Write On: A Word with Our Newest Storyteller

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When Jeannie MacDonald was in third grade, Miss Campbell showed the class a painting of a barnyard at dusk as a writing prompt. Already a die-hard movie fan (and budding drama queen), Jeannie wove a Spielberg-worthy cinematic tale of sheep scurrying for cover and ducks quacking alarm as apocalyptic doom descended upon the farm. That story wound up catapulting her past fourth grade and straight to fifth. 

 From then on, writing was her thing – and watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show showed her how to make a living at it; first at the NBC and CBS stations in Boston, then at Paramount Television in Los Angeles. “It was thrilling to walk through those iconic Paramount gates and around the lot where my favorite director (Billy Wilder) shot parts of my favorite movie (Sunset Boulevard),” Jeannie recalls. “But after seven years in L.A., I missed my family, so I did the Great American U-Turn and drove back to the East Coast.”

Jeannie MacDonald on the New Hampshire coast.

Jeannie MacDonald on the New Hampshire coast.

Since returning to New England, Jeannie has written TV, radio, print, online copy and the occasional jingle for television clients (CBS Paramount, Warner Bros., Discovery Channel), corporations (Bose), higher ed (University of New Hampshire) and humor pieces for newspapers (Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune). 

How did she find her way to Idea Decanter? “Laura Garfield asked our mutual friend Bernadette Brown at CNN if she knew any good writers,” Jeannie explains. “I’m from a family of thrifty CPAs and financial planners, and I’m also a lifelong fitness junkie, so Idea Decanter’s focus on wealth and health was the perfect intersection of stuff I was already interested in. Score!”

The Movie-TV-Writing threads running throughout Jeannie’s life really tied into a lucky knot several years ago when a TV pal she worked with gave Jeannie’s email address to a co-worker in Washington and suggested they write. “It was like ‘Jane Austen Meets Sleepless in Seattle’ because John was living there when we started emailing and after two months, we got along so well, we wound up getting married.” Cue the rom-com happy ending, complete with John’s nine-year-old daughter and Jeannie’s dog forming an instant family of four.

When she’s not slaving over a hot keyboard, you’ll find Jeannie taking daily 6-mile walks, hosting a classic film series at the local performing arts center, planning road trips or baking a lot of cookies, cupcakes and pies.