Why a Creative Mindset is Essential to Your Well-Being – Jenn Wertz [Podcast]

creativity songwriting Dec 15, 2020

Show Links:

Music: https://www.jennwertz.com/

Photos and Art: https://www.instagram.com/jwertzy

Fashion: https://www.instagram.com/sweet_threads_wertzy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jenn.wertz.7

Jim’s Spotify Playlist of his Favorite Jenn Wertz songs – http://bit.ly/JennWertzMix


Some people are able to find beauty, art and creativity in every aspect of their lives. Even when the everyday grind limits our access to it. But have you ever wondered where creativity comes from? How you can tap into it?

Jim welcomes singer-songwriter, multi-dimensional artist and his former Rusted Root bandmate Jenn Wertz to the show. They talk about the cathartic early days of the band, re-imagining personal identity and the healing power of music.

Learn how you can begin tapping into your own creative mindset in order to help manage depression and anxiety, which, as Jenn explains, will generate deeper life fulfillment.

Jenn Wertz:        There is something cathartic for us in those rehearsal spaces, okay? So, we would go in with a skeleton of a song, and then we would wrestle the structure out of it with Michael and the rest of us. Then it was like we would just play the song until the song started playing us, and we knew that moment when the song was playing us.

Jenn Wertz:        Then I just remember it was always a moment where we would all look around, and some people would be laughing through playing at that moment. It was ecstatic.

Jim Donovan:    Hey. Welcome to the show. This is Jim Donovan. I am so glad you’re here with us. Today, I have a wonderful guest on the show. I’m so excited for you to meet her. She’s my former bandmate from Rusted Root, Jenn Wertz. Jenn is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, and perhaps best known as an original member of our former band.

Jim Donovan:    She’s always a successful mixed media artist, videographer, and a writer. Jenn recently released a beautiful new album I can’t get enough of. I was just listening to it on the way here, and it’s called Take ‘Em as They Come. Jenn, welcome to the show. It’s so nice to have you.

Jenn Wertz:        It’s great to see you as usual.

Jim Donovan:    This is both awesome and totally bizarre that we’re across from each other at a table in a studio interviewing each other.

Jenn Wertz:        It’s weird.

Jim Donovan:    I guess I’m interviewing you, but maybe you’re interviewing me, too.

Jenn Wertz:        I’m interviewing you for a job. You don’t even know that you might get.

Jim Donovan:    Oh, geez! I need more things to do. That would be awesome. I remember I texted you this morning trying to remember when the heck we actually met because the past so blurred anymore.

Jenn Wertz:        Oh, yeah.

Jim Donovan:    Can you remember the story of how we first met and how we got to know each other?

Jenn Wertz:        Well, yeah, I do remember. I remember very specifically. I met all of the original Rusted Root members in one place. I was a bike messenger, and I was friends with John Buynak, who became a member of Rusted Root with me, and a couple of bike messengers had mentioned there was this crazy new band. Just a couple of shows under your belt at that time. It was at the upstage in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

Jim Donovan:    Dingy Dance Club.

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah. It was a dark place, all painted black.

Jim Donovan:    All black walls.

Jenn Wertz:        I remember that specifically, but, yeah, and we went up the steps and I met Michael, and Liz, and you, and Patrick. I remember the music starting, and John and I looked and going, “Holy crap!” Although, he had seen you guys before. He knew Liz, but it was a first time for me, and I was like, “This is so oddly dark and bright.” It was emanating this strong light energy, but also there was a lot of very rich tones and energies involved.

Jim Donovan:    Some heaviness, too.

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah. Very real and absolutely enchanting. That’s the first time that we met.

Jim Donovan:    Wow!

Jenn Wertz:        Then I guess it was a couple of weeks that we got to saw another show at Earth Day at the Point State Park.

Jim Donovan:    My grandmother was there. I remember that. 1990.

Jenn Wertz:        1990.

Jim Donovan:    Earth Day 1990.

Jenn Wertz:        Yes, and you guys needed some band photos and asked John and I if we would come and take some pictures of you. We were both dabbling in photography, and so we took a big trip out to the woods.

Jim Donovan:    I remember that.

Jenn Wertz:        It was a fun day.

Jim Donovan:    I’m going to post that in the show notes. We’ll post them. I have a couple of those photos.

Jenn Wertz:        I do, too. They’re very funny. Everybody-

Jim Donovan:    I have a model. It’s something for you all to look forward to. You can see the model.

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah. Then it was just like a few weeks later that somehow we were both invited to join the band, which is fascinating and crazy. Really, a pivotal moment in my life, actually. Michael invited us down to the rehearsal space one day, and we thought he was going to talk to us more about promotion or photos or-

Jim Donovan:    Sure.

Jenn Wertz:        Then he asked John to join the band. I was like, “I knew it. I knew that you would find a place to play. You are so talented.” I was sitting there like soaking up the beam of that moment, and he was like, “Jenn, I was thinking you, too, could also join the band.” I thought, “What? Do what?” I don’t do anything. I’m not a musician. He looked at me. I’ll never forget it. He looked right at me and said, “Yeah, you do. You will.”

Jim Donovan:    Wow!

Jenn Wertz:        “Trust me.” I thought, “Gosh!” Well, I mean I feel like I can. So, he believes that I can, and it’s fascinating to me still to this day that he saw something in me that honest to God I really didn’t think that I was a musician. I didn’t have that inclination, really. I enjoyed music. I loved music, but I didn’t see myself as a creator of it. He did see that in me. So, I’m always very grateful for that.

Jim Donovan:    It’s a wild gift.

Jenn Wertz:        It is.

Jim Donovan:    Yeah. I remember that about him that he had a sense about him where he saw things, and heard things, and thought about things that other people didn’t always think about. It was a very cool thing.

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah. He has always been a very intuitive person.

Jim Donovan:    Well, I know from spending so much time together we’ve taken probably innumerable car rides together or truck rides together back and forth from New York and Ohio, all these different trips that we took. I just have very vivid memories of listening to all the different radio stations when we were trying to pick up stations on the trip. You were like a library. You could name the song no matter how obscure it was. You knew the artist. You often knew things about the artist. So, then I got the idea that I should always just ask you who this is because you’re going to know, and I got my education.

Jenn Wertz:        Well, of course, that extends to mainly classic rock and old-time rock and blues. That ended in 2000 when I became … especially after 2005 when I became a mom because I got out of touch, but, yeah. I definitely, I know a little bit more than the average person about most stuff having to do with that era of music.

Jim Donovan:    How did that happen? When did that start?

Jenn Wertz:        Well, I’m the youngest of six. So, my mom had six of us over 10 years in the rural edge of the suburbs out there in Westmoreland County.

