Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast #35:
A Year in the Life of Nancy, a.k.a. Journey Woman

h1 July 9th, 2007 by Eisha and Jules

This interview with Nancy R. Kienzler, a.k.a. Journey Woman, is another great example of why we love this blogger interview series: You get to learn things about some of your favorite bloggers that you may have never guessed. In this case, who knew that the market researcher calling you on the phone after you have just sat down to dinner is passionate about poetry and blogs about it daily?

And what great timing we seem to have at 7-Imp to have decided to feature Nancy one day after her one-year blogiversary. We had no idea it was July 8 (and one day after we celebrated ours), but we’re pleased the timing worked out that way. Happy blogversary to Journey Woman! Be sure to go read her blogversary post, because she’s having a Lives in Letters Contest to celebrate.

And, speaking of that post, it almost serves as the perfect introduction to this interview you’re reading. She runs down all the highlights of her first year of blogging and all the things about Journey Woman that make it worth your time to visit (by the way, read here and here if you’ve ever wondered about her blog’s title). Here are seven of her blog’s regular features, though Nancy is quick to add, “‘regular’ is a relative term.” Yes, of course, seven. Let’s call it . . .

Seven Impossible Reasons It’s Worth Visiting Journey Woman:

  1. Nancy’s personal favorite feature is Lives in Letters (featured on Mondays), in which she shares old postcards she finds, “because it feels like story-telling. Generally I use old postcards that I find in antique shops and flea markets. I look for the cards with great messages, and on the blog I try to put the message in historical and geographical context to make the story between the sender and the recipient come to life.” Here’s one great example of the Lives in Letters series: Postcard from a Nun, circa 1933.
  2. Words on Wednesday -– “Most Wednesdays I try to find links or create my own posts related to my love of words. These might be word games, puzzles, silly words, strange words, or word resources.” Nancy shares word sites she stumbles upon; musings on the ever-so mysterious “good word”; good word puzzles, such as tanga and rebus puzzles; word trivia; and so much more.
  3. Quote of the Day — This is a feature that Nancy dropped earlier this year. “It turned out to be tremendous work to gather the quotes and pictures,” she told us, “and I just ran out of time. I loved it when I was doing it though, so lately have been thinking of reviving it. Maybe I’ll do quote of the week . . .” Here’s an example of one from January of this year: Quotes from J.M. Barrie, her long-distant cousin.
  4. Creative Writing — “Occasionally I write original poetry or prose and post it on the blog. This is another one that I let slide when nothing’s coming to me or when I get to busy to keep up with it. Wow, I feel like such a lazy blogger!” Um, hardly. We have to disagree with her on that one. Anyway, this is a lovely feature of her blog, usually done on Sundays. Here’s one dear to our hearts, as the coffee lovers we are.
  5. It probably goes without saying that she is a big participator in and champion of Poetry Fridays.
  6. You can also count on Nancy for fun, original poetry- and prose-related contests. Here are the ones she has featured: Great Antagonists of Children’s Literature, Most Poetic Passages from Children’s Literature, Best Passages in Children’s Books, Funniest Passages from Children’s Literature, Most Memorable Passages from Children’s Literature, and Silly Words. And she says more are coming soon. Excellent. (And don’t forget her brand-spankin’-new Lives in Letters Contest to celebrate her blog’s birthday).
  7. Nancy also keeps handy-dandy lists (and some fun “brain games”) in her blog’s sidebar, lists that are results of her contests.

We are so very pleased to be able to interview Nancy. Her intelligence, interests and genuine warmth make for a unique and valuable contribution to the blogosphere. It’s been a great year for Journey Woman and 7-Imp. Hopefully next year we’ll be celebrating our 2nd Blogversary together too!

(Blogversary? Blogiversary? Can we get a definite spelling before next year?)

* * * * * * *

7-Imp: What do you do for a living?

Nancy: I work in market research. You know those pesky people with clipboards in malls across America, or those people who call at dinnertime to ask you “just a few questions?” I work in that business. I picked up my first clipboard when I was about 10 years old (working for my mom) and I’ve never been able to get far away from those beginnings.

These days I run operations for an online market research company. I’ve got a team of about thirty people, and my first day on the job last December, one of them said to me, “So . . . I hear you have a blog and you’re a poet . . .” (Thank you, Google name search.)

7-Imp: How long have you been blogging?

Nancy: July 8, 2007 is my one-year anniversary. I’m going to celebrate with some sort of contest during the month of July.

