“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” ~ Maya Angelou
What a fun day indeed! I am honored to share with you an interview with Jannie Funster, the “princess of fun”. Jannie is an amazing, funtastic, smiling, and real friend here at the “Jungle of Life”, and someone whom it gives me great pleasure to share with you today! When not answering my probing questions (see below!) — Jannie spends her days writing and singing music, being an awesome mother and wife, authoring her very entertaining blog, and just generally having fun with life!
NOTE: We’re having our first ever give away here today! For the price of a comment, one lucky winner will be chosen to receive a copy of Jannie’s recently released debut CD, “I Need A Man”. Winner will be chosen at random, from all received comments — on Friday May 29th.
And with that, please help me in welcoming Jannie here today!
I ask her some challenging questions, and Jannie answers them with poise, grace, and humor…
1. Tell us a little bit about who “you” are (family, career, any special life experiences you’d like to share, etc.)
Well, Lance, funny you should ask! I was just telling my new clog-dancing buddies yesterday that I’m an Eastern Canadian farm-raised gal from a long long line of “Twinkle Shooting” Irish ancestors. Back in the Motherland I entered (and often won,) every carrot-peeling contest I could find before going off to college, then taught junior high French for a couple of years until I ran off happily here to Texas with my landlord-love-of-my life, Jim. Been here in the “Live Music Capital Of The World” almost 19 years!
Lance’s Commentary: Carrot-peeling contest! Were I to enter something like that I’d surely lose a finger…
2. How long have you been blogging, and what led you to start writing?
It was a foggy morning at 6:41 May 22nd, 2006 when I started my old blog as an “added feature” of the templated website I created to promote our band “The Funsters. ” But that blog never had (nor never would have, boo hoo,) the options of comments. Imagine my thrill when I finally came to my senses last September and switched to a WordPress blog WITH COMMENTS!
As to writing in general, I was 4 or 5 when I scratched “I love you,” on a scrap of paper to my Aunt Tillie — which she still has! And have kept writing, with no signs or desire of ever stopping. And you?
Lance’s Commentary: Comments add so much to the conversation! And if you’ve never visited Jannie’s site, get over there and check it out. It’s loads of fun!
What’s the deal here — you sending the questions right back at me? Well…writing isn’t something that’s always been with me — at least not at the same level as it has been for you. Or maybe more appropriately — it’s not something I’ve always done. I think a part of it is that writing feels permanent — and that held me back — the idea of a recorded copy of my thoughts. Is that insecurity on my part? It’s taken time to be “ok” with writing. For me, it all started just over a year ago –when the “Jungle of Life” was born. It’s been a fantastic journey through my mind, and with the help of so many others to make it all possible.
3. Tell us about your singing / songwriting, and how long you’ve been doing that.
I was probably born singing. Used to drive my friends crazy by singing instead of talking to communicate. (But they still hung around me – go figure!)
Dreamed of being a singer as a child, but my path veered elsewhere. I look now at those interim years as song research!
Then, at 30, when I picked up a guitar at my neighbor Leigh’s house and she taught me a couple of chords, I wrote a song immediately. And following a rather circuitous, yet steady route of voice, guitar, songwriting and performance classes, here I am – just a regular gal with a penchant for flinging lyrics into melodies and sharing them via guitar.
I still can’t believe I’ve just released my debut CD called “I Need A Man”, as in “I need a man with a chainsaw, I need a man with an axe – a guy who’s good in the garden, who’ll give my weeds a whack…” (Did I mention half those songs won awards? ? ) And that the CD can be purchased off my site, only $10.00 each, with low S&H. Packed to anywhere in the world with aromatic moonbeams and a special Jannie love incantation. Oh, I didn’t mention that? How totally remiss of me.
The CD also contains a precious song Kelly wrote and sang in one take when she was 5 years old.
Lance’s Commentary: I think this is so cool — you’ve released your first CD!! I love the whole thing, and the last song, with Kelly singing, is very sweet. The world is a better place because you picked up that guitar and followed your dreams! And one more thing, Jannie — I have a chainsaw I like to play with…
On a side note, Milwaukee has a large summer music festival, Summerfest, in late June/early July. I think this would be an awesome place for you to showcase your talents (and hey, I’ll have a place for you to stay the whole time)!
4. Jannie, when I think of you – I think music (and maybe bra-flinging). Besides music, what else makes your spirit soar, your heart skip a beat?
