MamaBlogger365 – Conversations with Successful Contemporary Women Writers… who are also Moms by Jennifer GivhanBLOG, Featured, MamaBlogger365, MamaBlogger365, Mom-preneur, Business, $, Marketing, Making IT, Music, Art, Comedy, Journaling, Poetry, Self-Expression Saturday, July 21st, 2012
We are so thrilled to share this excerpt of Jennifer Givhan‘s interview series! Here, she talks with author Julianna Baggott:
“To be a successful writer, you have to have time — long before you ever make a dime or publish a damn thing — you need time. Period. Having children makes this harder. Time shrinks. It has to be fought for. A mother who writes has to demand time. If she isn’t given time, she will not progress as a writer.”
Our first interview is with acclaimed author Julianna Baggott, who’s long been a hero of mine.
Not only does she write prolifically (she’s published at least twenty books of fiction, young adult and children’s, and poetry in the past fifteen years, which means more than a book a year), but she’s also (get ready for it…) the mother of FOUR children ranging in ages from teenager to kindergartener!!
As an author, Julianna has been praised as having “achieved a premier place among American writers” (Fred Chappell, from her website).
I’ve read (and loved!) her poetry collections THIS COUNTRY OF MOTHERS * and LIZZIE BORDEN IN LOVE (amazingly convincing persona poetry written from the voices of historical women figures, such as Mary Todd Lincoln), and two novels GIRL TALK and the first in a startling & achingly beautiful post-apocalyptic trilogy PURE (slated to become a movie), and I am anxiously awaiting the next book in the series.
Her writing is gorgeous. (Seriously, read her work and find out for yourself. It’s incredible). Clearly, Julianna is a successful mother writer.
With my own two young children, I often struggle as I find myself juggling the multiple roles… mother, wife, poet, (new!) novelist, teacher, publicist, etc.
I’ve long asked myself: How does Julianna do it?
So, I decided to ask her!
The following is a refreshingly honest conversation with Julianna that I find most encouraging as a fellow writer (and, as a mother writer). I hope you will, too. (And then, go buy her books! Let’s support each other, women/mother writers!)
A CONVERSATION WITH JULIANNA BAGGOTT:
1. How do you find the balance between mothering and writing? Do you ever find the lines crossing in interesting ways?
I don’t cordon motherhood off from writing. Because I had my four children at 25, 27, 30, and 37 — as well as two miscarriages — my process has had to grow to accommodate, well, interruption, noise, needs, fears … In fact, having children made me a more efficient writer. I learned to write while not writing — and that vivid work of the mind, when loosed from words and then reapplied to words has been good for me. I’ve become a more visual writer, I think. I’ve realized that time is not infinite — not my own, at least, and so both mothering and writing are precious. I would say my process has grown like a tree around a fence but I’m not sure if motherhood is the tree or the fence, actually. Better to put it this way: my children have mined me emotionally — other things would have done this too, but children have excavated my soul, given me depth and made me a more empathetic person, which are good traits in a writer.
Bio: Jennifer Givhan was a 2010 PEN Rosenthal Emerging Voices Fellow, as well as a 2011 St. Lawrence Book Award finalist for her poetry collection Red Sun Mother. Her work has appeared in over forty journals, including Rattle, The Los Angeles Review, The Feminist Wire, and Crab Creek Review. She teaches composition at The University of New Mexico, and is currently shopping her first novel and working on her second. She’s the mother of two beautiful children, and her work focuses on issues of Latina feminism, infertility, adoption, and family.