Shana Gozansky is a freelance theatre director and adjunct professor and is now, much to her surprise and delight, a children’s book author. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband of 10 years and their 4 year old daughter, and approximately 45,000 stuffed animals that somehow keep showing up.
As a director, she has worked on a myriad of plays from devised to classical to new plays. She received her MFA from Brown University/Trinity Rep and received multiple fellowships and grants throughout her career. She directs at theatres across the country and has taught at multiple universities and colleges.
My Art Book of Love (Phaidon) is her first children’s book and it takes her deep love of visual art and combines it with her ability to connect with kids hoping to introduce them to the beautiful, wild world of art is an extension of imagination and play.
She also states that she pets as many dogs as possible and spends too much time wondering what it’s going to take to get her to finally declutter her home.
Describe a typical day for you?
I’m a freelance theatre director and children’s book author and primary caretaker of our 4 year old daughter so every day is a little different. Usually we wake up thanks to said 4 year old climbing into bed and and snuggling for 30 seconds before she begins, ‘needing’ things like ‘food’ or ‘water’. While my husband does the morning shift with her, I decide how together I want to look that day and dress accordingly. Then I drink as much coffee as possible.
If I’m not in rehearsal or meetings then I spend the day working on my computer, wondering why it’s so hard to drink as much water necessary, running errands, going to the gym/yoga, doing more work, doing school pickup, making dinner, attempting a social life, and wishing I could nap. After the kid is in bed, I either do more work or collapse on the couch in front of the TV wondering if 8:30 pm is too early to go to bed. If I’m in rehearsal or up against a deadline, then everything is a more confusing and chaotic version of that with much less cooking and exercise and way more childcare organising.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
Surviving adolescence, building a career that is meaningful to me, maintaining friendships over decades, my relationship with my husband and our little family, and continuing to try new things even though they scare me. And finally learning how to do my hair and makeup by the age of 40.
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
Oh my god. This question is far too exposing. OK. Definitely: random pens, old receipts and punch cards for cafes that are too expensive, 3 lippies, lotion, a pair of headphones, random paper napkins, band aids, Ibuprofen. Maybe: wallet, keys, phone. Aspiration-ally: reusable straws and cutlery, a book.
What are your ambitions in life?
To love deeply and fully (including myself), to feel joy on a regular basis, to know that I left the world a slightly better place than before.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
You need money to survive.
It’s OK to say no to an opportunity.
That you will be surprised and disappointed and that neither mean permanent success or failure.
That your idea of success is exclusively defined by you.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Given that my husband is in a PhD and my career is freelance I don’t actually know – we may be living in a different city or be where we are but in a house we own or maybe we surprised everyone and moved to Italy? No matter what we will have a dog and we will name that dog Pig.
What advice would you give a budding blogger and author?
Respect the deadline, be willing to start with something terrible, collaboration is key, trust your creativity.
What advice would you give a new parent?
Definitely have a lactation consultant’s number before you give birth if you plan to breastfeed. Accept help and food when offered. Know that you’re one of many people feeding a baby in the middle of the night wondering “oh my god this is torture also I love this baby so much also is that thing at the end of the bed a towel or our child?” Lastly, it’s ok to find it hard. Also, Game of Thrones isn’t a great show to binge whilst sitting on the couch with a newborn.
Finally, happiness is…
Great but aim for unbridled joy. Happiness is also making hot cocoa, sitting in front of a crackling fire, snuggled under a blanket with my kid and husband, wearing impossibly soft, fluffy socks, and not wearing a bra.