Elizabeth Chats With…Jackie Juno

My guest this month is a writer, painter, performer, singer, radio presenter, comedian and celebrant who runs workshops in Devon and beyond, including writing and creative workshops and A Course in Goddesses. She is also Grand Bard of Exeter, a member of Chudleigh Writers’ Circle, a fellow Brummie – and a very funny woman. I am delighted to be chatting to Jackie Juno.

Hello Jackie. Thanks for dropping by. Can you start by telling is what was your favourite subject at school — and which was the lesson you always wanted to avoid?

My favourite subject at school was art, an artist was all I wanted to be; next favourite was English, I have always loved writing, even within the constraints of a rough comprehensive school in the 1970s.  Lessons I wished to avoid were many, but often because of the teachers rather than the subject. I was a terrible pupil during my last few rebellious years at senior school. My Mom recently found my school reports and I particularly loved one entry from the needlework teacher which said: “Jacquelyn is excellent at doing impressions. What a shame she does not apply that excellence to her needlecraft.”

If you had to escape from a fire, what three things would you take with you?

The three things I would take with me (presuming child, husband and cat were not inside!) would be my handbag for its contents of purse, phone (no smart phone this, my phone is a dumb phone and doesn’t even have the facility to take pictures let alone drift around on the internet, but it does have all my contact numbers held within it); the photograph albums on top of the bookshelf (these are all of my daughter Sapphire as a baby, in ye olde days before we got a computer. Since owning a computer, all photos are stored therein and hardly ever printed out); and probably my frame drum. I bought this when I was in Arizona, spent quite a bit of time there in the 90’s working with tribal elders. It is a Sioux hoop drum and I use it for ceremony and journeying.

Where is your favourite place on earth — and why?

My favourite place on earth is…oh no, can I have more than one? Hmmm… well the West Penwith peninsula probably fits the criteria. It is Britain’s most concentrated area for megalithic sacred sites. It is strewn with stone circles, holy wells, fogous, quoits and so forth. Sancreed Holy Well is a particular favourite. I also love Crete, and Taos, New Mexico, and Newgrange, Ireland. I’ll stop now. 

How do you relax?

I relax with the aid of massage, Merlot, candlelit bath, socialising with friends (not all at the same time, I hasten to add).

If you could change one law, what would it be?

If I could change one law then it would be to completely ban fracking anywhere!

If you could change one thing about yourself or your life so far, what would it be?

If I could change one thing about my life I guess it would be to suddenly NOT have both hips completely worn down by osteoarthritis. Oh for a magic wand! Oh for the perpetuation of the NHS!

What would be in your ‘Room 101’?

My room 101…ah let’s see…most of the mainstream media could go in there. And good riddance. Massive corporations who are ruling the world for profit to the detriment of the environment and the common people. Too big? OK, how about dog walkers who put dog poo in a plastic bag then chuck it around the countryside. Photographs of people’s dinners on Facebook. Sorry but I can’t keep away from the big stuff. Animal cruelty. Child abuse. Gender inequality. OK, OK…severe misuse of the apostrophe or confusing their with they’re and there.

Watch a film, go to the theatre, read a book or talk to friends — which would you prefer?

I love to do all those things… but you can’t beat live theatre. I don’t go very often due to financial constraints, so perhaps the rarity of it may add to the enjoyment.

Upload a picture or a photo that best represents you, and tell us why (and it doesn’t have to be a portrait, although it can be).

I have chosen this picture of me with an owl. I do love owls! I happened to be in a cafe in Totnes one day, dressed in my black and white finery, when in walked a man from the Rare Breeds Farm with this Norwegian Grey Owl on his arm. My eyes widened with excitement and my friend offered to take a picture of us together. She captured the moment well, I think. I have made it my profile pic on Facebook, and was interested to see the comedian Bill Bailey also change his profile pic to one of him posing with an owl. It is astonishingly similar to mine. He’s always copying me, that Bill Bailey.

What do you feel your mission is, the point of your existence upon this planet? 

To be creative, inspiring, helpful, thoughtful, to change negative past into positive future, to plant trees, wear ridiculous clothes, make better vegan cakes, and to make folk laugh.

You can find out more about Jackie at her website.

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By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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