23:04,000 --> 01:23:21,000

Oh man. All the things. Yeah. Yeah, jeepers. And it's funny though. I would say, oh, this is a reasonable guess. Almost 100% of people I've talked to on this show. I don't know if it's an arts thing, but they're always left leaning voters.


01:23:21,000 --> 01:23:39,000

If it's a thing about compassion and, you know, listening to people emotion sharing, supporting each other. It's always the arts people. It's just an inherent thing. Yeah. Well, it's interesting reading or I was wearing.


01:23:39,000 --> 01:23:55,000

I have a shirt that says I'm with the band, but it's B-A-N-N-E-D. I love that. Band books. I wore it to work the other day and one of the fifth graders said to me, you know, is that about band books? And I said, yeah.


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And she said, why do people ban books? And I said, because they don't want to ask questions about things. They just want to get rid of things that they don't understand.


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And then she gave me a big high five. But I think that that brings it all back to the power of positivity and asking questions. And I think that artists are in a specifically a uniquely appropriate place to be able to ask those questions and try to understand things that aren't necessarily part of their world.


01:24:33,000 --> 01:24:59,000

We talk about in education, we talk about providing children with windows, mirrors and sliding glass doors in our libraries. So the books that we have on our shelves should give a mirror so that they see themselves windows so that they can see other people's experiences and sliding glass doors so they can walk through and experience themselves with empathy.


01:24:59,000 --> 01:25:10,000

And I think that that is something that left leaning people are more willing to do than right leaning people are.


01:25:10,000 --> 01:25:37,000

Yeah, yeah, that was very well said. I love that.


01:25:37,000 --> 01:25:52,000

I actually have we have a family from Australia in our school. Yeah, and students because we have an emerging curriculum. We get to just answer the questions that the kiddos are interested in exploring. Yeah, give them education.


01:25:52,000 --> 01:26:09,000

And we were talking about, try to remember what exactly we were talking about. Oh, we were talking about if cultures all over the world celebrate things in December in exactly the same ways.


01:26:09,000 --> 01:26:22,000

Yeah, and so they understand their celebrate, you know, we don't celebrate holidays at work, but obviously like most of the kiddos in our school celebrate Christmas. So we talked about Christmas a lot. Yeah.


01:26:22,000 --> 01:26:33,000

And so they're like, well, Christmas is snowmen and reindeer. And so we talked about how reindeer are from Lapland and where Lapland is.


01:26:33,000 --> 01:26:44,000

And then I asked Karen, who's the mom from Australia, I was like, Can you come in and talk to my class?


01:26:44,000 --> 01:26:55,000

How you celebrate Christmas in Australia? Yeah, absolutely. So she brought like Christmas crackers and stuff and it was super fun. They were all like, wait, there's no snow.


01:26:55,000 --> 01:27:05,000

And he's like, no, it's summer. It's super hot. We're sweltering. But we wish there was snow. Yeah, it's fascinating.


01:27:05,000 --> 01:27:34,000

Fantastic conversation.


01:27:34,000 --> 01:27:43,000

So one of your questions that you had on your website was me to find new ways to work so you could continue creating. Yes. Yes.


01:27:43,000 --> 01:27:52,000

I thought that was super interesting because I actually didn't start doing any of this until I had kids. Yeah, right.


01:27:52,000 --> 01:28:16,000

So I was a theater, so I was doing all the theater stuff, which has definitely changed since I had kids. Yeah. But I didn't discover the visual stuff until when I was teaching in the theater and realized,


01:28:16,000 --> 01:28:27,000

Oh, if I was going to teach theater to kindergartners and first graders, I was going to need to learn how to teach visual arts. Yeah, because I was going to have to have them sit down and draw things.


01:28:27,000 --> 01:28:38,000

And I was going to have to, you know, have them create things. And so it wasn't until I was in my late 20s that I started doing those things.


01:28:38,000 --> 01:28:53,000

And that was completely inspired by my students I was teaching. And just having discovered I didn't pick up a ukulele until I was pregnant with Mickey because I wanted to have an instrument that I could play for and with my child.


01:28:53,000 --> 01:29:17,000

Yeah. And so, you know, baking came about after I had Mickey really because I wanted that sensory thing to do with him. And all of these things have come about relatively recently quilting in December 2020 because I wanted something that I could do during the


01:29:17,000 --> 01:29:32,000

pandemic. Yeah, at my house. And so I knew myself as a theater creative, but I didn't know myself with these other things until I was already a mom.


01:29:32,000 --> 01:30:00,000

Oh, hey, that's really cool. Yeah.


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It's been so lovely chatting with you Jen. I've really really enjoyed it. It's been great. And yeah, again, thank you for indulging me in the political side of things because that is one of my favorite things to talk about.


01:30:12,000 --> 01:30:22,000

But it's been fascinating and learning all about the dramaturgy which I didn't even know was a thing. And I just yeah it's it thank you for sharing so much I really appreciate it.


01:30:22,000 --> 01:30:28,000

Absolutely. Thank you for having grown up conversations with me they can be few and far between.


01:30:28,000 --> 01:30:35,000

I'm happy to indulge anytime you need one just let me know.


01:30:35,000 --> 01:30:48,000

Thanks for your company today. If you've enjoyed this episode, I'd love you to consider leaving us a review, following or subscribing to the podcast, or even sharing it with a friend you think might be interested.


01:30:48,000 --> 01:31:00,000

The music you heard featured on today's episode was from Alemjo, which is my new age ambient music trio comprised of myself, my sister Emma Anderson and her husband John.


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If you'd like to hear more, you can find a link to us in the show notes.


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If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on the podcast, please get in touch with us by the link in the show notes.


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I'll catch you again next week for another chat with an artistic mum.


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