Jim Donovan:    Yup, where I live now.

Jenn Wertz:        Yes. Yeah. Probably pretty close. So, my sister Theresa really was the main purveyor of music. She had, literally, her bedroom was lined on the floor with albums the whole way around all four walls. She had cassettes hanging up and all around. She listened to everything from Dylan, Muddy Waters, Jon Vangelis.

Jim Donovan:    Wow!

Jenn Wertz:        I mean, just crazy stuff, and then also classic show tunes, but she had an appreciation for music. She had a veracious appetite for music. She had the music playing all the time. That spanned into the current times. So, we got all the regular stuff, the Neil Young, and the James Taylor, Carly Simon, Paul Simon, all that stuff that was happening right then, but then we also got the stuff that came after that, The Police and The Cars, and into the new wave.

Jim Donovan:    You actually had a library in your house.

Jenn Wertz:        I did, and it was always happening. Then also my other siblings had other tastes. My brothers were more into the clash. My sisters were more into Madonna.

Jim Donovan:    Sure.

Jenn Wertz:        For me, it was never enough to just hear the song. For me, I had to know something more about them, and that started because in the 1980s, they used to do a thing, because we didn’t have YouTube and we didn’t have social media, at the Stanley Theater Downtown.

Jim Donovan:    Yup.

Jenn Wertz:        You would go there and you buy a ticket, and they would play a movie that was two hours clips of every famous artists from the mid ’50s through 1980.

Jim Donovan:    Wow! I miss all of that.

Jenn Wertz:        It was on a big screen. It was every Ed Sullivan appearance and every Friday Night Special, and every Midnight Special.

Jim Donovan:    Oh, I didn’t know that.

Jenn Wertz:        They would just be clip after clip. So, you would see Chuck Berry, and you would see The Doors. Honest to God, that was the only place that you could see a clip of The Doors. The first time that you see Jim Donovan, Jim Morrison-

Jim Donovan:    Two different people. Totally different. (Laughter)

Jenn Wertz:        The first time that you see Jim Morrison singing is a really different thing from hearing him. It went to Jimmy Hendrix and Tina Turner, and it went all the way to the ’80s.

Jim Donovan:    Wow!

Jenn Wertz:        So, this really made me like, “Oh, my God! Who are all these people?” So, I started getting rock books for Christmas. So, I would know stupid little things that maybe everybody didn’t know that Manfred Mann was the same band that did Blinded By The Light, which was written by Bruce Springsteen, but they were also the band that did Do Wah Diddy from back in the early ’60s.

Jim Donovan:    You’re blowing my brain apart right now. You just said three things that my brain is going, “Wait, what?”

Jenn Wertz:        I mean, there’s so much more. So, whether it’s who was involved in The Yardbirds and what they did afterwards to I think there was the one dude, and see, I’m getting older, so it’s starting to fade, Jim.

Jim Donovan:    Oh, we can’t let that happen.

Jenn Wertz:        Tracey posted something and said, “Jim-“

Jim Donovan:    My wife Tracey?

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah, Tracey your wife posted on social media, “Jim says that you should come out and do rock trivia with us.” I was like, “Well, you better hurry up because it’s starting to fade.”

Jim Donovan:    Over at TGI Friday’s, where we always hang out… not.

Jenn Wertz:        Oh. I mean, I would love that, but seriously, it does start to fade on me a little bit.

Jim Donovan:    Wow! That’s really cool.

Jenn Wertz:        So, I loved all of that stuff, but mainly, I settled, I like to set up camp in the Rolling Stones. That’s what happened.

Jim Donovan:    Yes. If you want to talk about encyclopedia, we could talk about the Rolling Stones. We should just do a whole Rolling Stones episode some time.

Jenn Wertz:        We could. We certainly could.

Jim Donovan:    We’ll start it at A, and we’ll go the whole way to Z.

Jenn Wertz:        Yes.

Jim Donovan:    I want to pivot over to something that happened early on in one of our first rehearsal spaces back in the Strip District. We used to rehearse across the street from a place called The Spaghetti Warehouse, at a place that was called the Bittner Building.

Jenn Wertz:        Yes.

Jim Donovan:    We spent tons of time there. That’s where Send Me On My Way was … The first time I heard that song was in that building. All the early stuff on Cruel Sun happened in there pretty much. I remember we spent so much time together that we often would spend as much time talking as we would playing music. There’s a time where these books started to show up at the rehearsal space, but at the time, and still today, I learned so much from them about how I create my own reality and how if I think about things and put action towards them that I can make them real. It was in the same time where I just remember we were starting to talk about deeper things about ourselves. I mean, we’re all 20, 21, 22 years old.

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah. We were babies.

Jim Donovan:    We’re just very young. I just remember this experience where I decided to open up to you guys and talk about a traumatic thing that had happened a long time ago. I remember as I did, it was the first time I had broken down in tears in front of anybody besides my mother. I didn’t know what to expect. All I felt was arms around me and I was surrounded and supported. It was the first time, again, besides my parents that I had ever felt that from anybody.

Jim Donovan:    It was that. I just remember that being a pivotal moment realizing that there was a way that I could heal my past, and I was doing it through this camaraderie that we had, and I was also doing it through catharsis, through music. What I’m wondering from you is, what do you think it was about the music or that time or what we were doing that allowed those things to pop up and happen?

Jenn Wertz:        I often describe to people who weren’t there—sometimes it’s my son and sometimes it’s just people who are just a little younger than me—about what it was like. The one thing that I … Sometimes it’s almost a cringe-worthy earnestness. We were so earnest, and we were so honest with one another, and we did that creatively. We did that in a performing sense. So, there was a realness to it that disarmed people, and then invited them in. There was a freakiness to it in that way of that, total realness, but also interpersonally.

Jim Donovan:    Yeah.

Jenn Wertz:        So, for me, I had gone to live in Los Angeles, and came back home to Pittsburgh having had not the greatest time in Los Angeles at that time. I was recognizing for myself that I had a number of very, very large epiphany type experiences at that time of my life.

Jenn Wertz:        So, some of that came out of having been assaulted, and having been assaulted and literally having ignored or denied the trauma of that, and then finding a safety inside of a group of people. That extended outside of the band. There were people outside of the band who also were very loving and supportive, but for whatever reason, that group of people had a very open and loving energy at the time, but it wasn’t like as you would say froofy-

Jim Donovan:    No.

Jenn Wertz:        … at that time to me. It was hardcore. It was utilized, and put into action. It wasn’t just talking about this or that. It was like, “How do I initiate this catharsis? How do I do this? I want to go through this and come out of it. I don’t want this to sit. I don’t want to make this my identity.”

