We had the good fortune of connecting with Jen Waters and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jen, why did you pursue a creative career?
I’ve always been a creative person. When I was younger, I used to spend lots of money at the post office, always writing letters to pen pals. I wrote my first song in the seventh grade on the piano. Growing up, I performed my songs for the first time in church. I first read THE ARTIST’S WAY by Julia Cameron when I was in college, with her core ideas of writing, walking, and praying. I used to take long walks in the countryside behind my parents’ house in the fields. I always liked learning something new, which can spark other ideas. Since I grew up in Hershey, Pennsylvania, there wasn’t a major art museum nearby, so once I talked my mom into taking me to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the Paul Cézanne exhibit at the time. In college, I studied abroad in London and visited Florence, Italy, to see Michelangelo’s David. I remember thinking it was remarkable, just walking around it and staring at it. In some ways, all things in life can be solved with creativity. Instead of thinking there are no solutions to the problems at hand, with creativity there are endless options. Being artistic or creative wasn’t something I chose as a career, but more as a mindset. I always liked to travel and research and ask questions. I get bored very easily, so if something is not intriguing, it will lose my attention. I like things that are beautiful and reflect love.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art consists of singer/songwriter songs that appear on Apple Music, including WHIMSY, WHIMSY FOR ONE, WHIMSY FOR TWO, PURITY, SIMPLICITY, and FATE. I also have children’s music spoken word releases where I wrote the stories and poems and performed them, including WONDERLAND, WINTER WONDERLAND, IMPOSSIBLE THINGS, CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER and ENTIRELY BONKERS. I also have two spoken word singles where I wrote and performed the stories called HANDWRITTEN and HOOPS TIME, inspired by my grandparent’s WWII love story and my father’s love of basketball. These stories can be found on my Pen Jen’s Inkwell Podcast, and my blog, Pen Jen’s Inkwell includes those stories and more. I would like these stories to be adapted for stage and screen, and I could perform in them as an actress.
I also wrote four stage musicals, including KISSES, inspired by the life of Milton S. Hershey, and THE WHIRLWIND CHRONICLES: THE MAGIC MUSIC BOX, THE HORSE GATE, and DREAMS OR DUST.
I’m most proud of writing so much of my own work. I constantly like to have a new song or story idea that I’m working on writing. I have a steady flow of creativity that runs like a faucet, and sometimes, I need to turn it off, because it is overwhelming, but the flow keeps me moving forward in art and life. I think I got to where I am professionally today by being willing to show up. You can’t do much if you don’t show up. After that, you can figure out what to do about everything else. Nothing is easy, but perseverance is a key to life. I think I overcame most challenges by refusing to give up. One lesson that I’ve learned along the way is that it’s always good to be generous, and it’s important to try very hard not to judge other people. I also try to lead a healthy lifestyle. If your body is healthy, then your mind and soul can flourish.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Of course, one of the most fun places in the Los Angeles area is Disneyland. The fireworks are great! Paradise Cove Beach Cafe in Malibu has wonderful coconut shrimp. I love to walk on the beach in Malibu. After spending time at Paradise Cove, I like to eat the flourless chocolate torte at Duke’s down the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. I like The Farm of Beverly Hills Restaurant, especially their salmon salad. I also like the gluten-free pancakes and omelets at Patys Restaurant in Toluca Lake, and there are many healthy options at Hugo’s Restaurant in Valley Village. I also enjoy Aroma Cafe in Studio City and miss the Portrait of a Bookstore, which used to be housed inside it. The outdoor shopping in Los Angeles is great, especially the Grove and the 3rd Street Promenade. I like to visit Anthropologie at the Americana in Glendale. When I go to Laguna Beach, I like to eat outside by the ocean at The Greeter’s Corner Restaurant or Urth Cafe. Laguna Beach has a nice atmosphere, many quaint shops, and walking trails. The Pantages and the Ahmanson Theatre usually have great productions going on. I like to go for massages and infrared sauna treatments at MACSL in San Clemente.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My mother’s mother, Dorothy Moyer, made sure that I learned music from a young age. She lived to be 98 years old and died in May 2017. She loved to tell stories and listen to country music with my grandfather, Wilson Moyer, who tapped his toe when I played the piano. He always told me that I would sing on the Grand Ole Opry one day because he loved country musicians. He passed away in October 2004. Right before my grandmother died, she told me she loved me very much and to never give up. Also, I loved American Literature class with Sue Seaver in Hershey High School. I used to get 100% for the entire semester in her class, and she wrote a letter of recommendation for me to attend Syracuse University, where she also graduated. I read Maya Angelou for the first time in her English class. Mrs. Seaver also passed away in June 2016. I remember her teaching us this Benjamin Franklin quote: “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
Other: Apple Music: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/jen-waters/908384228 Sound Cloud: https://soundcloud.com/jen-waters Pen Jen’s Inkwell Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/pen-jens-inkwell-podcast/id1527170014 Pen Jen’s Inkwell: http://penjensinkwell.blogspot.com Sounder: https://penjensinkwell.sounder.fm LA Casting: https://app.castingnetworks.com/talent/public-profile/90fe5f04-9158-11ea-9bfa-0291f623b406