In an apartment labeled 1119 in the exquisite city of Chicago lives Jenny Gillespie, her guitar and piano.

This week Jenny released her brilliant album, titled "Light Year". Here is a sweet little Q&A between Jenny and I with some glimpses into her life (click photos to enlarge).

Q: You've created a visual sanctuary of sorts in your bedroom with items that speak to you. Is there a particular item you own that you treasure enough to rescue in a fire? Your Mac and guitar don't count!

A: My small ivory Buddha that I bought in Austin, TX at a fabulous antique store called Uncommon Objects. I would hate for its laughing eyes and adorable belly to go. But most likely I would save my overstuffed box of letters and photos dating back from 1995.

Q: In addition to your musical talents, you are a gifted writer and published poet. I love the way you describe your lyrics: "short stories of long longing". Do you have a favorite fictional character from a short story, book or film?

A: Both of my favorite characters are older people who exude joy and wisdom. Mr. Emerson from "A Room with a View" is the wise fool who helps to unite his son, the misguided, moody George, and the repressed, virginal Lucy Honeychurch. In the book he has a ton of amazing one-liners about love, living fully, both humbly and juicily, such as "I don't care what I see outside. My vision is within! Here is where the birds sing! Here is where the sky is blue!"

My favorite character from a movie would probably be Maude from Harold and Maude. She represents to me total individuality, self-love and acceptance, joyful eccentricity, and a desire to connect to others, no matter how different you are from them. I would like to live that way, now and when I'm older.

Q: On the music front, is there a particular lyric you admire?

A: I love the lyrics of Joanna Newsom. I don't even think she's a lyricist---her songs could be published in book-form and they'd still be compelling. Oddly, one that I always come back to is uncharacteristically simple of her; the end of a verse in her song "Only Skin," where she's wailing "Be a woman, be a woman!" I sing that line to myself--maybe in times of torpor, when I need some sort of battle cry.

Q: You have a wonderfully eclectic & bohemian style. Do you have a particular garment or outfit that feels transformational?

A: Any time I put on a treasured dress, I feel immediately transformed. If I'm really in the mood to splurge, I will buy a fabulous party dress. I have a really neat floor-length, vintage floral-print Hawaiian dress from Store B in Wicker Park, all poppy-reds and tangerine-oranges, that I put on whenever the weather turns balmy, and I feel instantly lightened and ready to mingle.

Q: You paint, embroider and are learning to knit. Who/what are some of your creative inspirations?

A: Painting is a weird thing for me. It usually comes very sporadically, and it comes from a deep, unruly place inside and I can be doing it for hours until the early morning, almost in a kind of trance. I incorporate collage and abstract mixed media--such a process was inspired by my lack of talent at realistic rendering. Painters like Wolf Kahn, Craigie Aitchison, Cy Twombly inspire me.

Embroidery is much more of a meditative, conscious ritual for me. There's something so soothing about the thread going in and out, and a neat little pattern slowly emerging on the fabric. Tilleke Schwarz' and Maira Kalman's work inspired me to try my own abstract designs and to incorporate words. I'm still not very good at it, and it takes so very long to do, but it's interesting that I came to it, because I consider myself a rather sloppy, spur-of-the-moment kind of artist.

Q: I'm charmed by this vase you purchased at the antique store in Austin - a town you lived in for several years. You've lived in many places across the US and are passionate about travel. Is there one place you've visited that seemed to be your soul-mate of destinations?

A: It sometimes gets a bad rap among urban-city dwellers, but I've always been drawn to Los Angeles and I could easily see myself setting up a little bungalow in Venice or Los Feliz. Something about the golden light, the cool nights, the canyons, the ocean, the Hollywood mystique (the old Hollywood mystique, at least!). I'm very intrigued by Laurel Canyon--but that might have been fueled by reading a history of the 60s and 70s music scene there, called Hotel California---a really juicy read for music nerds!

Q: Any favorite pearls of wisdom that you've acquired over the years?

A: From my grandmother, to have a sense of humor and stay busy and connected to others my whole life long. From my friend Dawn, that we can create our lives and intention in each moment. From my friend Tom Prasada-Rao, a fellow singer & songwriter, "KISS: keep it simple, stupid". From my friend Irene, I can say I'm not clumsy, and I won't be clumsy. From my friend Amy, get a hair cut and buy some new lipstick when I'm feeling the blahs. From you, to be patient with my personal and artistic growth, and to light candles in my bathroom when guests come over.

Jenny performing at our October, 2008 wedding.

"Light Year" is available via ITunes & CD Baby and would make a lovely addition to any music lover's collection.