Jenn Wertz:        So, for me, it was like a consciousness of not wanting to be a victim. So, I sought little bit of help from therapy, but mainly, the help that I got was from sharing my experience.

Jim Donovan:    Yup, and being heard.

Jenn Wertz:        Oh, my God! Not only being heard, but there was an element of people being willing to sit with the discomfort, and not try to change it. So, there was this very accepting vibration there. Honestly, I don’t know why was that happening. I don’t know. I know that John and I had both come in to some language out of my therapy that was around the inner child, raising up your inner child. He had read a great deal of John Bradshaw’s work.

Jenn Wertz:        So, we were bringing that to a lot of those meetings with Rusted Root, in the band and talking about, “Well, what do you really feel? So, a part of you is angry right now, but what’s really underneath that?” We would just-

Jim Donovan:    Armchair psychoanalyzing each other.

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah, and nobody would look at you and go, “What are you talking about? I’m just mad.” People would go, “Oh. You know what? There is something behind here.” That was how we operated. It was dangerous in a way looking back, isn’t it? Don’t you think to yourself, “Oh, my God”?

Jim Donovan:    I guess it could have been dangerous if our intent had been malicious. What I felt was we were all we had to a great extent. We had each other. We had our friends outside, but there was something that we decided that we were doing together, and in order to do that, some of the things that were popping up in our communications, we had to figure out how to solve those weirdnesses so we could get on with the thing is what I got.

Jenn Wertz:        I mean, you spoke about driving in a car for long distances. We were in cars, and trucks, and cars, and then vans, and then we were on a bus, buses.

Jim Donovan:    Buses.

Jenn Wertz:        Then we were on sometimes planes. So, we really had that full experience of touring, the bus being the most hilarious because people say, “What was that like touring around in a bus?” I go, “It’s like three-month long tents, Thanksgiving dinner with all of your family members in the same room the whole time. Then you get to go play music and it’s awesome, and then you get back in the bus.”

Jim Donovan:    Oh, my God!

Jenn Wertz:        No. That’s-

Jim Donovan:    There’s a lot of truth in that.

Jenn Wertz:        There’s truth to that, but there was also so much fun. I mean, we had so much fun, but any people you put into closed quarters like that and expect them to work together, eat together, sleep together, and travel together-

Jim Donovan:    Not sleep with each other.

Jenn Wertz:        Well, we slept on the bus together, not together. We slept on the bus-

Jim Donovan:    In separate bus.

Jenn Wertz:        … driving down the road. Right.

Jim Donovan:    Most us, anyway.

Jenn Wertz:        Anyway, some of us. It was a different time.

Jim Donovan:    It was a different time.

Jenn Wertz:        We were young. We were babies.

Jim Donovan:    What did we know?

Jenn Wertz:        Anyway, yeah, so I think that that situation, you’re going to come up with ways to cope. We came up with very healthy ways to be around each other. There was a lot of allowing people to express themselves.

Jim Donovan:    Right, and listen and take the time to do that.

Jenn Wertz:        So, that’s what we were doing.

Jim Donovan:    Now, we’re years away from that on another place, in another time, still talking with each other, still chatting on the phone.

Jenn Wertz:        I know it’s crazy, but you recently played on my record.

Jim Donovan:    It’s true.

Jenn Wertz:        That was a powerful healing experience for me-

Jim Donovan:    Yeah. For me, too.

Jenn Wertz:        … to be able to work with you in a creative capacity and a healthier, more mature, more realized space for both of us.

Jim Donovan:    It was beautiful.

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah. Thank you for doing it.

Jim Donovan:    Yeah. My God! It was an honor. I was really glad to do that. I’m sure you remember this when things started to get a little bit bigger for us, even when it was on the smaller scale in the earlier ’90s, we would have people that would come up after shows expressing that they had some sort of catharsis. Maybe they cried or they had some experience that could explain very well, but they know that something had happened. I wonder, what do you think it was? What was it about the show or the music that let audience members experience themselves in that deep of a way?

Jenn Wertz:        Gosh! That’s a heavy question with some heavy answers.

Jim Donovan:    Yeah, because I wonder about this a lot.

Jenn Wertz:        I mean, I don’t know. Sometimes I say, “Should I show my butt?” Because what my butt is in this situation is that I’m a total energy freak, and I believe, and I live, and I see life in terms of energy and how it works together as you do, I know. So, I think that we actually we’re practicing a form of alchemy, and I think it had to do with the literal energies of the people that were involved in the first six of us and then when Jim Di Spirito came in. He did not mess up our chemistry.

Jim Donovan:    No. It was good chemistry with him, too.

Jenn Wertz:        So, there was something that would happen, and I know you remember this that we would … There was something cathartic for us in those rehearsal spaces, okay? So, we would go in with a skeleton of a song, and then we would wrestle the structure out of it with Michael and the rest of us. Then it was like we would just play the song until the song started playing us, and we knew that moment when the song was playing us. Then I just remember it was always a moment where we would all look around, and some people would be laughing through playing at that moment. It was ecstatic.

Jenn Wertz:        So, we would then, because of that earnestness we talked about earlier, there wasn’t a lot of self-consciousness about being on stage and playing. We were there to do this thing that we were doing, more so than posing as rock stars.

Jim Donovan:    I didn’t have the language for it then, but I recognize that it felt like a mission at the time.

Jenn Wertz:        Absolutely.

Jim Donovan:    Like a mission that was to create a space for things to happen. Even though we might not have known what those things were, it felt sacred in a way.

Jenn Wertz:        Well, it was very sacred. There were times when it could be overwhelming on stage to perform in that capacity because it was a channeling and that’s a heavy thing to say, but with the people that were there in the first five years of that experience know what I’m talking about because they did have that experience, but also some of them are nervous to say this.

Jim Donovan:    You just said it.

Jenn Wertz:        I always thought that we had some past lives’ work that we were doing, and we reconvened.

Jim Donovan:    Highly possible.

Jenn Wertz:        Because there was just a knowing energy between us that I remember so many times being on stage in front of hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of people, and Michael decided to throw a new part into the song, which he did, sometimes do or it would just take on a mind of its own, and we were following the song, and we would all be looking around a little bit sheepishly not sure where it was going, and then it would all lock in. That moment was what we were trying to get to the whole time, and the audience came with us.

Jim Donovan:    Yeah. That lucidness, where we’re playing with fury, but also open enough to let the thing happen and not try to control the thing.

Jenn Wertz:        That’s what it is.

Jim Donovan:    That was the, I know for me, the line which was learning, “Oh, wait. If I try to control it, that good thing, whatever that thing is, doesn’t happen. I have to back out of my head.”

