About me

Thanks so much for visiting.

I’m a reader, writer, editor, mom, wife, sister, friend who spent almost twenty years working to protect nature mostly from the inside of a wide variety of meeting rooms, though occasionally while living within a West African forest. One afternoon I went to a Potbelly Sandwich Shop to buy a sandwich, I remember it had pickles but no further details, and on my walk back to my desk I started thinking about the fact that I was wearing maternity pants and that my youngest child was two years old and that I wasn’t pregnant. When I got back to my desk, I felt compelled to write down what I was thinking and to share it with someone and that tiny act, on that one day, those few paragraphs started something. What? Well, we’re still finding out. I left the job, floundered about trying to figure out what was next, did a lot of semi-public soul searching, and have, with some hesitancy, declared myself a working artist. That’s, like, my thing. Not a freelance editor who does art for fun, but someone who works at making art every day and figures out how to make that possible.

It’s been about four years since sandwich/pants day, and my first book, The Rise and Fall of Jenny Goodguts, will be available in May of 2019.

I love the ocean, flowers, frogs and otters, mountains, and wind if it is not too cold.  And redwoods. I have a lifelong and culturally induced fear of snakes. I’ve had tea with the Queen of Bhutan and have a species of katydid named for me. I see a lot of beauty in the world a lot of opportunity for more beauty, more caring, more community, and more playful and communal approaches to living (getting stuff done, but not in such a scowly way). I am working through some anger with a few institutions and some cultural norms. Welcome to my blog!

Who is writing these words?

When I started this blog, I was conflicted about anonymity. I didn’t share my name, my face, I didn’t try to find readers. I was writing to write and to learn and to share with people close to me, or random others who stumbled across the words somehow. It was exciting to think of the others. But scary too. But now that I have this book done, and my name is on the front cover, and I’ve (hesitantly) declared myself a working artist, I’ve decided, even though I’m a little uncomfortable about it, that it is time to be me and to share.

So there’s also a new website under development: jenniferhole.com. You can go there now, but it’s not ready and I will certainly change everything about it very shortly.

I’m Jennifer Hole. A name that I feel requires one to have a sense of humor. I was not born a Hole, and since becoming one I have had further thoughts about taking on the name of one’s spouse’s father and that whole deal, and maybe I’ll write more about that one day. But I’m a Hole, and my children are Holes, and I’ve heard worse and better, and I love my family and my spouse and his father. I just didn’t think that would be the name on my book. But enough about that.

A description of what I intended the Adventures with Jenny Goodguts blog to be:

I have read so many books about good living, productivity, clearing clutter, healthy eating, spiritual wholeness, environmental stewardship, stoicism, philosophy, money management, relationships, ‘clean’ living, happiness, kaizen, making decisions, finding your voice, living artfully, living gamefully, living mindfully.

For years I read the books, nodded my head, underlined, thinking “Great stuff. I’m definitely going to do that.” And then got on with my busy life of not eating veggies, not getting up from my desk, not breathing before meals or much at all. After a week of no change I would pick up the next book.

For years I’ve been making up games and charts (I have what I call an Excel ‘tendency’ wherein I use spreadsheets to help me feel more in control of what is, in the end, not controllable, but more about that in the book). When I started this blog, I was set on using these games and charts to help myself, my family, my kids, and my friends put more of what matters in our lives — using the concept of kaizen (small steps). I planned to create missions around particular themes that readers and I were interested in pursuing.

Some of the original endorsements for the blog:

“She was always making up lists of things to do and we had to do them. She pretended making me President of a club meant I was in charge.”
— Robert M.

“Jennifer has always read a lot of books about self improvement.”
— Aunt Lynn

(ps. i wrote those, they are not real endorsements)

So what, then, IS this blog about?

This blog contains many of the original posts that went into the book which are a mix of mostly soul searching together with a few tools and games. It also houses the work I’ve been doing post-book which includes The 100 Rejections Project and The Stuffed Project in addition to my thoughts about life in general and updates on book progress. It also has the Happy Atmosphere Challenge which I will be revisiting and updating at some point and one song that I wrote.

I am not a reliable correspondent, let me be upfront about that fact, but I do love to hear from readers. Please feel free to comment on posts or to reach out via my contact page. Thanks so much for reading.

An artist’s rendering of the author
A picture I drew of myself wearing my hoody sweatshirt
Depiction of the lucky quarter found in the Trader Joe’s parking lot that turned my life around