Cast Spotlight: Jessica Hardesty Norris

by Anna Hartman on April 13, 2017

Jessica Hardesty Norris leads first with her logic. She brings a scientific perspective to the LTYM: Charleston stage. Her view on motherhood is both modern and strong, and her piece is a must-hear for anyone searching for diversity and equality in their approach to raising children.


What is your name?
Jessica Hardesty Norris

Where do you write, blog, are published?
I usually write articles and book chapters about ecological topics for scientific and semi-technical audiences, though of course I have a draft novel tucked away, too!

How did you find LTYM?
A friend got into a show in Washington State.

What is the craziest thing you remember saying to your children? OR What is the craziest thing you remember your mother saying to you?
I remember with perfect clarity the day in 2008 when I complimented a friend on her new haircut and she said “Well, thanks, but I think it looks a little like Dora’s.” And I asked who Dora was. My first girl-child was born a few months later, and my third is almost 5. Not knowing who Dora is now as surreal and inconceivable as the years I spent riding a motorcycle and not owning a car. Crazy.

What is your first/last/only memory of your mother?
My first memory of my mother is clinging to her back as she swam across a pool. Even when we were tiny, she would let us sit and grab onto her shoulder straps as she swam slowly underwater. It was the most terrifying and thrilling thing in the world.

What do you wish most for your children?
As an adult, I have come to believe that holding onto joy and a sense of wonder are things that are part luck, part personal history, part brain chemistry, and part choice. By whatever mechanism works, I want my children to have ready access to joy and a sense of wonder throughout their lives.

What does motherhood mean to you?
Can you please give me another 20-30 years and ask me again? I haven’t had time to think about that yet.

Tell us 1 fun fact about yourself.
For two years of my 20s, I spent more nights in a tent than in a bed.

Favorite and why: book, author, musician, album, movie, actor/actress,  place to visit, pet, food, etc.
I have favorite book or food – or at least I have more than one, for all of the different occasions and moods in which I eat or read. One of the books I think of most often is Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver, for a single passage about a man selling shrimp and how the woman watching him wishes to be as useful and efficient as the bucket system he used to carry and balance the diminishing supply.  She wanted to be honed to a single purpose that she served perfectly. That idea, of how to find the cause you need to serve and serve it unhesitatingly has always stuck with me.

Come see Jessica read her wise words on April 29th at 5 or 7:30 p.m. at Circular Church in downtown Charleston. Tickets are available by clicking here, but they’re going fast! 

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