About Jerdine Nolen
Chicago, Illinois, along with five sisters and two brothers.
“I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing and collecting words. My
Mother encouraged me to do that. She was eager to hear my new
list of ‘favorite words.’ Cucumber was a word I preferred above the rest.
Then, one day, I became smitten with chutney. ‘Chutney, chutney, chut-ney.’
I would chant that one over and over again.
“Writing is fun work. It takes patience to get the right story.
Once you have the story idea, it is important to revise/revisit the
work to make it the best that it could be. It is like sculpting or wiring
the pieces together in a way so the words on the page have enough life –
they could stand up and walk around all on their own. That is why my motto is,
Hold fast to your dreams as you would your balloons!
“In looking over the landscape that is my work so far, I think my stories are about possibilities — possible and impossible possibilities. Possibilities are sometimes born out of great needs. In Harvey Potter’s Balloon Farm, ‘Harvey Potter was a very strange fellow indeed.’ He was a farmer from a small rurual-depression-town who grew balloons. Now how many of us can honestly say we don’t need a good clown balloon ‘growing out of the plain old ground,’ from time to time.
“The family memories shared in my book In My Momma’s Kitchen are a part of all of our lives. We need rational connection with each other. And it is just fine to go back and remember the good things about those important connections that we shared. For some of us, our family kitchens joined us at the beginning and ending places of where all life flows. It does seem like everything good that happened in my house happened in my momma’s kitchen.
“Now when I look upon BIG JABE, he certainly was born out of a great need. But, he also symbolizes a wish fulfillment and the desire a nine year old girl expressed long ago. My formal introduction to the subject of slavery in the United States came in elementary school. I was horrified. I still am. I wanted to ‘do something’ for those ‘people who were treated as slaves.’ Years later, that desire blossomed into the book, BIG JABE. Big Jabe comes along out of a great need bearing mysterious gifts to help and share with others. May Big Jabe bring us all to the pear tree.
“Stories help us examine and shape the world we live in. Stories give us hopeful answers and insights to questions no one person can answer on their own – stories help us share our lives. This is what I love about being a writer.
Jerdine Nolen received a B.A. in special education from Northeastern Illinois University and an M.Ed. in interdisciplinary arts education from Loyola University in Chicago.
Jerdine Nolen lives in Maryland.