AT SEVEN YEARS OLD Jan Bono knew she would grow-up to be an astronaut, the president of the United States, a writer, or a teacher. Recent cutbacks to the NASA Space Shuttle Program may dampen her astro-aspirations, but with thirty plus years of teaching experience, and numerous years writing newspaper columns, short stories, plays, and blogs, running for the U.S. presidency may be her next undertaking. Her ability to find humor in the human experience defines her writing, from the magic of being a fourth grader to the joys of the holiday season.
Bono retired from public school teaching in June of 2006. Not one to sit and wait for things to come her way, she threw herself into play writing when she discovered a local community theater was holding a one-act play writing contest. Having never written a play or performed in a play, she took on the research of play writing with great gusto. Bono describes herself as, “one of those people who jumps in and paddles around.” No sooner had she dived in than she came out with first and second place in the contest with her newly written plays to be produced on the stage.
“I got bitten bad! When I won, I said ‘You mean I did it right?’” That was the start of her play writing career which, to date, includes nine one-act plays and a dinner theater mystery play. “A Christmas Trilogy: Three Holiday One-Acts” from her newly released short story collection, It’s Christmas!, will be performed in December by the Peninsula Players in Ilwaco.
Teaching is a calling for Bono and she gleans much of her material from her school days, having in November 2009 published “Just Joshin’, A Year in the Life of a Not-so-ordinary 4th Grade Kid,” a 63-story collection of humorous classroom anecdotes. Her frequent contributions to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series highlight her nostalgic and heart-warming tale telling talents, which she has compiled into short story collections. “I find humor everywhere. That’s what I do, (write) short, humorous stories. There’s something to laugh at every single day.” For over 10 years, she wrote a bi-weekly personal experience column for the Chinook Observer, which became, Through My Looking Glass, a collection of those columns.
“I write snippets of life and hope people find it entertaining.” “Recognizing the humorous experience and knowing that it’s universal, that’s why I write.” Having once found inspiration in a conversation overheard at a farmer’s market, she was caught paperless and called her home phone to leave the idea on her voice mail. Though rarely found without pen and paper, she commonly makes note of family quirks and humorous situations; she is currently putting together a collection of phone conversations with her mother, a ‘Jan Linkletter’s’ Moms Say the Darnedest Things sort of thing.
Jan has written an every-odd-numbered-day blog for nearly 3 years, with over 525 entries. The topics are wide-ranging, mostly inspirational with a Norman Rockwell-ian quality to her homespun, humorous posts, which all aim to be a little thought-provoking. Bono would love to make writing her full-time occupation, and fancies the idea of her books someday sharing the shelves with Dave Barry, Tom Bodett, and Erma Bombeck. Always the teacher, Bono still finds herself teaching adult writing workshops and incorporates life coaching into her busy schedule to help other adults live their best life and polish their writing for publication. She has facilitated a local writer’s group for the past 5 years, emcees a monthly “Authors’ Showcase” at an Ilwaco coffee shop, and also runs an editing business, TMLG Editing and Critique. She is currently in search of an agent to publish her cozy mystery novel. With many more writing projects on the horizon, Jan Bono is not content to rest on her past accomplishments.
“What I like to do best is write nice stories that are PG-rated, that have redeeming value and the essence of the human experience.” Look for her in your neighborhood, promoting her new book, It’s Christmas!, detailing humorous memories from her favorite time of year!
It’s Christmas! is a 226-page collection of 48 personal experience stories and three one-act holiday plays. The three holiday one-act plays will be performed at the River City Playhouse, 127 Lake Street in Ilwaco from December 2-4, 9-11 with Friday and Saturday performances at 7 pm, and Sunday matinees at 2 pm. Books will be available for purchase at all performances, and may also be found for purchase on-line at janbonobooks.com.
Join Jan on December 8, Thursday at 7 pm for a reading and book signing of It’s Christmas! at KALA, the Hipfish Community Events Center on 1017 Marine Drive in Astoria. Happy Holidays-Shop Locally, Read Festively!