An interview with Corey Ruzicano from The Write Stuff series:
Corey Ruzicano (she/her/hers) is a writer and educator from the San Francisco Bay Area. Whether writing, producing, or teaching she seeks to empower voices and stories that encourage empathy. As a creative producer she has worked with P Carl and David Dower at Arts Emerson, Jeanine Tesori at New York City Center and Siena Music, Diana Oh, Victor Cervantes Jr. and Lloyd Suh at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and The Lark. As a writer her poetry and arts journalism can be found on HowlRound, Stage & Candor where she was Editor in Chief and in countless poetry journals. As an educator she has run programs that use arts to teach leadership and emotional intelligence for 826NYC, A BroaderWay, Subway Moon, Second Stage, The National High School Institute, Everytown for Gun Safety, Words on White, and her collective, C.Lab, where she builds programs for non-profits, corporations, schools, and community centers that make spaces for difficult conversations. She assists Claudia Rankine, poet, playwright and Yale University professor and founder of the Racial Imaginary. With all her work, she believes expression belongs to all of us and is necessary to evolution.
When people ask what do you do, you tell them…?
At the risk of sounding either deeply naive or deeply ridiculous or both, when people look at my strange, meandering resume I usually try to draw a spine through all my many projects as: a way to actively apply the question, (how) can we teach empathy. Whether writing, producing, teaching, facilitating, through all these different lenses, I am trying to democratize creativity and offer tools for expression as a means to evolution.
What’s been most important to your writing: education, or the real world? Why?
The real world, every time, but I should note that my real world includes a lot of educational spaces with young people, and that’s who and what has been most important to my writing. Working with young people unlocks me and my curiosity and my willingness to look like a total fool. It’s where I most consistently and most readily recognize my self. Being in community with people of all kinds of perspectives is the most important thing to me and my writing; I write selfishly, to try and make sense of it all.
If you could give advice to your 15 year old self, what would it be?
Examine the things you’re saying no to. Examine the things you’re saying yes to. Make sure you know what you’re building with your habits.
Describe the shoes you’re currently wearing.
Black upcycled Frye boots I waited the majority of my 20s to buy with the hopes of feeling like a chic adult ready for the world when I did. Still feel like a kid but now at least a kid in nice shoes.
What kind of work would you like to do?
All I ever want to do is put disparate things in conversation with one another. My life is infinitely better and larger for having had access to places for different perspectives to commune. I want to be and make and stand in a place for different perspectives to speak to and learn from and enlarge one another.
What was your last moment of awe?
This morning. The sun across the sky. The dog warm at my feet. California. A heart too full.
What are some of your favorite smells?
Laundry, fog, lime blossom, garlic, passionfruit, salty ocean air, coconut sunscreen, chlorine