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah. I think there’s an excellent mix of trained musicians and ear musicians in the band, which also contributed to that.

Jim Donovan:    I think you’re right. I don’t think that if we were all trained the same way that it would have been the same.

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah, because those rules could get in the way.

Jim Donovan:    It’s so easy for them to get in the way, but to have people who were looking at it from a different way, it gave it balance. The team was balanced.

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah. It was exciting. I mean, it was always great. The best times for me with Rusted Root were on stage, for sure. There’s a bonding with the audience that I’ve only ever seen in Grateful Dead shows. I don’t follow Phish or some of the other bands along those lines, but my experience of that energy was only ever experienced at a Grateful Dead show.

Jim Donovan:    Yeah. Just so grateful. I still think back on the experiences and it’s almost taken this long for me to realize what it was. I think I’ve needed a decade or so to not be in it and look back and go, “Oh, wow! Look at what happened.” Because when it’s happening, it’s happening so fast that there’s always some other new thing that has to be done in the moment. There’s not very much time to process the experience, and even having the conversations with you that we’ve had up to this point and today is another level of that.

Jenn Wertz:        Right, because it’s hard to process because you were there, you were it. It’s like it’s your tail. It’s attached to you.

Jim Donovan:    It hard to observe.

Jenn Wertz:        So, yeah, I totally feel that same way, but time does help. Then also, kids help. My son helps when he asks me about it, and I understand what he wants to know. So, it’s easy for me to put it in to terms that he can understand, and it’s exciting to tell him the stories.

Jim Donovan:    Yeah, because it’s a way to both relive the story and to also understand it from a different perspective, for me, without an emotional charge of wishing I was still doing it or pining over what it could have been and wasn’t, all the thoughts that I have about that. It’s nice to be able just to pull back and go, “Look at how beautiful this was.” I’m very, very fortunate.

Jenn Wertz:        Well, yeah, because with all that beauty and all that wonderful stuff that we were so fortunate when you think about that in the 19, we were in the last great white buffalo of the music industry. That’s where you got a record deal, and they gave you butt load of money upfront, and then you used it, and then you got a really bad loan deal, and you had to pay it back for the rest of your life until … I mean, that’s so literally one in a million that we experience that.

Jenn Wertz:        We also have some baggage. I walked away from it a little bit scarred because over the years, all of our honesty and all of our trust and all of that stuff just as with any family or any group dynamic that went through some challenges.

Jim Donovan:    Yeah. It was unwinding. I know for me it was unwinding identity because I came out of my teens into Rusted Root, and I became something finally, and I prided myself being that drummer from Rusted Root. I attached it to my name. It was who I believed I was. It’s how I dressed. I never dressed up because I was a drummer from Rusted Root, and I didn’t need to. I can wear cut-off shorts whenever I want, right?

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah.

Jim Donovan:    Then coming out of it, the day after I leave, and that’s not there anymore, that was a lot of depression and unwinding because I didn’t know what I was. I had no clue what I was supposed to do.

Jenn Wertz:        I mean, you’re bringing up, and you’re touching on a couple of different things. I mean, I had a different experience because I left for a few years in the interim.

Jim Donovan:    You did, yeah.

Jenn Wertz:        I learned pretty early on from the rest of the band that there are no backstage passes at home. You don’t get a backstage pass with your family or with your loved one. So, there’s an insular experience, too, touring for a long, long time at a high level-

Jim Donovan:    Not natural.

Jenn Wertz:        … where literally everywhere you go, the people who are where you go, their job is to know who you are.

Jim Donovan:    Right.

Jenn Wertz:        There’s somebody who actually facilitates you getting food, sometimes getting sleep, and pretty much just anything else that you need. There is actually a person there that’s a runner that will run and go get you what you want in that moment. That is something that could set you up for a little bit of narcissism. That could set you up for a little bit of don’t you know who I think I am syndrome. Then when you come home, you realize there is no runner. You have to … So, there’s a reality check. I think it takes a little bit of a maintenance, but like you said, I mean, there’s an opportunity for rediscovery of yourself.

Jim Donovan:    That was the next gift was realizing that had I not gotten out, I wouldn’t have become who I’ve become. I wouldn’t have learned to teach. I wouldn’t have learned to write songs and sing and all the different things. I talk about this sometimes and I say that the thing I had to do was leave the thing that I had dreamt of my entire life. I had to go from it and progress to the next step.

Jim Donovan:    In my young mind, I didn’t prepare for that eventuality. I just thought, “Oh, right. We got it. This is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. Maybe I’ll retire in Hawaii, and that will be nice.”

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah, and identity wise as well. You settle in and say, “Well, I don’t have to work too hard, I guess.”

Jim Donovan:    “This is pretty easy.”

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah. Again, I got that wakeup call pretty early on when the tour bus pulled away and I was still at home.

Jim Donovan:    That is tough.

Jenn Wertz:        That was hard, but I’m grateful. I’m very grateful for that. I had to remember how to carry my own gear, sometimes do my own sound. I enjoyed it, actually. So, what a rich experience, Rusted Root in general.

Jim Donovan:    Yeah. I think we’ve got PhDs in Rusted Root.

Jim Donovan:    Why don’t we pivot to your creative process? Now, a lot of people don’t know this, but Jenn is an amazing painter. The first time I saw your work it was in a gallery. It was over maybe in Shadyside.

Jenn Wertz:        Shadyside.

Jim Donovan:    You had a show there.

Jenn Wertz:        Yes.

Jim Donovan:    I knew that you drew, and I knew that you made things, but when I saw these works, I was just like, “You did this?” They’re magnificent. When you create, whether you’re painting or you’re doing a song, are there any certain times where ideas show up more than others?

Jenn Wertz:        Yes. Always at the least opportune moment is when you get the biggest inspiration. No. There’s two people that I think I’ve heard in interviews, their stories talk about this. One is Tom Waits, and one is Keith Richards. Both of them discuss the muse is not something that you sit with. The muse is everybody’s and it’s floating around, and if you are sitting there with a guitar, it’s going to land on you instead of the other guy.

Jenn Wertz:        So, Keith would say, “So, you better be playing everyday and keep that track running.” So, if you keep the track of being musically creative running, those ideas are going to land on you because you’re processing them through that lens all the time.

Jim Donovan:    That makes sense. You’re putting yourself in that vibration or in that space.

Jenn Wertz:        Exactly. You tune in to that radio dial where that lives. Tom Hank or Tom Hanks, gosh! I’m so sorry. I’m going to start that over.

Jim Donovan:    I bet Tom Hanks does it, too.

