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We who are about to breed: Thaddeus Rutkowski.

September 21, 2011 \am\30 11:00 am
[In which WWAATD asks writers and other artist types about life as breeders/parents/kid-keepers.]
Name: Thaddeus Rutkowski
1.    What is your kid’s name, age? 

We have a daughter, Shay, age 10.
2.    How do you balance your time between parenting and writing?
My parenting duties these days consist mainly of taking our daughter to her day-camp bus or (in September) to school. The afternoon pickup is done by her mother. During the summer, I don’t teach; I have only my full-time day job. I write in the mornings (after the day-camp bus has passed) and on weekends at an urban colony in New York called the Writers’ Room (within walking distance of our apartment). I don’t know if this is a balance. I went away to colonies during my work vacations for 20 years, up until 2007, then stopped so I could spend more time with my family. I may apply for an “away” colony for next year, though.
3.    What is the best piece of advice about being a parent and a writer?

Share your writing with your family. Encourage them to attend your readings and book parties, but don’t insist that they attend. Don’t make your child accompany you on stage–it might embarrass her. Pay attention to the creative pursuits of the other members of your family. You may not dance jazz yourself, but watching jazz dance can be fun. When a moment of togetherness arrives, try to treasure it.
4.    How has your writing changed since becoming a parent?

I don’t think my own writing has changed much since becoming a parent, except for the addition of material about being a parent. Most of my writing has to do with my childhood and young adulthood. My process is to remember images and incidents from many years ago and put them into a sort of new form. However, I have written many pages about having a small child, and about how that child thinks, speaks, interacts.
5.    Tell us something we don’t know about you and being an artist- or writer-slash-parent.
I am a relatively old parent, as parents go, though I’m certainly not the oldest parent around. I have the idea that I would have had more energy for parenting if I had been a younger parent. But you can’t plan these things out. I had to basically think about relationships during my 30s, then begin again with relationships in my 40s. If anything, my writing production has become more predictable since my mid-40s. I’m still slow, but I’m steadier now.

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