Written by Holly Pratt

Unless you’re a Lord, say Byron, or come into a large inheritance, à la E.M Forster, and can spend your days summering in Europe, walking your private gardens, and dashing off a novel or poem when the mood strikes, you’ll have to do what most writers do: get a job! But how to balance work and creative pursuits? Luckily, Get Lit! has a panel for that: Writers Who Teach/Teachers Who Write: Balancing Career and Creativity.

Five writers—Leyna Krow, Elliot Reed, Ben Cartwright, Dawn Pichon Barron, and Andy Lang—have all managed to achieve what most of us dream of: day jobs plus writing careers. They have deigned to put themselves at our service so that we can pick them apart to ensure they’re not automatons and discover how it is that they do what it is we want to do.

Following is a little teaser intro to some of the mythical Writer/Worker Beasts living among us.

Ben Cartwright’s poetry collection After Our Departure won the 2016 Powder Horn Prize and his latest collection, The Meanest Things Pick Clean, was published in 2017. Though he now teaches at SFCC, Ben says that some of his best work has “happened around waiting tables, doing demolition on buildings in Seattle, working long hours in a bakery tending ovens, in between serving drinks at bars, or while checking the math on annual total income annuity statements.”

Leyna Krow’s short story collection, I’m Fine, But You Appear to Be Sinking, was picked as a Huffington Post Best Fiction Book of 2017 and recently got a major thumbs up from The Believer. Leyna has been teaching for seven years and, lest she float off, leaving us lesser beings behind, she says she’s grateful for a day job as it lends her “Some structure and tether to the regular world.”

Tin House Books is publishing Elliot Reed’s debut novel, A Key to Treehouse Living, and it will be available for purchase in our virtual and real shopping carts in September 2018. Begun whilst lumping heavy objects about on a construction site in Missouri and completed while earning his MFA degree in Florida, Elliot says “Frictive environments, and oppressive places where you can’t do what you feel you want to do, force you to bring the energy of secrecy and disguise into your work.”

If you’d like to hear from Dawn Pichon Barron, Escape Girl Blues, Andy Lang, and more from all the panelists on how they manage to juggle day (or night) jobs, family, friends, and entire lives with writing, do the following:

  1. Decide: Are you more of a 9:30am or 10:30am person
  2. Get yourself to SCC on April 27, 2018
  3. Find your way to the Hagan Foundation Center for the Humanities (Building 16)
  4. Bring your wallet (just in case you want a soda or some M&M’s to go along with the enlightening talk you’re about to hear—the panel is FREE just like all the best things in life)
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