Ah, Lance, I love the explosion of springtime, a perfect glazed donut, my husband’s (landlord ?) sweet whistle, my daughter’s laugh, my mother’s hugs, my dad’s grin, my brothers’ spontaneous accordion and harmonica hoe-downs, my sister’s twinkle-shooting eyes. The wind on my face. The sun on my roses. The scent of the pines everywhere as soon as I step off the plane at home. My morning coffee – light and a bit sweet. My new “Mountain Mist” scented brand of laundry soap.
Lance’s Commentary: What great things in life, all of these that you’re deeply connected to (the laundry soap t00?). Someday, we shall meet for coffee — my treat! You can bring the donuts…
5. What do you see as the real purpose of your blog (in other words, why do you write)?
Lance, the real purpose of my blog is to take over the world (but don’t tell anyone, okay?) To get and give a little fun and love and funsterment. But mainly to be heard. How ‘bout you?
Lance’s Commentary: Your secret’s good with me! Jannie, when I think fun and love all wrapped together — you’re it! Keep sharing your voice, in all the ways you do.
More questions for me?? So, what’s the purpose of my blog? I write to get things out that I have in my head and in my heart. And in that process, or journey really — it helps me to better understand myself, and to really live the life I want. There’s something about writing it down for me that makes it all more real. So, that’s why I started to write. I also find that I write as a way to connect with others. Like with you! And everyone who visits these pages…you all add so much!
6. Tell us one unexpected thing that has happened to you in the last year.
You mean besides finding that wonderful box of assorted but practically brand new mis-matched socks at a yardsale? Yes, the one-same yardsale where I scored the (over) half a tube of super glue that was just the ticket to mend my cow-milking trophy that crashed from the shelf the night the fandango party got a little wilder than usual! Well… my hubby surprised me with a beautiful new white kitchen sink for Mothers Day. Installed!
And the joy and love I’ve grown to feel for all my blogging buds – that was pretty unexpected, and welcome, indeed.
Lance’s Commentary: This is what’s so great about you, Jannie. And to everyone reading here — this IS Jannie! In an off-the-wall sort of way, she is able to write something light-hearted and deeply meaningful in the same paragraph. Jannie, I love it! Especially the socks!!
And the connections with others in the blogging world — I’ll agree that’s a pretty sweet gift indeed! Have fun with your new sink (although Jim is making me look bad!)…
7. If you had to pick one thing as your greatest achievement, what would it be (and why)?
Finally getting to be a mom, after years of heartbreaking infertility and miscarriages. Hopefully raising a nice little human to bring more sunshine than rain to this (and all other,) planets.
Lance’s Commentary: Jannie, I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult those years must have been. You have someone very special in your life now, and from everything I’ve witnessed, she’s a true offshoot of you. That’s testament to the great job you’re doing as a mother! Our galaxy has a bunch more sunshine!
8. A fun day with your family – tell me what that might consist of.
Oh, a dream fun day would be waking up in a great little hotel in Paris with a fabulous view, having café /croissant on the terrace, then enjoying the Orangerie museum, where Kelly and I could explore to our heart’s content after Jim settled into a nice hammock beside the museum deck. (Kelly and I can tire him out!) He’d be kept well there with lemonade and tranquility at an even temperature of 75 beneath a shady tree. Then we’d all three have a leisurely lunch on the Champs Elysees and stroll merrily through the Tuileries, up to the Louvre. But not actually go in the Louvre, but head over to Pere LaChaise to look for Jim Morrison. And that evening attend a party at the Ritz, Place Vendome — with every one of our friends and family, who’d been flown in and put up courtesy of some secret-admiring philanthropist. And my hair would curl just right for the occasion.
Lance’s Commentary: Wow! I hope I’m on the “friends” list (and it’s not just to get a free trip to Paris). Jannie, I love your imagination, it fits the whole “Funster” name so well!
9. Deep-down, Jannie, what makes you, “you”?
Well, Lance, you’d really have to ask the Great Almighty what he used for ingredients in me. But I’m guessing poetry, pansies and pastry were in the mix! Maybe a hint of two of mischief. And a flash of pinkish-blue.
Lance’s Commentary: The “Great Almighty” did one fantastic job with you!
Closing Thoughts: Jannie, it’s been awesome having you here today! Your thoughts — whether on your blog, your comments here, or in the music you sing — they all are uplifting and just plain fun! I love how you’ve went out after something you believe deeply in — your music. And this is proof for all of us here, that taking some risks with ourselves and really listening to what our heart is saying — can lead to some pretty amazing things happening!
Jannie, thank you for being here today, and for sharing “you” with all of us! You are sunshine to our planet, and to all the planets we know about, and even to those that haven’t yet been discovered!