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Interview in Inside Higher Ed

At Inside Higher Ed, Joseph Fruscione included in his adjunct interview series Gordon Haber, of Adjunctivitis and False Economies, and I exchanging e-mails on writing while teaching as adjuncts.

In one of my questions, I slipped in a Richard Yates reference to the fact that he did very little writing while teaching at Iowa. For me, this relates to his almost famous assessment that writing and teaching are thoroughly incompatible as they require the same emotions. At least, Yates saying that is famous to me.

From the interview:

AK: Richard Yates, in an interview, said he hardly wrote any fiction when he was teaching at Iowa for six years. He described teaching as demanding the same emotions as writing, and so he was too drained from teaching to leave anything on the page. How has it been for you?
GH: Teaching was draining, but I wanted to do it. I have a really hard time with day jobs that don’t interest me. Of course it was extraordinarily difficult to balance marriage, fatherhood, teaching, freelance journalism and fiction writing. And yet the last few years have been a fertile period. I wrote a story collection, the third draft of a novel, a bunch of features and book reviews. I really don’t know how it happened. Maybe because for me writing is like exercise — you’ve got to do it regularly, even just a little bit, so you don’t feel like crap. So even though teaching can be emotionally taxing, I still managed to write, except during finals week when there was 100 essays to get through.

Read more at Inside Higher Ed


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