7-Imp: Why did you start blogging? Why do you continue to do it?

Gregory @ GottaBookNancy: Early in 2006 I found a blog to help me with a crossword puzzle contest. From that blog, I found another blog that interested me. From there I found Eric Berlin. At the same time, a friend found out I liked to write poetry, and suggested I check out fib poetry, so I found Greg at GottaBook. All of the sudden, I was blog surfing and realizing that there were all these people out there talking about children’s books, puzzles, words, poetry and other fun things I was interested in. So I started reading. And reading. And after a few months, I started writing.

Why do I keep doing it? It’s funny, because in a small way I just feel obligated to continue now that I’ve started. No matter how busy I get, the blog is part of what I have to do every week. But also because every time I post, especially if it’s something original and wholly mine, I feel like I accomplish something.

7-Imp: Which blog or site would you take to the prom to show off and you love it so much you could marry it?

Nancy: Robin Brande’s because she writes posts that immediately engage people in conversation. It’s fascinating to me – that talent – I’d steal it if I could. But I’m happy to just look on and admire. And comment, of course.

I also love 7-Imp, especially the 7-Kicks posts. It’s great to see so many people gather just to celebrate small happinesses.

7-Imp: What are your other favorite things to do, other than reading and blogging?

Tanga.comNancy: Puzzles. Puzzles. Puzzles. Especially word-related puzzles. I spend about an hour each day doing puzzles over at, and every night at 10 p.m. I get on the phone with my mother and we work on the nightly puzzle at When I travel, I bring copies of the New York Times Sunday crossword with me –- one or two puzzles for each day of travel -– because that’s one of my ultimate relaxation tools.

7-Imp: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?

Nancy: I have a freckle just below . . . oh wait, that’s not me.

Wow, there’s not much that my friends and family don’t know about me. I’m pretty open about most things.

In the blogging world, I’d say that most people don’t know the basic personal stuff about me: I’m 38, single but recently started dating, swear a lot when I drive but am otherwise a perfect lady (ha!), grew up in Massachusetts but am a Yankee fan, graduated as a Literature major from Harvard but still say “could of” and “a whole nother” when I’m yammering away.

7-Imp: What’s in heavy rotation on your stereo/iPod lately?

k.d. langNancy: Three CDs that the boyfriend made for me. A K.D. Lang CD that I bought for the song “Hallelujah” and can’t stop playing. A Marc Cohn CD that I just dug out of the archives. Bette Midler singing Peggy Lee. And I’m just about to revive my Johnny Cash. Basically, any time a song jumps into my head, I let it stir around there for a few weeks and then I have to find the CD and play it for a while. So I’m led by a lot of different musical whims.

7-Imp: If you could have three (living) authors over for coffee or a glass of rich, red wine, whom would you choose?

Nancy: The first two are easy. I saw both of them do a reading at Radio City Music Hall last year (with J.K. Rowling). The third is a tougher choice.

Stephen KingStephen King. Absolutely my favorite living author, and I think he’d be incredibly entertaining company.

John Irving. My second favorite living author, who also has an odd way of writing about the world.

Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket), because I think his way of writing about the world is a pretty good compliment to the first two. But if he weren’t available, I’d consider Marcus Zusak instead.

The Pivot Questionnaire:

7-Imp: What is your favorite word?

Nancy: “Discombobulate.” I like to put a lot of stress on the third syllable, and it makes me think of some sad confused guy named Bob.

7-Imp: What is your least favorite word?

Nancy: “Phloegm.” Ick.

7-Imp: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Nancy: Laughter. Making other people laugh. Seeing toddlers when they have those great belly-laughs. Giggle-fits. Laughing so hard I cry or can’t breathe.

7-Imp: What turns you off?

Nancy: Meanness. I don’t understand it, so I’m never prepared for it.

7-Imp: What is your favorite curse word?

Nancy: “Unbe-f***ing-lievable.”

7-Imp: What sound or noise do you love?

Nancy: Foghorns over the ocean.

7-Imp: What sound or noise do you hate?

Nancy: Radio commercials for car dealerships.

7-Imp: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Michelle Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker BoysNancy: Lounge singer. Michele Pfeiffer in “The Fabulous Baker Boys.”

7-Imp: What profession would you not like to do?

Nancy: Actuary. My high-school guidance counselor wanted me to be an actuary because I was good at math. When I got to college and found there was no math requirement, I resolved to never take another math class again.

7-Imp: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Nancy: “Good job. You used your mind wisely. You treated others with care and kindness. You loved others well.”

