with Meaghan Strimas
HLR: How do you schedule time to create?
TH: I try to write and/or draw every day, even when it's frustrating or hard. I usually start a couple hours after my husband leaves for work. If it's going well, I may work into the evening. I don't really differentiate between weekdays and weekends, although it's easier for me to work when the house is empty.
HLR: What obstacles (real and imagined) make it a challenge for you to find time to create, and how have you dealt with them?
TH: Because I'm in active treatment for cancer, I have to work around my treatment, which is sometimes frequent, but not always. I also have to work around my health. Sometimes it's easy to work, but sometimes the treatment temporarily cripples my hands or leaves me very tired. Drawing is especially hard when I'm not well, so on days when that's not available to me, I try to write. Typing is easier than holding a brush when my hands are in bad shape. I try not to be too frustrated when my body is an impediment, and to be grateful for the time when it's easy.
HLR: Do you find you work better when your schedule is clear, or when you are pressed to find time?
TH: I work better when my schedule is clear. I like to take my time to quietly think, sometimes even meditate to open my mind to clear thinking. That said, there's nothing like a looming deadline to push me to clear my schedule for work.
Teva Harrison is a writer and graphic artist. Her graphic memoir, In-between Days, will be published by House of Anansi Press in April 2016. Her long-running weekly graphic series on living with cancer is published with The Walrus magazine, and she has commented on CBC Radio and in The Globe and Mail about her experience. Numerous health organizations have invited her to speak publicly on behalf of the metastatic cancer community. She lives in Toronto.