Jenn Wertz:        Tom Hanks does something, but Tom Waits put it differently. He said, and this was from back before cellphones again. He said, “It’s always like a song is chasing you down in your convertible on the highway.” When you don’t have a piano, and you don’t have a tape recorder, and you’re speeding to the nearest place where you could find a pen and write down because you just wrote the best song that’s ever been written, and it’s going to be gone in 30 seconds.

Jenn Wertz:        So, I see it that way. I feel like they’re always there, inspiration or songs, and I become infected with them in a way that almost feels manic. So, whenever I get on to painting a certain series of imagery, I can’t stop doing that until I’ve cuffed that entire hairball up. I want to get all of that out. It’s probably not that easy to live with. There are times when I would be up all night for a couple of days because I’m so, “Oh, I’m driven mad by it.”

Jenn Wertz:        The thing is I love it. There’s no better space for me. I feel so alive when I’m in the midst of being driven insane by a creative idea, whether it’s a video or a song, and in the case of the recent album, I had a lot of time in my hands, and I was listening through some old cassette tapes. I found cassette tapes in the basement.

Jenn Wertz:        I thought, “Oh, look.” I actually plugged a cassette player into my iPad, and they recorded into my iPad.

Jim Donovan:    You can do that?

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah, and it became mp3s. So, then I was driving around. I was listening to them, and it would be literally from 1997, a little guitar that I decided needed to be remembered. It would be just one little riff.

Jim Donovan:    Wow!

Jenn Wertz:        I’d listen to them and I was like, “Ooh, I got to remember that one.” Then I put all the good ones on one mp3 list, and then I sat down with my guitar, and I became absolutely obsessed with finishing these songs that were literally started by what I considered a dewdrop from the past. It was like the future me-

Jim Donovan:    A tiny seed.

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah, and also timeless because I swear to God, the songs are already written and it’s just a matter of uncovering them over time.

Jim Donovan:    Wow! Like keys almost.

Jenn Wertz:        Yes. Yes. They’re already there.

Jim Donovan:    When you’re creating, I know you described this that there can be a manic-ness about it because it’s wonderful to be in that spot. What else does that help you with? When you’re in the act of creating or after you’ve just finished something, how does it affect you physically or mentally if you could describe it at all?

Jenn Wertz:        Well, I figured something out a long time ago. A long time ago in the mid ’90s, I took a break from Rusted Root for a few years. During that time, I started to write and play my own music, and I was in my own band, and I was fronting the band. I had a traumatic experience again, which brought back some other feelings of trauma from my childhood and from when I was in Los Angeles.

Jenn Wertz:        So, there’s some healing that needs to be done, but this was a new, fresh, different kind of thing. What I came out of it with was basically panic disorder.

Jim Donovan:    Oh, geez!

Jenn Wertz:        So, I had panic attacks everyday all day long. While I learned how to contain them and while I learned how to count them down, when you have a panic attack, the most important thing to remember is your adrenaline only lasts 3.5 minutes, and if you can wait out 3.5 minutes without having another catastrophic thought or fright, the panic has a halfway. It just runs out.

Jim Donovan:    Right. The chemical burns itself out.

Jenn Wertz:        Exactly right. Just like when you nearly hit a car and then you get … Your whole body does that rushing around thing, and then it calms down. That would happen, but with panic disorder, what happens is it keeps going and going.

Jim Donovan:    It keeps firing.

Jenn Wertz:        Yes. It keeps firing. So, while I was learning these techniques and how to calm that back tension, to narrow down your thinking and just allow your body to have that feeling, I would have to still go and perform. It was a challenge for me. It was very difficult. I had a whole summer of gigs, and I was fully panicking everyday all day.

Jim Donovan:    Oh, boy!

Jenn Wertz:        What I learned pretty quickly on that first gig, scared to death, about to go on stage, thinking I’m going to not be able to sing, I can’t even have control over my body. Well, I got up on stage and Joey, our drummer, counted us off and started to play, and all the panic left my body.

Jim Donovan:    Wow!

Jenn Wertz:        So, for the three minutes I was in the act of singing and playing, that song was the only respite I had from that severe, just being stricken-

Jim Donovan:    Debilitating.

Jenn Wertz:        … with panic. Right. So, that was a major light bulb in life. That manic space of creating and that grounding, anchoring space of performing where you have to be in your body, you have to be connected to your voice, your hands. You have to be in the moment or the song doesn’t go. It’s like you can’t cry and eat. My grandmother used to say that. She would give you food and say, “Well, you can’t cry and eat.” So, when you start eating-

Jim Donovan:    I love her. That’s good.

Jenn Wertz:        … you know how little kids, toddlers, they’ll be crying hysterically and you give them some grapes, and then everything … They can’t cry and eat at the same time.

Jim Donovan:    I’m laughing because I’ve done it so many times.

Jenn Wertz:        Right. So, it’s like that. You can’t have panic when you are or you’re having it, but it’s not driving your body. You’re in that action actually claiming the anchor, you are the one who is … So, this really was a window to me gaining a little bit of footing back into my own physio[logical] control over that adrenaline.

Jim Donovan:    Because to do that front role, which I’m still pretty new at, I’m maybe five or six years into it, there are so many processes that happen.

Jenn Wertz:        You mean being a front person. Yes.

Jim Donovan:    Being a front person, singing and playing a guitar. For me, I have a pedal board, and there’s all these things that I’ve never had to do before. I wouldn’t have any time to panic. Although I’ve been nervous, but I hear what you’re saying. That makes sense.

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah. The song doesn’t go if you don’t do it. So, it’s like parenting. You just do it. You might be tired, but you-

Jim Donovan:    It’s on. Here’s what’s happening right now.

Jenn Wertz:        This person is alive now, and they need you now. So, just get out of bed.

Jim Donovan:    Exactly.

Jenn Wertz:        It’s like that.

Jim Donovan:    That makes sense.

Jenn Wertz:        I learned that early at that time, and a lot of different disciplines helped me to overcome panic disorder. I don’t have panic attacks anymore.

Jim Donovan:    Oh, that’s so good.

Jenn Wertz:        I still suffer sometimes. I get very, very heavy seasonal affective disorder just right around this time of year when the light-

Jim Donovan:    Sure, the light changes.

Jenn Wertz:        … changes. It’s beautiful, but it’s very difficult for people like me. That is connected to anxiety. So, what I do is if I’m not working on something creative, I’m bound to become clinically depressed. It’s almost like nobody’s guarding the henhouse, and that creeps in there. When I’m working on something-

Jim Donovan:    That makes sense.

