Welcome new Writers’ Program instructor Ruth Fowler! Ruth is teaching a section of One-Hour TV I (Reg# 392709) in person this Summer. She sat down with us to offer some insight into creative life and her upcoming course.
What sparks your creativity?
Many things, but getting paid and having a roof over my head, what Virginia Woolf termed ‘A Room of One’s Own,’ makes writing a lot easier than starving and stressing out. Writing has turned into a gig economy, which is one of the things the WGA is addressing right now, and I think there’s a misconception that artists need to suffer. Being creative is a fabulous job, but it is a job nonetheless. When I get paid, I have more time to do the crazy projects which aren’t commercial – that strange little play, that weird short film – which in turn, makes it easier to focus on projects which aren’t necessarily personal passions.
What do you rely on for those times it’s difficult to find the time, energy, motivation and/or inspiration to write?
Other people’s art. Reading, watching plays, studying scripts, turning on the TV. It’s impossible to have energy and inspiration all the time, particularly for passion projects. When it’s paid work we have other writers or producers as fellow cheerleaders which helps a lot. But trying to write a new spec is probably one of the hardest things to do.
What’s your favorite book and/or movie?
My favorites change constantly depending on my mood, what I’ve just watched, what’s just come out. I do love The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, Labyrinth, The Goonies. I return to these a lot.
What’s your favorite quote about writing?
Gloria Steinem — ‘Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.’
Who do you wish you could write like (or: Whose writing discipline do you wish you had)?
I have Grass is Always Greener syndrome constantly. Again, it changes depending on my mood. I actually think I’m a pretty good writer, but I wish I had the success and the finances of other writers, more than their style! But I would love to have written the first season of Succession, or something as genius and bonkers as Memento, or a book as breathtaking as Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie.
What excites you most about teaching for the Writers’ Program?
When we’re not in rooms, writing can be very isolating and lonely. I love being around people and find that engaging with new groups helps me see things differently and think of new ideas. So I’m excited to meet a new bunch of people, and excited to see what kind of dynamic we have together over a semester, and how that make impact our writing.
What do you hope your students get from your course(s)?
I’d love my students to really enjoy this course and look forward to it every week instead of considering it a boring chore to help them further their careers. That would suck. I also hope that we gain some lifelong friendships and cheerleaders amongst each other, as building community is one of the most important things you can do in any industry.
Thank you to Ruth for taking time to share with us. Look for more instructor interviews coming soon!