Ruth Fitzmaurice was born in 1976 and grew up in Co. Louth, Ireland. She was a radio researcher and producer when she married film director and writer, Simon, in 2004 and had three children. In 2008, Simon was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and given three years to live. Simon went into respiratory failure in 2010 and was accidentally placed on a ventilator during an emergency procedure. He decided, against medical advice, to keep the ventilator; Ruth and Simon went on to have twins in 2012.
In January 2016, Ruth wrote her first piece for the Irish Times about family life and a new passion, sea swimming. She lives in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, with her five children Jack, Raife, Arden, Sadie, Hunter, a dog and a cat. Simon passed away in October 2017.
Ruth’s memoir, I Found My Tribe, is available now in paperback published by Vintage and priced £8.99.
Describe a typical day for you?
I get up before sunrise like a deprived monk, feed the dogs and drive down with my wolf companion Hachi to the Cove for a quick sunrise swim with friends. Then I head home satisfied and blue, warm up in the shower, sit down with a hot coffee to write in my journal until the five ducklings venture out of bed, demanding food and my attention. There’s a mad whirl of breakfast, clothes, lunchboxes and stray shoes until I get them all out to school. I come home for my writing time. Until school pick up, this is my world. Once the five come back, I am immersed in them again with dinners and activities, till we all collapse in bed relatively early and the cycle continues again. It’s a pretty sweet set up really.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
These five fiery souls, each so different that all somehow grew in my body. Without a doubt.
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
I love this question. We used to ask it to the audience when I worked in radio and get the most bizarre of answers. Right now a variety of LEGO men and women, A Han Solo figure with a dog chewed arm at odd angles, various pens that don’t work, my journal, bits of sea glass and pottery I picked up on the beach, a grubby kids sock, a cocktail stick flag that was stuck in a kids burger, a lump of driftwood, some hair bobbins and a Sebastian Barry theatre ticket from a book festival in Ennis I just spoke at.
What are your ambitions in life?
To live, love, swim, write. Eat good stuff while I’m at it.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
What a career was. I still have no idea. And that whatever it is, you never need stick to just one of them.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I honestly don’t look past next week. I would hope to be in exactly the same frame of mind in five years time.
What advice would you give an author?
I’m always cautious about giving advice, but if asked, I would present the same advice I whisper to myself. Follow your creative impulses. Say yes to most things. Whatever makes you feel alive, do that. Write, write, write and don’t stop writing.
What do you wish you’d known about motherhood before having kids?
Absolutely nothing. The adventure is all in the discoveries. It’s all about practice and adaptability. Like all things in life, you should never stay stuck.
Finally, happiness is…
The perfect cup of coffee. I’m a simple creature really.