Jenn Wertz:        … and I’m in that space where I’m driven, maybe even kept up at night by something, it keeps me from becoming overwhelmed by feelings. Clinically speaking, it literally, I think, generates serotonin.

Jim Donovan:    Oh, for sure.

Jenn Wertz:        Psychologically speaking, just like in terms of it keeps me doing something, and that is-

Jim Donovan:    Because if you’re thinking about a song, if you’re thinking about a lyric or if you’re thinking about, “How can I get this sunset color?” I’m not thinking about my sadness.

Jenn Wertz:        No. It can be part of expressing your sadness. So, the sadness isn’t stagnant, and depression isn’t just sadness. Depression, clinical depression is, well, it’s a brain imbalance, but also it’s about some—it can be anger, it can be all kinds of different things underneath there, fear, helplessness or whatever it is for different people.

Jim Donovan:    You’re in action.

Jenn Wertz:        Being in the action and then also if you can bring some of that sadness into your process, give it a voice, give it a place to be. So, that’s the main thing that being creative does for me. Honestly, I wouldn’t be here without it. It has saved my life. That’s maybe two times in particular I can think when it really pulled me out from the depths.

Jim Donovan:    Now that you know you’ve got this ace in the hole here, do you preemptively plan November, December, January, February is project time?

Jenn Wertz:        No. It has a mind of its own. I don’t plan anything. I don’t plan anything. I try to be creative in everyday, whether it’s in my interacting with people. When I started to get clinical depressed, I’ll talk a little bit longer to the guy at the bodega in my neighborhood, and find a funny way to make him laugh every day.

Jim Donovan:    Cool. That’s creative.

Jenn Wertz:        This is creative. I mean, literally, just stay creative. You have a phone in your pocket. Find something to photograph everywhere you go that’s beautiful.

Jim Donovan:    Nice.

Jenn Wertz:        I mean, this is going to keep you in a creative mindset. Creativity begets creativity. It all feeds each other. You’re expanding this and all the synapses are firing off and feeding into one another. Yeah. I mean, maybe you might still get depressed or anxious, but it’s driven with this completion in mind, “I want to complete something. I want to pull something out.”

Jenn Wertz:        I mean, when you asked if there’s a project that I would, I mean, one day I just decide I have to make a music video for one of my songs, and then it’s a project, but it’s like I’m going to make a set. I have to find a place. I want this type of image. It was Mary. I want it to be rolling around in the sky, but I don’t know how to do digital video. So, I actually bought a giant skyscape.

Jim Donovan:    You bought the sky.

Jenn Wertz:        I mean, giant as big as this room, and we found a warehouse space, and a crane, a forklift, and we photographed with iPhones, me rolling around in that skyscape, and that was an undertaking, and it took a lot of planning.

Jim Donovan:    Right. What I’m hearing you say is that it isn’t so much a plan as it is…It’s a daily mindset-

Jenn Wertz:        It’s a daily mindset, for sure.

Jim Donovan:    … that, “I make things not necessarily that everyone has to see everything that I make, but that I make it because the making really helps me to feel good.”

Jenn Wertz:        Honestly, I don’t know. Sometimes I’ll talk to my son and I’ll think, “Oh, gosh! I could have gone to college. I could be doing something that would give me a great deal of financial security, job security.” I don’t really have that as a creative musician now. You know and anybody listening who has a creative job or a job in the arts knows this is not a great time to be paying your mortgage being creative-

Jim Donovan:    It’s true. It’s true.

Jenn Wertz:        … because everything is free to the general public, intellectual property, all that stuff. So, for me, it’s like, and sometimes we’ll discuss it. I don’t regret one thing about choosing a creative life. I love to paint. I love to take photographs everywhere I go. I love to think about interacting with people. I recently had. That doesn’t mean I don’t have jobby jobs because I have to have jobby jobs.

Jim Donovan:    Sure, a job that fill the tank with gas.

Jenn Wertz:        Yes. Here’s a great example. A couple of years back, I did lose a job that I had, and I thought, “Oh, gosh! I’m going to have to get a job, and it’s something maybe that I don’t love.” I would feel very trapped by that. Everybody feels that way. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get something that I can stay happy doing, and have that feeling of being trapped in a job.

Jenn Wertz:        I thought, “You know what? I do that I love.” I shop at thrift stores. I headhunt high-end fashion items and vintage fashion. I’ve done that my entire life as you know.

Jim Donovan:    I’ve known, yeah, forever.

Jenn Wertz:        It’s a great joy for me to do that, and I’m really good at it.

Jim Donovan:    Yes.

Jenn Wertz:        Two years ago, I thought, “Okay. I don’t know what I’m going to do,” and I thought, “Well, I could sell some of the clothes that I find. Maybe I’ll start doing an eBay thing.” So, I opened a store, but I couldn’t figure out how to sell it properly. So, I did a little set up where I do the photographing and I model the clothing, and I style them, and try to make them. So, that’s a creative outlet for me. I absolutely love it.

Jim Donovan:    You’re mixing in your work with the creative.

Jenn Wertz:        It’s my main job right now.

Jim Donovan:    Wow!

Jenn Wertz:        It’s where I get the main income in my life.

Jim Donovan:    That’s cool.

Jenn Wertz:        I love doing it, and I’m also driven to do that. I get driven. If I see something, something that inspires me fashion-wise, I’ll try to recreate it or go find it.

Jim Donovan:    It’s still design.

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah. It’s absolutely. I absolutely love it. So, yeah. If it’s writing, music, art, expressing yourself on Instagram, making people laugh, whatever it is, you’ve got to keep being creative and keep the synapses moving in that way. It’s satisfying to your brain and it keeps you happier. That’s my take.

Jim Donovan:    It does, and I think that … It’s so, so funny. I just read an article about this this morning about bringing creativity into life for no other reason than just to make things for yourself because if I take a photo of… There’s a guitar case in the studio that we’re in. If I took a photo of this guitar case, there’s a million different ways that I could shoot it. I could shoot the light on the top. I could just shoot the texture.

Jim Donovan:    In looking at all these different angles, I’m causing my perception to shift and change, and I’m building a new awareness about that visual piece right there just because I’m allowing myself to be in a different kind of mindset. I don’t just see it as a guitar case. I see it as the latch and the light on the top and the shadows around it. I’m not even a photographer, right?

Jenn Wertz:        No, but you are an artist and a creator, and it all connects together. It’s how you-

Jim Donovan:    It all connects together.

Jenn Wertz:        … see things. You left Rusted Root in 2005?

Jim Donovan:    Yeah, 2005.

