Meet the contestants #2: Karen Werner

The 2nd Annual Smartypants Adult Spelling Bee is coming up on Monday, June 23rd at Mayne Stage. Between now and then, we’ll be highlighting some of the competitors hoping to destroy the competition. Today, we meet Karen Werner.

 Karen Werner

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

A: I live in Rogers Park. Born and grew up in Detroit. I came to Chicago by way of Green Lake and Milwaukee, WI. I don’t have any hobbies, ha ha! When I’m not working, I try to find cheap entertainment, especially local, including Lifeline and Mayne Stage. I am a self-employed massage therapist.

Q: How many Spelling competitions have you taken part in? Any specific experience(s) you’d like to share?

A: In the seventh grade, I won every one of my English class spelling bees, and went on to win the school spelling bee. In the eighth grade, I took third place in the school spelling bee, and was sent to the district spelling bee at the last minute, because the first and second-place winners were sick. They put me in the principal’s office the morning of the district, and gave me lists of words to memorize. I remember I went out on the word ameliorate, a word I had never heard before.

I was in the Lifeline spelling bee last year, and all I wanted was to spell my first word right. That didn’t happen. I spelled marionette (a word I had spelled correctly the week before) with 2 n’s, which is correct in French. French was my favorite subject from 5th grade through my sophomore year in college.

Q: What motivated you to sign up?

A: I wanted to recreate a positive experience of competing and to have fun with it. And to face my fear – of being onstage, and of looking stupid – because I could remember everything when I was 12, but that was a few years ago. I still want to spell my first word correctly.

Q: What gives you an edge over the other contestants in this year’s Smartypants Spelling Bee?

A: Nothing, and I’m OK with that.

Q: Anything else about yourself that you’d like to share with the world?

A: I’m just trying to show up…for life.