Jill-Elizabeth Arent – The Author
About Me: The Short Version
So how exactly does one end up Jill Elizabeth, you ask? Well, let me tell you …
I was born in a small town in upstate New York into a perfectly normal family. I went to school, played outside with my friends, read a lot, played sports. At age ten, I decided I was going to be a lawyer. Seriously. Age ten. I’d read a lot by then, imagined a lot of things and places, and decided I wanted to do and see everything. Since I realized everything wasn’t located in a small town in upstate New York, I figured I’d have to get educated and leave. So I did.
I went to The George Washington University, studied philosophy, and worked my way through school at a small health care trade association. After graduation, I moved out of the mail-room and into a job as a research analyst doing policy work – a field I worked in for about five years. Then one day I realized this wasn’t getting me where I wanted to go, and that it was time to get cracking on my ten-year old self’s plan and go to law school.
I left Washington for Chicago and Northwestern University School of Law. I managed to survive, despite leaving half the belongings I schlepped across the country in an alley next to my new apartment because it was roughly the size of a broom closet AND despite getting pickpocketed on my first day in Chicago, losing my wallet and identification. Then blah blah blah law school, blah blah blah bar exams (yes, plural – two states, shudder), and I was off to a job at a law firm in Philadelphia.
As a lowly Associate you do grunt work in the most absolute sense of the term. Even if you have years of experience in the field in which you are now working. You learn very early on that it barely matters how you work, only how much – and by how much I of course mean how much is billable. Quantity not quality was not the life for me, so about a year in I started looking for a new job. Enter the magical world of pharmaceuticals (cue angelic choir music).
At first it seemed like a dream come true – a job in health policy in suburban Philadelphia that promised high pay, regular hours, travel, and a foray into Corporate America with all its attendant perks. Hooray, she said. I took the job and became a Director in a Very Large Company. At first it was great – I loved the position, the responsibility, the office, the pay, the prestige, the travel, everything. Then my boss (an amazing woman) retired. Then her boss (another amazing woman) retired. Then I learned exactly how much interference those two women had run for me and exactly how much I did not fit into the mold of a Corporate American. So blah blah blah bored and blah blah blah frustrated more than I ever dreamed possible, I found myself at a crossroads. I took a sabbatical for a month, and that started me thinking…
When I returned to work, I knew I couldn’t stay there much longer. I didn’t enjoy what I was doing or how I had to do it. Then the company announced it was being acquired. After some brief, back-of-the-envelope math, I realized this was a golden opportunity: I could decide what I wanted to do next based not on money, but on what I actually wanted to do. Thus The Plan was born: I’d become a Writer. So blah blah blah months of meetings and blah blahh blah agonizingly slow corporate movement, and I was finally done. Plan in motion, I moved back to my hometown.
I was surprisingly stressed out after my corporate years. Moving back home was supposed to give me a comfortable environment. It did. A little too much so. It took me a lot longer time to turn back into a normal, productive human being than I thought it would – but in that time I got to be a real daughter, aunt and best friend for the first time in nearly twenty years. And I loved it – so much that a year passed with nary a written word crossing the page.
Eek, she said.
Needless to say I was a little shocked so much time had gone by – and how easily entropy had set in. I started to get the teensiest bit nervous. I was getting tired of people politely asking how the book was coming along, and having to equally politely respond that it wasn’t. I was also getting tired of doing nothing productive.
Out-of-the-blue change hit me like a mack truck. I fell in love (stereotype much, but I do not care) with an amazing man who is the most diligent and focused person I’ve ever known. Suddenly things looked different – in the best possible way. When I said: “maybe I’ll write today,” he said: “great, then we can develop a blog so other people can read it.” When I whined that I didn’t feel like writing, he’d remind me this was my dream and that maybe if I started, I’d be surprised how much I’d want to finish. And he was right.
So zoom ahead a year. Amazing Man and I got married and I got two fantastic step-kids in the deal. I started a blog, a website, a slew of stories I’m compiling into a collection, a couple of novels, and found myself with more ideas in the hopper than ever. Then I also found myself pregnant. Now in addition to all those things, I also have a toddler. Which brings us to today… After a rather extended hiatus (turns out keeping a small child alive requires quite more attention than I originally thought, teehee), I’m finally back. Mostly. Things are clicking along – more slowly than I’d like, but still. Every day moves me a little further along. I don’t know where exactly the writing thing will go, but it sure is taking me on one hell of a ride…