According to my kids I’m “funny a lot” and make them laugh. I’m a goofball. My wife says I’m excited because I have my perfect audience right now. I’m yucking it up for all I can get, because I know that shit’ll evaporate come twelve or thirteen. Hopefully by then they’ll like video games, or books, and we can continue bonding there.
New York Times bestseller Tobias Buckell is a Hugo-, Nebula-, Prometheus-, and John W. Campbell-nominated author.
His twins are four years old.
When I was their age I basically didn’t have a father. By the time my stepdad arrived, I was a thirteen-year-old pretty set in his ways, so I don’t really relate to anyone on that level.
Buckell is the interview subject of Guy LeCharles Gonzalez in the debut of his new series of such profiles, “Writer Dads,” at VQRonline.org—Virginia Quarterly Review, the digital edition of which is directed by Jane Friedman, our great, good colleague and friend.
In the inaugural outing of the monthly series, Gonzalez introduces a new focus on a member of our community who has been overshadowed for a long time: the writer dad.
The writer dad.
“The writer who,” you ask?
We know the writer mom, of course, as a cherished icon in today’s authorial community and in publishing.
Even to say we “know” her is an understatement. We rightly revere her. We find her nourishing energy at every turn in writing today. Whole communities, major ones, revolve around the concept of the writer mom, this brave, inspiring soul who manages, somehow, to tackle the exhaustion of having and raising children, running a household, usually working outside the home as well, and writing.
Not for nothing, after all, are Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton, the creators of Writer Unboxed, itself, referred to as “Founders & Mamas.”
If anything, it’s not rare for the writer mom’s story to sound like this passage from Buckell in his interview:
[pullquote]I’m grateful to Gonzalez for spotlighting this subject so many are hesitant to touch, not with a 10-foot poll of how many among us think family men can have as viable and praiseworthy a challenge in writing as family women do. [/pullquote]
When the twins were first born, as I write late at night, I just took on the late shift. My wife would go to bed at 10:30-ish, and I would be on. I’d write, and then wake the twins up with bottles, feed and change them, then put them back to bed every few hours until about six a.m. (at first they were on a strict feed-every-three-hour due to jaundice, and it became a regular schedule). Then I slept during the early part of the day. We teamed up for late afternoon and evening. We each got seven to eight hours of sleep.
But we don’t hear or read such passages frequently by or about writer dads…who also know exhaustion, sacrifice, the wry laugh about “finding balance” in life, and the everyday heroics of struggling to keep a manuscript fed along with everyone else in the house.