Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

The OJ Jury Life Is No Joke
Episode 8 of The People v. O.J. Simpson

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FX Network
Could you go eight months without television, the freedom to read magazine and newspaper articles of your choice, limited visits with your family, no swimming pool, plus you're eating a lot of hotel food? As they say in the hood, “I’m not about that life.” The OJ jurors walked in thinking they were going to get away from reality, have a role in this “glamorous” trial and be done in a few weeks. WRONG.

This episode made jury duty look more like a prison sentence. I remember when jurors were dropping like flies. I didn’t know what was going on. I had no idea that the defense and prosecution were researching jurors’ backgrounds, in hopes of one side getting their dream jury. 

My shero in this episode was the woman who said to hell with this, flipped out, and got herself removed from the jury. I don’t know if that was her plan, or she really snapped, but good for her for putting her sanity first. If what the miniseries is depicting is true, those jurors had a terrible experience.

The courts greatly limited the jurors’ media consumption because the Simpson trial was everywhere and they didn’t want the jurors’ decision swayed. I remember hearing that officers cut out any Simpson related story on commentary in newspaper and magazines.  They would go on private group trips to the movies and I think athletic games. 

I have served on a jury and I couldn’t handle being sequestered like that for nearly a year. If this trial was today, jurors would probably have no access to the internet and social media. I wouldn't be surprised if their smartphones would be taken away. Remember, jurors don't get paid much serve. Living in those conditions, for a long time, but with a very small wage--wow. I can see why some hung in there for a book deal.

Next week’s episode is going to be something else. I watched it in advance because of my press credentials. It  is VERY powerful. I'm not saying everything they show is 100% accurate, but it’s not to be missed. It's about the Mark Fuhrman tapes. This is a huge turning point in the trial. With all of the stories on racially-motivated police brutality happening today, this episode really hits you. Here's a preview: 


  1. Oh I was waiting for this post! That woman was Tracy, the one who posed for Playboy after the trial! She was on Howard Stern and got naked, too. Lol!!
    I can't wait for tonight's episode. I remember watching that testimony on television.

    1. Well she found a way to be compensated for her service. 😉

  2. This show.
    About that trial.
    And the thousands of moving pieces that inside and outside the courtroom.
    I just want to do a slow clap for the brilliant writers, actors, set designers, wardrobe, grips, hell - I'll even do a shout-out to the catering staff. I didn't think it was even possible to put so many puzzle pieces into 10 hours of TV, but damned if they aren't pulling this off - humanizing, empathizing, painting in broad strokes and narrow bands of backstory, emotion, motivation . . . .

    1. It's very entertaining. You just have to do your homework on what was real and what was made for TV.

  3. In Australia, we're only up to episode 4 (yes, a bit behind!) and I'm amazed at how good this show is (despite the terrible subject matter and some factual inaccuracies). I am old enough to remember the trial - I was in my early 20s. However, not being American, I was naive about the racio-political aspects at the time. I was also young enough then to not fully appreciate the sexism at play. Anyway, I stumbled upon your blog when reading some of the articles about the show and it's great to read your insights - thank you for sharing them, given that this must bring back some painful memories for you and your family.

    1. ps Apologies for publishing the above comment as "Anonymous" (I should have read your note!!).

    2. No worries about using Anonymous Julia. Thanks for commenting. Others have contacted me from Australia. It's amazing to look at race and gender in this trial now and see what we missed or misunderstood. I even missed some things. Thank you reading my blog and leaving a comment.


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