Jennifer Zahlit, CA

Jennifer won a mug in Kindergarten for checking out 500 books from the library. She still has that mug today—but more importantly, her love of stories has shaped her life and passions. A California native and NYC dweller, she is an actor-director-musician who tutors kids by day (she never thought she would still be doing Calculus after high school). She loves walking the streets of New York City, people-watching, cooking, and live music.

As a Story Terrace writer, Jennifer interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

Sibling Creativity

“Michael, I think we should write a children’s book together. You’re good at drawing and I can write the story. What do you think?”

My nine-year-old brother Michael pondered this request thoughtfully.

“Sure, I’ll do it. What are you thinking?” I’m sure I threw out a couple of vague ideas that probably included some cute animals going on a journey. He had some of the drawings within the week.

Flash forward to another moment a year later. I had to do a vocabulary exercise for my English class and I chose to record a radio show. Michael was obviously my choice for co-announcer. We created a whole news program, complete with ads selling “the best quills of the Romantic period” (“quill was the vocabulary word).

The next year, we created a program of viola duets for our mom’s friends. We went over every detail meticulously; at times, we may have gone a little extreme and engaged in impassioned arguments over song placement and playing technique. But at the end, we knew that the work had paid off.

Throughout our lives, we have shared so many of these moments together. I don’t even really remember life before him. In fact, one of my earliest memories is holding my newborn brother on our couch in our first home in California.

But what I could never imagine was the depth and breadth of what that tiny human would teach me, especially in the realm of creativity. As we moved from state to state in childhood, we always had each other to imagine and play with in life. We pushed and encouraged each other, listened to and attended each performance, supported and talked through each life transition.

Michael’s imprint on my life is indelible; our stories are forever intertwined.


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