Jenn Wertz:        Okay. I left in 2007, and that was the last time that I was a member of the band. Then you had that letdown that we discussed, where you come home off the road, and you’re like, “Gosh! Who am I? What am I going to do now?” Well, I had a two-year-old in the house, and I was in a dark time. Things were rough. That transition was rough. There were other circumstances in my life that made it difficult. Being a parent, I was a single parent, so that was extremely isolating sometimes.

Jim Donovan:    I bet.

Jenn Wertz:        Man, did I miss playing music. I missed expressing myself, but I couldn’t … Darn it! I couldn’t make music in the house because the kid had trouble sleeping, and I wasn’t about to start plucking on a guitar. You know what I’m saying?

Jim Donovan:    Yeah.

Jenn Wertz:        So, you know when you have little ones, the time that you do what you want to do is after they fall asleep. I couldn’t make music. So, that’s whenever I took my little one to the park and started taking photographs. I took abstract photographs of trees. I took abstract photographs of brush. I’d find some burlap hanging from a tree in the woods, and just photograph 50 pictures of that with the light coming through it in different ways.

Jenn Wertz:        I didn’t know why, but I just wanted to do that, and my little boy was like, “Why are you doing that?” So, over a couple of weeks, I was going crazy at home. I was going crazy not being on the road. I was going crazy not playing music or writing music. So, I started scrolling through those images, and I started to see faces in those images.

Jim Donovan:    Oh, wow!

Jenn Wertz:        I started to see people and I became absolutely obsessed, printed them out on the printer. He’s in the bed. It’s a quiet thing to do. I got his crayons. I’m coloring into the printed pictures what I see.

Jim Donovan:    Wow!

Jenn Wertz:        I’m coloring them. Pretty soon, the entire mantle wall of the house is covered with these crayon-colored pictures on top of abstract photographs of strange things in the woods. Well, I just went and got some canvasses, and started to paint those paintings. That was my first art show.

Jim Donovan:    So, those were your studies.

Jenn Wertz:        Those were my studies.

Jim Donovan:    Wow! What a cool story.

Jenn Wertz:        I still use some of those studies to this day to work from into a larger piece of art because they were extremely powerfully inspired in my opinion. They came … I really wasn’t a painter.

Jim Donovan:    You’re just following your nose.

Jenn Wertz:        I didn’t know how I was going to execute that, but had to do it. That’s the best feeling in the world. I have to create this.

Jim Donovan:    Now, have you ever photographed your studies and your work side-by-side?

Jenn Wertz:        Oh, yeah. Well, that’s another process going from a thumbnail or a demo to the process of going from the small idea to the larger execution is a wonderful journey.

Jim Donovan:    Yeah. I’m in love with it.

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah. You have to flush out the ideas. You have to really explore it at a deeper level. Make sure the things that might have been a weak part of the image or a weak part of the song, and each of these cases really, it doesn’t hold up in the larger work. So, you have to really flush out your ideas and make sure that they’re strong and work the problem, work the problem, work the problem. I love that.

Jim Donovan:    It’s humbling.

Jenn Wertz:        I love it.

Jim Donovan:    There’ll be this one part. I get in love with my bridges. I love my bridges. So, I’ll my trick myself into thinking that because the bridge is so good that the rest of the song is great only to find when I get halfway through the process, “Oh, man! I really need to work the melody and the first two verses before this bridge can happen.”

Jenn Wertz:        Right, because-

Jim Donovan:    Like you said, it falls apart until you really spend time with it like you with a little kid.

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah. You have to level up. Well, how about whenever I was painting these forest fires, and this a funny story. Am I allowed to talk about somebody on the podcast?

Jim Donovan:    Okay.

Jenn Wertz:        I’m going to talk about somebody.

Jim Donovan:    Okay.

Jenn Wertz:        It’s in positive way. I had done these paintings of the light from my new home as I told you earlier. There were certain colors, and they were going to be these forest fires. I painted them, and one of them was so far above my technique level that I did not know how I achieved it. I was absolutely blown away by it.

Jenn Wertz:        I posted it up on Facebook, and people were like, “Oh, my goodness! Oh, my! Wow! That’s very good. Did you paint that?”

Jim Donovan:    “Did you get some help with this, Jenn? What happened?”

Jenn Wertz:        I was like, “Yeah, I mean, I did.” Chuck Olsen, who as you know is a brilliant artist-

Jim Donovan:    We’re going to have him on the show. He’s amazing, great friend of ours.

Jenn Wertz:        Everybody was like, “That’s very pretty.” Then he posted this comment that was like, “I feel a strong struggle of … There’s an unwillingness to surrender and at the same time, there’s another element on the other side.” It was this deep, deep, very, very intense-

Jim Donovan:    That was definitely a Chuck comment, yeah.

Jenn Wertz:        … translation of what I was expressing through this. I was like, “Well, actually, I mean, it’s just the woods burning.” I thought, and he was like, “This is really, really good work.” I just thought, “Well, shoot! Now, I’m going to have to level up and start meaning that work because-“

Jim Donovan:    Because that’s where you are now.

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah. So, I love that process of challenging yourself.

Jim Donovan:    That’s the whole thing. I keep this idea in my mind like if I’m lucky enough to get to experience my last day here on the planet, if I’m lucid, I hope that I am, I want to be able to look back and go, “I really didn’t leave any stone unturned.” I want that to be some of the last thoughts because otherwise, what are we doing here? What is this if we don’t allow ourselves to turn over all the rocks and see what’s there? We’re here, let’s do it. We won’t always be here.

Jenn Wertz:        How do you feel about performing now? Do you still feel driven to do it?

Jim Donovan:    Performing, especially after I had all these surgeries this past year, has become even more important because it’s the one place where I can have my own catharsis and move a lot of the hurt energy that came from that time. It was a pretty tough time.

Jenn Wertz:        It was a tough time.

Jim Donovan:    I don’t even understand still to this day because I’m still partially in the healing process, how much hurt is there, anger, sadness, grief, but I discover it when I’m performing. I discover these giant rushes and the surges of energy that will come out singing or just being on the stage, and I’m so fortunate because I’ve got another group of people that get it and are there for it, and really are solid in the holding space if I’ve got to be doing some of that live in front of people.

Jim Donovan:    I’m at that point now where it’s okay. I don’t mind emoting. I don’t mind things not being perfect. All I want is just to feel free of heaviness. So, to answer your question, I’m driven to do that because it heals me.

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah. I still feel very driven to perform, and I still get a great deal of anxiety beforehand. I get very nervous. I get very excited, but then once in the experience of it, it’s like cleaning a pipe. There’s a lot of crud in here. I want to make sure I get every corner of it.

Jim Donovan:    Very much.

