Interview: Juliet Varnedoe

Have you ever found yourself revisiting a particular dream more than once?

I think the dream visits me. I often dream about large bodies of water and diving into them…sort of like jumping into the unknown.

In your opinion, what is an essential life experience that every individual should undergo at least once?
Falling in love and losing it.

-What’s currently playing in your ears?
I just finished a project, so now my ears are wide open, which is a good place to be as a musician. It’s like the Duke Ellington quote: “There are two kinds of music – good music and the other kind.” So I am listening to a large spectrum of genres from Run-D.M.C to Puccini’s Tosca.

What is one book that changed your life?
Just one? Reading has been my favorite pastime for most of my life and I have tried to read most of the classics…but the book, surprisingly, that made me take action and changed my life was “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac. Right time, right tone for what I was seeking, which was an invitation to take chances and experience life unconventionally. I moved to California.

If we’re treating, what beverage would you choose?
Depending on the time of day it would be either a cocktail or a pot of tea.

Share with us a significant dinner memory that stands out for you. When I was living in San Francisco, I rented a large Victorian flat right over Bruno’s which was being remodeled into a dinner jazz club. It had plush red booths and the menu had oxtails, fried blue crabs, cheese plates, oyster platters, dessert towers. I enjoyed many outstanding dinners filled with music and friends in that place.

Can you recount a challenging work experience that you consider to be the least enjoyable?
Anything involving answering the phone, filing, and reporting to a boss, which I did when I first moved to San Francisco, made me feel my life was at a stand still. Waitressing was the first job I got fired from.

Reflect on the day that brought you the most joy in your life.
I experience joy from many small things within the course of days, so I can’t just pin that feeling down to one extraordinary day. I get joy from seeing people being kind or having the opportunity to be kind. I also get joy from all types of beauty.

If you had the chance to jet off anywhere right now, where would your destination be?
April in Paris.

Who holds the title of your favorite fictional hero?
When I was little it was the whole Narnia gang. Now I like the darker anti hero characters, like in Raymond Carver novels. I am also fascinated with Flannery O’Conner’s characters and how they reveal their darkness.

How would you like people to remember you?
As someone who never stopped following her muse.

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