Jennifer Maisel

New York in my heart, LA in my body

What do you do for work?
I’m a playwright, screenwriter and television writer.

For fun?
I’ve had this conversation with other – particularly female – playwrights a lot of late. How people ask us what our hobbies are and we don’t have hobbies. We don’t have them because we’re playwrights. Not that playwriting is a hobby, but –  writing for theatre is almost never a profitable venture. So, if playwriting is your love and your primary career, you have to have other careers to support it. There isn’t any room for a hobby, particularly if you have a child (which I do!)  So there’s a lot of a certain kind of play in my life, and not a lot of the other kind of play – and that’s fine with me. Though I miss throwing pots, I used to throw pots.

My mom died from complications from an angioplasty while I was living in LA. She didn’t want me to come home for it, she was sure it was going to be nothing, after some other things she had gone through. I was in a lot of pain from a nerve issue, and was having a nerve conduction test the day before; she knew I would be in more pain as a result and didn’t want me to fly. I wanted to go, but I let myself get talked into not going.  As soon as we knew things were going south I got on a plane, but I didn’t make it in time. So I wish I had done what I wanted to do and gone to be there with her – and I learned the lesson of if you want to go, go.  You won’t regret going (even if it turns out to be nothing).  You will regret not going.

Can you describe your fantasy version of your older self?
I was flying back from looking at colleges with our daughter on Saturday and there were three older-than-me women cheering as they were checking in their bags for a trip to New Zealand. That’s my fantasy – great times, travel and exploration with all the loves of my life…friends and family. And, accepting that Tony.

What’s your greatest fear?
Losing the people I love.

Guilty pleasure?
The darkest chocolate I can find.  Reading when I’m supposed to be doing something else.  Oooh, reading when I’m supposed to be doing something else while eating the darkest chocolate I can find.

What does the group mean to you?
Maybe WWVWD is my guilty pleasure.  Frankly, finding so many women who are going through life and encountering the same issues I’m facing alleviates the loneliness that I think has always been part of my core being.  The value of the genuine helpfulness and support of each other – and even the battles – it reaffirms my faith in how we, as humans, are essentially lifted up by connection, thoughtfulness and love.

What’s coming up that you’re most excited about?
Right after the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh, Rachel Leventhal – who actually introduced me to WWVWD – came to me with an idea.  She had recently seen a reading of a play of mine called EIGHT NIGHTS, about a German-Jewish refugee who comes to America in the 1940s and eight nights of her life over eight decades – and felt that the play ws very relevent to this moment in our history and that it spoke to what had happened We set out to create a fundraiser around the play, called 8 Nights of EIGHT NIGHTS, which will be eight readings of the play in eight different cities to raise money for HIAS whose mission it is to welcome refugees.  We had the first reading in Colorado and the next are coming up in New York and Washington DC.  To use a play I wrote to create a larger conversation in the world and raise money for an amazing cause – this gives me incredible joy.

Tell us something surprising about yourself. 
I found a dead man in my driveway when I was 17. That day was also the first time my high school boyfriend told me he loved me. And that’s what you need to know about my take on relationships.

What’s your favorite new discovery? 
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light.)  Well, this needs a little more explanation – I’ve had dark ugly “waxy” spots on my arms and hands for years that really bothered me and after a very long time of thinking about it and not doing it because I don’t do things for myself, I’ve done two (of probably three) IPL treatments and they look infinitely better.  And I realize that little stress of seeing something that bothered me all the time is gone.  So the discovery is doing something for me. And I’ve rediscovered Pilates.  And discovered Trader Joe’s sunflower butter cups….

Where can we find you?
My website. 

Tickets are on sale for 8 Nights of EIGHT NIGHTS in NYC on April 8th  at 7:00 PM! Reserve yours HERE. 

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The Woolfer Newsletter Team
Stephanie Staal and Nina Collins have worked together and adored each other since 1994 when they were both babies in the world of book publishing. Stephanie is a lawyer, journalist, & author of READING WOMEN, and Nina is the founder of "What Would Virginia Woolf Do?" Hillary Richard is also a lawyer and co-host of the Raging Gracefully podcast. Sidney Morss is a recent NYU grad and the youngest member of our team.

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