(December 7, 2020) Daria Polatin is a playwright, TV writer-producer and author who is developing a TV limited series based on her novel DEVIL IN OHIO for Netflix. She was a Co-Executive Producer on CASTLE ROCK for Hulu, where her episode “The Laughing Place” was named one of Entertainment Weekly’s Best TV Episodes of 2019. She has been a writer and producer on HUNTERS, JACK RYAN, CONDOR, HEELS and SHUT EYE. Daria received her MFA from Columbia University and is a founding member of THE KILROYS, the advocacy group for gender equality in the American Theatre. She has one son who is 11 weeks old and she describes writer-motherhood in 3 words as: stunning, shifting, softening.
FROM THE EPISODE: READING & VIEWING LIST & REFERENCES
Daria Polatin’s Website
Daria’s Book: Devil in Ohio
Daria’s Play: Palmyra
The Kilroys, Daria’s advocacy group for gender equality in the American theater
Time is really punctuated when you have a baby. I used to have a certain sensibility of my time and what I could get done, and now the periods I have are much shorter. Having to code switch really is tricky. A few minutes of feeding can feel like hours, and the nap feels like one second. Time just has all these new nuances, even though it is a constant.
Writing outlines is tough. I know a lot of writers outline their projects in different mediums, and it’s just not the most fun to do an outline, but it’s the scaffolding for the cathedral that you’re going to make.
Because of the amount I need to get done, I need to work quickly, and it’s a good lesson in not second-guessing myself. I need to make decisions and move on, whereas, in the past, I may have read a piece over and over and over and improved it one more time. I don’t have time to do that now. It’s about trusting the process and my intuition, trusting that I’ve been doing this for many years. I don’t want to say that I’m shortchanging the process, but I can move through the process much more quickly now. And I have to; otherwise, I couldn’t keep up, or I would have to take on less, either as a writer or as a mother, and I don’t want to do that. I want it all.
There’s never going to be enough time for all of the things, and I just have to make peace with that. I’m always probably going to feel like I’m not doing enough in a certain area, whether it’s this project or that project or with my son or with my husband. There are a lot of things that I’m going to have to be comfortable with. There’s only so much pie, you know?
Every minute of TV costs a lot of money, effort, and energy to make, so you have to be relentless in refining every moment on screen.
I really love when each episode of a show has an arc to it. The Crown does that really well. Each episode contains a theme, a question, and an answer.
Books are the most direct connection between author and reader. There’s the least interference in that form of written material, a direct relationship with the consumer of the story.
I now understand this very primal, Mama Bear, almost monster feeling of doing anything for your child. I have a new understanding, a visceral understanding, of what that is.
I want to be a safe space for my son, and I want to be a grounded place that he can always come to for comfort in whatever form that would be.
I’m fearful of not having enough time for everything; most importantly, my son, because he’s the most vulnerable of all of those elements.
I’m trying to stay grounded and teach through example. Taking care of the things I need to take care of is an important thing to do. If I just sacrificed my career and became a mother full-time, that’s not serving me, and I wouldn’t be happy, and that wouldn’t be serving him.
You have to be very present to be able to assess the circumstances and get out of your own expectations of what your child might need. It’s almost meditative, Zen-like, to step back and just look at situations with a clear, fresh perspective without projecting expectations onto your child.