“On any given day I struggle a lot.”
Question: What keeps you sane?
Harris-Lacewell: Well I’m not particularly sane. I mean I . . . (Chuckles) . . . On any given day I struggle a lot. You know I’m a single parent. I’m raising the five year old daughter. You know there are days when I feel very unloved, and very broke, and very tired. And then there are days when I’m feeling, you know, fantastic and like I’m on top of the world. I think more than anything it is my sense of calling. Now whether it’s a religious sense or a more secular sense, I don’t think I could be doing anything else. I imagine, “Well what if I had just become a lawyer, or a doctor, or a physicist?” All great and noble professions. I can’t even visualize or imagine those things. This is what I do because it’s . . . it’s just what there is to do. And at some point maybe I’ll do something different. I don’t see it as a “for all time”, this will be the only thing I’ll do. I imagine lots of other kinds of possibilities at some other point. But right now to have a voice; to have the privilege of a place like Princeton undergirding my ability to do this; to have students who respond and who I respond back to; to have a kid who needs me every day; I mean it’s kind of like saying, “How do you get your kid to school every day?” Well what choice . . . You know because she’s gotta go! So I feel that same way about my work. I just feel compelled to it.