About Jay Courtney
(That’s Jan Courtney to some of you !)
I am a writer who takes inspiration from being in the wild, whether it is sitting by my garden pond or visiting remote places in the North Atlantic. Five years ago after a period of ill-health I decided to retire from my career working to improve outcomes for children and young people in Gloucestershire.
Retirement came as a shock to me, and I quickly realised that I did not know how to do this part of my life. Finding my way to be the ‘Juicy Crone’ I wanted to be and not the often vilified older woman represented in the media, has been challenging but great fun and exciting. The process of ‘giving birth to self’ is, like giving birth to one’s own children, messy, at times painful, but oh so rewarding and full of wonder.
I experimented with all sorts of activities from ‘Drawing for the Terrified’, to Silver Swans ballet (not pretty), to ‘Wild Writing’. Writing emerged as my ‘thing’ and so I studied for an MA in Travel and Nature Writing at Bath Spa University. Part of the course requirement was to take a solo trip and write about it. After a life-long love of the BBC shipping forecast, I decided to go to The Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic.
I was surprised and delighted that my first ever submission to a travel writing competition, ‘Thirty-Seven Names for Fog’ won the weekly Daily Telegraph ‘Just Back’ competition and stunned when this piece was chosen as overall winner for 2018.
Our third act is the one where we weave together an understanding of our lives and accept our true selves. Many women have got in touch to tell me their ‘Juicy Crones’ adventures, it is an immense privilege to hear their stories. I am humbled by the generosity of spirit they show in sharing their stories in an act of sisterhood with their fellow journey-women.