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Loyalty: Ann Patchett

Long ago I heard Ann Patchett talk about how she decided, at a relatively young age, that she couldn't be a writer and a parent. Since she knew she wanted most to be a writer, she has not had children, by choice. This has stuck with me as someone who has been a writer since I knew what pencils did--and as someone who does, in fact, also want to be a parent. It's interesting to note that, at least according to Wikipedia, Patchett's mother is also a novelist. I would love to be a fly on the wall if the two of them ever discuss this. For now, however, this is the best I can do.

The following is excerpted from an interview published in The Denver Post.

Q: Do you write at the same time every day?

A: How I wish I had a routine. I think I'm a very hard worker and productive, but I don't think it's about sitting down and hammering out a certain number of pages in a day. I hardly ever have a deadline, and no one sees (my work) until I feel it's ready for publication.

I am very parochial in my habits. I get stuck all the time and can't figure things out, but because I have all these obligations I get things done. I am so grateful I am not a procrastinator.

Q: Do you work on multiple projects at once? Novels, essays, articles?

A: In general, I'm very careful with my brain. I don't think I can do it all, which is why I didn't have children. [Long ago] I understood that I could be good at certain things, but not at 20 things.