Sandy Pool is a writer and multi-disciplinary artist. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in English and Theatre Performance and holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. Sandy is a recipient of the Sharon Drummond Scholarship, and the Constance Rooke Scholarship in Creative Writing. Currently she teaches Writing Skills at Humber College, is working on an Opera commissioned by Tapestry New Opera Works, and is working on her PhD. in Canadian Literature and Creative Writing. Exploding Into Night, her first collection of poetry, has been nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry.
What does a typical Thursday look like for you, starting from when you wake up – to heading to bed?
As a writer and full-time PhD. student, my days are always a mix of studying, writing and teaching. Thursdays happen to be notoriously long days for me. I write and study in the mornings and then head to the University of Calgary to work as a teaching assistant in an undergraduate class focused on fiction. Since I also teach online at Humber College, I spend quite a bit of the afternoon on the computer discussing writing with students. I also have a night class in creative writing. When I finally return home at night, I try to fit in some exercise and some more reading and writing before bed. If I’m really lucky, I have just enough time to watch ‘Dexter’ (I’m currently re-watching the 4th season and have a huge serial killer crush on John Lithgow!!)
What was your first job out of school?
I was lucky to land a job teaching at Humber College right after I completed my Masters of Fine Art degree. I taught grammar and composition to students of all disciplines. The job was great, and I learned so much from my students. I had students in programs ranging from fashion arts to funeral services. I think I might have learned more than they did!
What are the 3 skills you require most to do your job well?
I think that dedication, focus and being able to accept critique are three elements that are essential to writing. The entire world will conspire against you when you are trying to write. Writing demands your time and energy, and sometimes it can be difficult when there are so many people placing demands on your time. I always encourage writers to find space to put their writing first, even if it is only for an hour a day.
What do you love most about your career?
For me, both writing and teaching are things I’m incredibly passionate about. I love that I’m able to have a conversation with the world through writing. I also love connecting with students and helping them with their own writing.
Do you have any warnings?
Well, I’m sure my mother would warn me to be an accountant on the side! Writing is not always the most lucrative career, but it is a rewarding one. I think trying to remember the distinction between ‘teacher who writes’ and ‘writer who teaches’ is also very important. I’m certainly in the latter category.
If you could try a different career on for a year, what would it be?
Being a pop star! I wish I was kidding, but the truth is I’ve always secretly wanted to be Lady Gaga. Fortunately, I’ve figured out that the letters of my name can be rearranged to spell ‘Lady Spoon.” Unfortunately, I’m totally tone deaf and I don’t think the outfits would be a hit in the university environment. Alas….