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We who are about to breed: Erika Meitner.

September 9, 2011 \am\30 10:11 am

[In which WWAATD asks writers and other artist types about life as breeders/parents/kid-keepers.]

Name: Erika Meitner

1.    What is your kid’s name, age? 

Oz, age 4.

2.    How do you balance your time between parenting and writing?

Our kid is in preschool from 9-5 every weekday at the university lab school here, so it’s not so much a problem.  I’m beyond grateful for the high-quality (and affordable) childcare we’ve had since he was five months old.  There’s no way I’d be able to do anything without that, and my kick-ass parenting partner/husband, who does more than 50% of the pre & post-school childcare (and is understanding about the occasional project deadline and more than occasional late-night inspiration-has-struck-so-I-can’t-get-up-with-the-kid days).

3.    What is the best piece of advice about being a parent and a writer?

Make friends with the wee hours of the night, which make for excellent writing time, and trust that you’ll become infinitely more efficient because you’ll have to be.

4.    How has your writing changed since becoming a parent?

My process has changed–I’ve learned to write through absolute chaos in the middle of a living room Lego-fest or Lady Gaga dance-a-thon.  The flip side is that my ability to be absolutely immune to the chaos around me some of the time means that my listening skills are often poor, at best, and I’m increasingly absent-minded.  In the early babyhood days, I also depended more on honing pieces as I went, rather than on finding another time to go back and revise them.  If a poem didn’t get finished in the first sitting, it generally got tossed.

5.    Tell us something we don’t know about you and being an artist- or writer-slash-parent.

Since becoming a parent, I’ve developed a deep distrust of writers who are cloyingly sentimental about parenthood.  I also spent this past Saturday night cleaning up projectile toddler vomit at 3am, so this might be the chunks of noodles, carrots, and raisins talking.

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One Comment
  1. tlgobble permalink
    September 11, 2011 \pm\30 6:59 pm 6:59 pm

    Erika Meitner is gold. That last book, Ideal Cities, woo-wee, some stark rattling poems right there.

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