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We who are about to breed: Robert Duffer.

October 7, 2011 \am\31 8:38 am

NAME: Robert Duffer.

1. What are your kids’ names, ages? 

Calvin is 5 and Marialynn is 4 nowish(9/13).

2. How do you balance your time between parenting and writing?
Writing is the second priority now. I still try to write everyday but if I don’t it’s ok because being an active dad is more fulfilling. With fewer rejections per effort.

Schedules have changed a lot but it’s important to make a time and stick with it. You can accomplish a lot in an hour a day if its every day. I try writing in the mornings before they wake up. At night it’s harder to stay motivated, to stay awake. If I write in the morning then I’m writing all day in my head. Which is why I wear ridiculous cargo pants: to keep a notebook, and a lego guy, fruit roll up, matchbox car, broken crayon, Boo-Boo’s petals (Maria’s inexplicable nickname). Though I should add that the balance between parenting and writing has the parallel of husbanding and working. So there’s that.

3. What is the best piece of advice about being a parent and a writer?
One is more important than the other. If you don’t know which one it is, then you shouldn’t be doing the other.
And don’t freak out on missed milestones. As a parent, career growth is slower but much richer. It’s a time quotient.

4. How has your writing changed since becoming a parent?
I love writing the short form, flash, vignettes, etc. All of my essays and shorter fiction has been published post-parent. Because of that hyper-attention, my long form writing has gotten stronger, moreso than it would if I wasn’t concentrating on short form.
Content-wise it’s kind of like what life was before parenting: I don’t remember what the hell I was writing about but I know that this is so much better. That’s why I started the weekly column/blog on fatherhood, Experiments in Manhood. Brief essays on the vicissitudes of parenthood. Fun to write, hard to place, so I started my own thing.

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

What you don’t know is that I am home with my kids three days (four this semester) a week and I’m so damn lucky to teach and write and parent and have the love and support of my wife who works her ass of saving people’s lives as a heart nurse while I sit in my mancave writing stories.

And the day both kids were born we started books for each one, prose journals that we’ll keep adding to until we don’t know when. The books are as much for us as it is for them, which is consistent with most things parenting.

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