Ann Douglas is the creator of the bestselling The Mother of All Books series and author of Parenting Through the Storm: Handling the Highs, the Lows, and Everything In-Between. Ann will be moderating the discussion on Bubble Kids on April 12th with Dr. Jean Clinton, Darryl Sturtevant, and John Schmitt.
Tell us about your participation in the 2015 Spur Festival.
I am thrilled to be part of a festival that is dedicated to spreading ideas and sparking social change. I believe that writers can change the world—that we have the power to tell stories that can change minds and shift conversations.
What do you hope Spur Festival attendees will take away from your session?
I hope that participants will gain some insights into what it’s like to be a parent today—and how we as a society can do a better job of supporting both parents and children: all parents and all children. We talk a lot about how “it takes a village to raise a child.” Let’s talk about how we can live up to the promise of being that village.
What is the one item you never leave home without?
My Fitbit. Walking has changed my life for the better (I’ve learned how to manage my anxiety and depression by being more physically active and I’ve managed to lose 132 lbs.!) and my Fitbit helps to keep me on track in terms of meeting my daily physical activity goals.
Which book is currently on your nightstand?
I just finished reading a really lovely and touching graphic novel: Displacement: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley. There is a small mountain of books on my nightstand, but that is the book that is on the top of the pile right now.
In the last year, what is the longest you have gone ‘unplugged’? No internet, no cell phone, etc.
When I’m up at the cottage, I tend to unplug as much as possible (I may not check e-mail or go on social media for a couple of days), but my cellphone is always turned on (in case one of my kids or another family member needs to reach me).
When I was writing my most recent book, I took an extended break (about four months) from both Facebook and Twitter for about four months. It felt great and weird at the same time.
Who was the last person you texted?
My high school friend Cathy. We may not see one another for months at a time (we live in different cities), but a text message from her always makes my day better.
The animated show The Jetsons was set in 2062. Is there anything from their futuristic world that wish were a current reality?
The ability to soar above traffic jams. I hate traffic jams.
How do you prefer to communicate with colleagues: by phone, email, text or in person? How do you prefer to communicate with friends?
When I want to have a heart-to-heart conversation with someone, I meet them face-to-face. It’s hard to exchange a hug via text message or e-mail. A hug icon is no substitute for the warmth of a real embrace from someone who really cares.
What do you love about Toronto?
I love going for walks in Toronto. Because I went to university in Toronto (shoutout to U of T!), Toronto feels like home turf for me. I always feel safe and connected and that’s a lovely way to feel.