Kashana Cauley, author of: online short stories in Tin House and Juked, and soon-in-print stories in Esquire and Redivider. I just completed a novel about a lead singer’s attempt to sink his band’s fourth album and am working on another about a middle-class Chicago gun dealer who struggles with feeling connected to his clients’ crimes.
What is your writing schedule like now, and how do you anticipate it will change when the baby is born?
I write during the day. When my husband goes off to work, I flip my laptop open. I’m a dyed in the wool morning person and suspect that once the baby comes I’m going to have to be more flexible about writing whenever there’s a window.
Have you and your husband talked about making sure you each get time for your work/creative pursuits after the baby is born? What’s the plan?
Yes. He’s willing to take some weekend/evening baby duty so I can write, and I’m going to take care of the baby during the day.
Has your writing been affected by impending motherhood? How about your reading preferences?
I was going to say no, my writing hasn’t been affected, and then I noticed how much food and hunger have crept into my recent work. At the same time, I haven’t changed anything about how either violence or children are depicted in the novel I’m working on.
My reading preferences haven’t changed. Apparently the baby can hear me talk now, so he’s been privy to a lot of discussion about what I have read lately, which is a lot of setting-obsessed nonfiction (Desert America, Detroit City Is the Place to Be) and literary fiction (The Fortress of Solitude, Ten Thousand Saints, The Age of Innocence).
Do you look at your published work differently now, knowing your child will read it one day?
No. Once my work is published, I don’t think about it anymore, and learning that I’m expecting hasn’t changed that. I’m also not convinced that my child will read my work. It depends on what kind of reader he turns out to be. That’s ok.
Are you terrified? Admit it. You’re terrified. It’s okay to be terrified. What scares you most about this whole baby-on-the-way thing?
Completely terrified. My doctor handed me a hundred page packet of baby tips in my first trimester that made me feel like I was drowning. It was full of stuff I’d never thought of, like bathing the baby. I mean, I knew I’d have to clean it and all, but never thought about the specifics. The specifics of baby-raising are so numerous and hard to remember. We might just tack up baby instruction sheets around the apartment at first.
You can ask one question of those writers with kids who’ve gone before you. What do you want to know?
Could you name an item you bought for your baby that you didn’t need? I’m at the “everything seems necessary for a newborn” stage and would love to rule things out.