19 comments to “Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast #35:
A Year in the Life of Nancy, a.k.a. Journey Woman”

  1. That was a fun interview!

    Nancy, have you read Word Freak, by Stephan Fatsis? I just read it over vacation–it’s about the world of competitive Scrabble. Good book.

  2. Thanks guys!

    Just to set the record straight, I only spent one summer doing phone market research calls, and I was very very bad at it. But now I’m always very nice whenever a market researcher calls me at home, because I know how much they hate their jobs.

    Susan, I haven’t read Word Freak yet, but thanks for the recommendation. I’ll look for it before I head out on vacation next week.

  3. I love “Lives in Letters.” I’m always amazed at what Nancy can dig up from just a few lines. I’d like to see what she could do with a certain postcard from my dad when he went away to camp as a young boy. The postcard has an elephant on the front. On the back are the words: See the elephant.

  4. Thanks for the Journey Woman interview! I’ve got to confess that I secretly enjoy market research questions. I keep waiting for the Gallup Poll to call and ask me what I think about the political situation or the candidates. The one time they did call, it was to ask about my radio listening habits.

    “Lives in Letters” is lovely.

  5. Nancy, thank you so much! What a kind thing to say!

    Eisha and Jules, thanks for giving us yet another great interview. It’s so nice to get to know all of these people through you!

  6. Another fabulous interview – thanks gals! I enjoyed “getting to know” Nancy a bit better through this. 🙂

  7. Nancy, I LOVE that you were once a market researcher who loves poetry. Next time one of them calls me, I’m going to ask them about Emily Dickinson.

    I also feel for them, for the record. Every time they call me, even if they interrupt me, I think, this is their job, even if they hate it.

    It was fun to interview you!

  8. Sara, I’d love to see that postcard! I use all sorts of info to help put together the story… the postmark date and city, the fine print on the back of the postcard, the address the postcard is sent to, the message, and the picture on the front.

    Jules, thank you for being kind to phone researchers. They really do have one of the worst jobs ever. I think you’d really shock one of them if you asked about Emily Dickinson though. They might think you were just messin’ with them.


  9. So fun to get to know Nancy better. Thanks, Jules and Eisha! Nancy, I didn’t know about the market research or Harvard. I do wonder how you could be from Massachusetts and end up a Yankees fan, but I’m prepared to cut you some slack over it. Because I love the way that your love of words brims over.

  10. Jules and Eisha,

    Thanks for this interview with Nancy. Journey Woman was one of my first blog addictions. Gotta love a woman who loves poetry! That’s the way I see it.

  11. Jen, I knew I’d get a comment from you about the Yankees. I don’t know how it happened, but I was raised in a Yankees family. We’re mixed now, because my brother married a Red Sox fan, and his kids are evenly split. It makes for great family dinners in the summer.

  12. Yay for Nancy, and yay for the ‘versary and your timing. 🙂

  13. Thanks for the terrific interview with Nancy.

    I’m going to get all pedantic on your a$$es and insist that it’s BlogIversary, because it’s the annIversary of your Blog…

    And can I just (annoyingly!) point out that it’s “Phlegm” not “phleogm” !!

    *slinks away*

  14. Pedantic is allowed here. No need to slink away.

    I had thought that Nancy’s spelling of phlegm was an accepted alternative spelling, but you’re right. It’s not. We 7-Imp editors take full credit for that. 😉

    And “blogiversary” sounds good to me.

  15. I still like Blogversary myself, because ANNI is 4 letters as is BLOG. Plus blogversary is quicker to say.

    As for Phlegm, absolutely right. I don’t know how the O slipped in there. But in 7-Imp’s defense, I put the bad O before the E, which made it a teeny bit more believable.

    It’s really the sound of the word I hate more than anything, so my word choice still stands regardless of spelling. 🙂

  16. *gets her pedantic hat out again*

    Sorry to disagree with you Nancy but “blogversary” is not easier to say – that hard “g” followed by the hard “v” is painful, BlogIversary is much gentler… 😀

  17. Well, Nancy, I won’t hold the Yankee’s thing against you. And I’ll bet it is fun having the rivalry at family gatherings. There’s nothing like a rivalry to make things more interesting, and to make each win that much more sweet.

  18. Michele, HA! You say Poe-tay-toe, I say Poe-tah-toe.

  19. I love your interviews. Nancy has such a cool blog and I love her Lives in Letters. Very thoughtful and creative.

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