Jenn Wertz:        I see that vocally also, especially, chakra-wise, that there could be some blockage or closure in this energy center of your body, and having an especially good vocal performance will improve your health. You know what I’m saying?

Jim Donovan:    Yeah. I know I feel so much better.

Jenn Wertz:        There’s a vitality that you get out of that physical expression of music. It’s grounding, it’s expansive. Yeah. So, I’m still working on it. I don’t think that I’ve really ever met my potential as a performer. I don’t think I’ve even come close. I’m still looking for the iterations. How do I be the best me as a performer? I did a great job as a backup singer with Rusted Root, but I never quite found how to best be the front person. I’m very happy with the band that I’m working with right now.

Jim Donovan:    Your band is solid.

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah.

Jim Donovan:    It’s such a great sounding band. If you’re ever in the Pittsburgh area, listeners out there, you got to check Jenn’s band out. Jenn Wertz band, right?

Jenn Wertz:        Yes. I get very … I want to keep having an expansive experience performing. So, that’s another striving for creativity. It’s a different type of creativity. It’s a physical thing. It’s performing. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s so hard to explain.

Jim Donovan:    Yeah. Well, you stand there and you’re singing these things you brought into existence, and connecting with emotion, and trying to bring that emotion through to the listener. Whatever they do it, who knows? Then you’re also … We’re in a similar position, where we’ve got a group of people who’ve come around us, who are supporting us, where we were always in the support roles, and now we’re trying on the other hat. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, but I’ve gotten so much more compassionate and understanding for our old lead singer Mike.

Jenn Wertz:        Oh, yeah, of course. Absolutely.

Jim Donovan:    After being in these shoes, it’s like, “Whoa! It’s a lot to hold.”

Jenn Wertz:        It’s a lot to hold. There are a number of different ways to lead a group of people. There are a number of different ways to work with people.

Jim Donovan:    Exactly.

Jenn Wertz:        If you’re the leader, you’re going to take on most of the responsibility for the good stuff, and then also when things go wrong.

Jim Donovan:    Exactly.

Jenn Wertz:        So, be prepared for that.

Jim Donovan:    Yup. There’s that.

Jenn Wertz:        So, that’s coming at you.

Jim Donovan:    There’s that part.

Jenn Wertz:        I just want to have an expansive experience performing. That’s my goal.

Jim Donovan:    Yeah. I keep saying, we’re here now, let’s just do it. What I love about this whole conversation is just this idea of a mindset of we make things because we do. We make them because we want to, and some of them, we’re in a position because we’ve been professional musicians where people will see it and they’ll hear it, and they’ll buy it maybe, and they’ll come to see a show or they’ll come to see a gallery show with your artwork, and there’s things like my photographs of flowers in the woods or some of the things that you talked about that aren’t for anybody or anything but us just because we know, and this is the thing I want the listeners to hear, is that making things is your birthright.

Jim Donovan:    You don’t have to be a creative, you don’t have to be great or even remotely good at it for it to give you benefit. It’s just let yourself try it out. Let yourself do it, and like anything, the more that you do it, the more refined it will get. Beyond the refinement is just happiness. We’re creative. If you think about what we do here on the planet, if you look at all the things in our surroundings, wherever you are right now, each one of them was an idea at some point. Somebody had to take time on a piece of paper and draw the idea, and talk to people, and take action, but all of a sudden, all these ideas became real, and you’re surrounded by them right now. So, it’s what we do.

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah, especially if it part of who you are to be a creative, I think very dangerous to stifle that because the energetic blockage that creates will turn into illness, potentially.

Jim Donovan:    I think doing that would be similar to having to cry and shoving it back.

Jenn Wertz:        Oh, yeah. I always say have a mini cry.

Jim Donovan:    Have a mini cry?

Jenn Wertz:        Mini cries. One of the things that I tell-

Jim Donovan:    I’ve never heard that. I love it.

Jenn Wertz:        My son … Well, no, mini cry means if you have a lot to process, I learned this a long time ago.

Jim Donovan:    This is a good one.

Jenn Wertz:        It’s one of my best things in my life.

Jim Donovan:    This is a good one. Listen close, people.

Jenn Wertz:        This is very important. You don’t have to cry all day. Set an alarm. Cry, then get up, and do your freaking dishes, and take your trash out, and get on with life. Then tomorrow, you can have another mini cry, and set your alarm because it can’t be driving the car. You let it out, but … So, a lot of people can get very overwhelmed.

Jim Donovan:    Right. It’s the same way with creativity. If you don’t have four hours to devote to the thing, take the five minutes that you’ve got that you would check Facebook and go and do a creative thing.

Jenn Wertz:        Oh, my God! Yeah. I have, I think, it’s 15,000 photos on my phone.

Jim Donovan:    I bet you do. Well, hey, before we finish up, where can people connect with you?

Jenn Wertz:        I have a website, jennwertz.com.

Jim Donovan:    So, W-E-R-T-Z. Two Ns, right, in Jenn?

Jenn Wertz:        Two Ns, Jenn, J-E-N-N Wertz, W-E-R-T-Z.com. I have an Instagram, @jwertzy. That’s my last name with a Y on it.

Jim Donovan:    Love it.

Jenn Wertz:        My first initial and my last name with a Y, jwertzy.

Jim Donovan:    You can see some of these light photos, maybe.

Jenn Wertz:        Oh, you can see tons of stuff, yeah, on my Instagram. I have another Instagram. That’s sweet_threads_wertzy, and that is my fashion that I do.

Jim Donovan:    Oh, cool!

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah.

Jim Donovan:    Maybe we could put all these in the show notes, too, and that way you can come to the website and find all this in case you can’t remember all these things.

Jenn Wertz:        Yeah. Then, of course, there’s Facebook. So, everybody finds people on Facebook.

Jim Donovan:    Beautiful. Is there a place where your artwork is so people can see that or buy it?

Jenn Wertz:        That’s probably primarily going to be on Facebook, but you can find it.

Jim Donovan:    On Facebook, great. Come and see this work. It is remarkable.

Jenn Wertz:        Thanks.

Jim Donovan:    Jenn, thank you so much for taking the time. Maybe come back and we can have another conversation some other time.

Jenn Wertz:        Sure.

Jim Donovan:    We can do a Rolling Stone slash looking at the light on trees episode.

Jenn Wertz:        I’d love that.

Jim Donovan:    We could do it outside.

Jenn Wertz:        Oh, yeah. It’s the right time of year for light. That’s for sure.

Jim Donovan:    Yeah.

Jenn Wertz:        The lighting is very pretty.

Jim Donovan:    Yeah.

Jenn Wertz:        Well, thank you for having me.

Jim Donovan:    My pleasure. My pleasure. See you again.


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