ABOUT

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·      Someone once called me The Heart of Enlightened Darkness, I said I’d put it in my bio.

·      I am a dreamer. If this were a quantifiable skill or profession or career, I would be winning at life. My imagination is my greatest asset. I am learning to bring daydreams into the physical world. It’s kind of a superpower.

·      Forever-ago, I swapped my traditional education for a backpack and the whole-wide-world. I have “quit” my life and started over several times in the last decade. (Brisbane – London – India – New York – Hawaii – Germany).

·      My best friend calls me The Queen of The One-Way Ticket.

·      I get asked a lot how do you do it? I can only tell you what works for me: Waitress your ass off and stack some cash, and then buy a ticket, and then get on the plane.

·      I am psychic. (We all are!) I studied at the Clairvoyant Center of Hawaii where I learnt that my cynical self and my spiritual self could actually do this thing together. Reading energy is just seeing with your eyes closed.

·      I did an improv. comedy course at the UCB in New York once and I nearly gave it all up to peruse a life of comedy. I still just might do this.

·      I have a lot of selves, and it’s taken me this long to figure out who is who and how to find a way we can all be together in the world. The voices in your head are important. (Figuring out if you are “crazy” is not.) My favorite of all my selves is The Dream Girl. My second fave is The Bleeding Heart.

·      Several years ago one of my friends said to me You live through a kaleidoscope, Jen. It’s still the best description of how I live my life.

·      Chasing Summer is kind of my theme. I have proof. In the middle of a New York winter I bought a one-way ticket to Hawaii. I’ve found it’s not really about never living through another winter. (Although that’s my preference and I’ve been doing a good job of it.) It’s about finding a way to keep the fire burning during a blizzard. Albert Camus wrote what I wish I had: In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.

·      I am a true Sagittarius. Half woman/half unicorn. Born with the tiger. I am Fire. (Burn, baby, burn.) I had an Irish boyfriend for a while and when we were cooking dinner one night he held out the bottle of chilly pepper flakes and said, this is you. The label read: Fiery, steely, hot.

·      My favorite yoga pose is Savasana (lying on the floor doing nothing).

·      Conscious choices are my jam. Waking up and then waking up again and again and again, all in the same day.

·      I have not used shampoo in years and I doubt I ever will again. There is a science to it. (Google: No Poo.) I believe we put too many unnecessary chemicals on and in our bodies. Don’t (or do) get me started on the food industry…

·      I am a contradiction. I preach about natural products and I still always paint my nails in obscure colors. I am vegan and occasionally I eat fish tacos or cake or cheese. I pay close attention to the words I chose to say and I just love to curse. I believe my health is irreplaceable and I spend serious amounts of time and money preparing and planning food and there are still times where I stay up all night drinking beer and end up with my face in a bowl of fries in a diner at 4am.

·      Once after a friend witnessed me having an anxiety attack she made me a card that said: This Certificate entitles Jennifer Chardon the right to be Fucked Up. It’s the most important thing I’ve earned in my life.

·      Rose and lavender and coconut oil and coffee are my favorite grown-up scents. My signature scent when I was sixteen was BabyDoll and if I smell it now I am immediately nostalgic for hand-written poetry, car make-out sessions, The Staring Line and tight black t-shirts.  

·      I took the run-away approach to finding a way to love myself by spending a long time in the east, backpacking through South East Asia, India and Nepal. I volunteered with street children and then elephants. I lived in a monastery in Nepal and an ashram in India. The best “spiritual” lesson I ever learnt was years after all this, when a friend said to me: Why are you so opposed to being happy?

·      I believe in everything. Every idea or version of God – The Universe and Buddha and Jesus and Allah and Muhammad, every deity, every incarnation. Also, but not limited to: art, angels, magic, science, life, astrology, karma, creativity, intention, fate, Love, miracles, wishes-come-true, spirits, ourselves, hope, destiny, numerology, reincarnation, prayer, The Big Bang, heaven-on-earth, enlightenment, kindness, ghosts, Nirvana, mankind, infinity. Everything exists somewhere.

·      Above all, I believe in stories. I believe if you can think it, you can create it.

·      When I wrote my first novel CHASING SUMMER, (in a garden shed at a hippie commune on the Big Island) it was a long torturous ordeal. I had bought into that age-old suffering/bleeding/starving artist notion. It worked until it didn’t any more. While I wrote my second, SUNNY SIDE UP I learnt that it doesn’t have to be so hard, to be alive and inspired and creating every single day. Now I’m working on another novel, IF I EVER WRITE A BOOK IT WILL BE ABOUT YOU. (All the titles will probably change.) I always thought I would publish my books and then they’d become great movies and then I’d be so proud of myself but now I’m not so sure what will become of my art. I’m trying to be okay with the not knowing. I am trying to be proud of myself.

·      I swoon for a true love story. I love fairytales. I love heroes. I may have a slight “Prince Charming Complex.” I also love the dark side to these stories. I believe a “happy ending” is where most stories actually begin.

·      I am fascinated with all human behavior, particularly our shadow selves, the parts we try to hide. I am captivated by the human psyche, life’s messiness, how we can never know what we’ll do until we are in a situation we’ve never been in. Addictive and destructive behaviors intrigue me.

·      My biggest struggle has always been with unanswerable questions. Dealing with existential angst, figuring out how to thrive in the face of an unknown infinity. It’s a blessed struggle. 

·     My second biggest struggle is with the collective unconsciousness, and allowing others to have their own journeys. To use the less sane parts of me to create art instead of trading it all in to be a wandering nomad, roaming the streets screaming Wake Up! to the world. (My third favorite self.)

·      For me, nothing is random. I have learnt that even if others are not having this experience, it doesn’t mean it is not real.

·      Once upon a time I wanted to go on a long drive so I packed up my life and rented a car and drove across the entire content of the USA. That road trip showed me I am the person I’ve always wanted to be.

·      Words change lives. Many words have changed mine, like these from Sevan Bomar: We invented the end, it’s not real, see you forever. I am different because these words exist.

·      My hope for my work is that my words will always form a mirror. There are three sides to this story. 1. So I can see myself. 2. So the world can see me. 3. So you can see yourself.

·      In a Short Story 101 class at Gotham Writer’s Workshop I had a crush on the teacher. He’d circle anything cliché or borderline cliché in my work and write you can do better in the margin. It thrilled me that he believed I could do better. If I were in class now he’d circle the mirror thing above, he’d write you’re on the edge, keep pushing.

·      I am always on the edge, pushing for the infinite.

 

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Jennifer Chardon is a writer with secret dreams of also becoming a comedian and/or hairdresser. She is currently at work on a novel, Chasing Summer. The title will probably change. Her fiction has appeared in various places, including The Rumpus and Word Riot. Jennifer has spent much of the last decade backpacking, journal writing and staying up late. She lives in Hawaii and blogs from a garden shed.