I was born in Rockford, Illinois, during a record-breaking blizzard. It’s an entertaining story that was shared many times, because on the way to the hospital, during a blizzard, my dad decided to stop by the car lot and trade up. After all, they were in the neighborhood, right? Anyway, during the summer between kindergarten and first grade, my parents loaded up the truck and moved my three siblings and I to Southeast Missouri, right in the heart of the Mark Twain National Forest. From a three bedroom brick home with a full basement in a new, trendy subdivision, to the middle of the woods where we literally built, with our own hands, our new home. Right after the outhouse, of course. It was the best time of our lives!
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
Most people would answer that question by describing where they grew up, their actual house and its location, perhaps the life they had built or the family they had raised there, but I find “home” in a lot of different locations. The beach at sunrise or sunset with the gentle waves, seagulls looking for treats, the dolphins playing off in the distance. Warm sand, treasures to find, and creatures I don’t see every day. I feel at home there. Or, on an almost obscure path that winds through the woods. The sound of the wind through the trees, the shade they offer. Animals scurrying through the underbrush, moss growing up tree trunks or in unexpected hidden places. A whippoorwill off in the distance, sounding the alarm. There are treasures to be found there as well, and I feel at home there. The smell of hyacinth, honeysuckle, or roses makes me feel at home. Crickets singing, frogs plopping into the pond, or a rooster crowing feels like home. I was lucky to be raised in an environment that offered most of those things, but I don’t call that specific location home, because I carry “home” inside myself, and I find a little bit of home everywhere I go.
What turns you on creatively?
That’s an interesting question, and one I’ve never really contemplated before. I guess it goes back to when I started learning to read and write. Those writing practice sheets were a welcome addition to me and I loved doing them. But, I didn’t just write the letters; I would draw the letters. When I got a little older, I would spend hours drawing letters in different fonts and styles, and then came the words. Oh, I loved reading the words. I’ve read more books than the average person could, and at one point in my life I could take down a book a day! Combine that with someone who falls within the “social introvert” spectrum, who finds it easier to express herself in writing, and an author is born! I love sharing my thoughts, my feelings, and how I view the world, by writing about them. Finding just the right combination of words to accurately express a feeling, or to paint a picture for the reader, often finds me working on a single poem, or even a paragraph, for hours. That is my “happy place”. My favorite teacher, who happened to teach me English, and Speech and Drama, in both high school and college, once said to me, “Who knew Ginny had so much to say.” She’ll never know the impact she had on my life.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
My favorite word changes often, given where I am in life, what’s happening, where my focus lies, and while the word I’ve written about most over time is “free will”, I believe at this point in life, my favorite word is fool. I think the word has gotten a bad reputation and is usually used in a negative way, but in retrospect, I find that I have played the role of the “fool” many, many times, and with no regrets. Let me explain by sharing what has become one of my personal favorite realizations that came while I was expressing myself;
“And, if you’re really, really lucky, you’ll realize the value and power of The Fool. The Fool worries not. The Fool walks, he leaps, in faith.”
What is your pet peeve?
Interruptions. Numero uno. To be right in the middle of the mental contortions required to get a thought down on paper perfectly, making it fit within the context of what came before and what follows, and have someone insist I stop and turn my attention to them, and they’re not even bleeding that bad?! The house isn’t on fire and there’s no broken bones involved? Aaahhhh! I realize that people who don’t write can’t possibly understand that if you don’t get the line down right now in just the right way, or that paragraph, whatever, you may never find that exact formula again. It may be lost forever by the time you’re allowed to get back to it. It always seems to happen when I have a particularly inspired line, and I can see everything that I need to change to make it fit…and now it’s gone. I’m not just putting words on paper. I’m not just “writing”. I am creating. I’m tapped into the “source”. My muse is on deck and the mojo is flowing! People who are not creative just do not understand that.
What defines Ginny M. Jones?
A simple phrase that I heard from my dad repeatedly growing up, what I call “obscure dad advice”, because you’re left to figure out its meaning, can sum me up quite nicely; “The cheese stands alone.” It’s a spin on ‘The Farmer in the Dell’ nursery rhyme, which of course evolved into a childhood game. The farmer picks a wife, the wife takes a child, the child takes a nurse, and so on. At the end of the game, whoever is left standing alone in the middle of the circle is the cheese. Nobody wanted to be the cheese, but my dad always said, “Be the cheese.” Some of you may have heard this concept put another way, “If all your friends jump off the cliff, are you going to jump off with them?” No. I don’t follow the crowd, I don’t care about what’s fashionable, I don’t follow trends, and I don’t necessarily care how “things should be done.” I do my own thing and I do it my way. I am the cheese.
I have always been a writer, letting my thoughts and emotions spill out on paper where I can express myself in a way I can’t do verbally. Perhaps because some things are too difficult to verbalize. Some things you can’t bear to say out loud. Once they’re given voice they become living extensions of ourselves. So, at a young age, I began to write. I wrote in notebooks and on notebooks. On scraps of paper and abandoned napkins. My mother saw this and bought me a journal for my birthday one year. I remember flipping through those blank pages envisioning my words written on them, thinking that now, finally, I could say some things! I'm still saying some things.