Isn’t it fascinating how people’s faces change as you get to know them. As we slowly begin to relax into conversations and our walls start lowering, or, as in my case, I quit projecting what I think they are like and actually see and/or listen to who they really are, the initial public face starts to melt revealing the truth below. This snap judgement is a chronic problem for me (and dare I say a lot of other people), to the point where I don’t trust my first impressions any more and certainly do not hold any sway in the theory that the first seven seconds are the most important in a meeting. Now that I am, however, aware of this and wish, very much, to remedy it I have taken to trying to watch, or I should I say feel, how the situation evolves on a more energetic level. The subconscious dance that goes on right there beside us as we chatter away can be a lot more revealing than what we are saying, while the silent power plays can be better viewing than an episode of West Wing! I loving bearing witness to the ways we navigate each others ego, fears, assumptions, like a jelly fishes tentacles we hesitantly feel each other out. But old habits die hard and when I first met writer Sarah Gerard I decided with in the first five seconds of our hang out that while she was breathtakingly beautiful, she was also quite cold and a little shy so would most likely be difficult to shoot! Awesome! And then I stopped. I gave my judgmental self a slap around the face and told me to just shut up, to breathe and listen. So I did and slowly but surely right before my eyes the beautiful ice queen thawed into this soft spoken, always laughing, vulnerable, intelligent,and very easy to shoot woman.
Born and raised in sunny, but a little messed up, Florida there is absolutely nothing shy about this petite freckly beauty. As her new book, Binery Star, can attest to, life was definitely not a box of chocolates for her. Counting calories since the age of seven she spent the better part of the next fifteen or so years in the desperate clutches of anorexia, only finally breaking free when, after a near death experience, she realized dying wasn’t so awesome, while life actually was. Mix in there a bad boyfriend or two, a spell in rehab, some hobo living, which ended when she jumped off a moving train and sliced her face open leaving her with a scar right down the middle of her perfect face and you have the ingredients for her first book. Loosely based on her own life, this book describes the dark relationship between two addicts as they take a road trip across America. Readers be warned this is not a light read…at all…and like any horror movie worth its scary weight in salt it never gives you a break to just breathe. Her stream of unhealthy thoughts were so real and so raw that at times I found myself so uncomfortable I wanted to crawl out of my own skin while simultaneously diving into the pages and giving the terrified girl a hug and a cheeseburger! The book came about as a result of an essay she wrote for the NY Times which grabbed the attention of an agent who insisted she turn this into a book and from there it has grown into the very much talked about, certain to be a cult classic, first novel. Sarah always knew she wanted to be a writer, it was writing, in fact, that brought into
her life the biggest source of joy, her husband. She saw a short story of his that he published on his blog and liked it so much that she asked if she could use it for a literary journal she was running for a local art gallery in Florida. Together they edited it, communicating back and forth to each other, via email and its far more romantic cousin snail mail, slowly falling in love over each others words. It was a beautiful love to witness whilst I was over there. Her love for David was so strong that whenever he entered the room or joined in with our conversation she literally lit up their entire studio apartment with her giddy smiles and laughter. Quite different from the lady I first, wrongly, assumed she would be! Right now, as we speak, these two love birds are some where in America, on a book tour, driving all over promoting, Binery Star. I have this wonderful image in my mind of the two of them….It’s late at night, they are in a small crappy but cool little car and are driving thru the desert. There is no one else around for thousands of miles. Suddenly the silence is interrupted by faint music and a car engine, but you can’t see where this noise is coming from until David says something and the whole car lights up, exploding out of the windows into the darkness as Sarah laughs at what he said. Like a shooting star streaking across the desert the car drives on, slowly getting smaller and smaller, finally disappearing out of the picture, onwards to happily ever after….The end…. or perhaps just the beginning of the shining career of Sarah Gerard.
Who is Sarah Gerard?
A constant revision.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A singer, an olympic gymnast, a teacher, a lawyer, a Broadway actress, or a social worker, or all of those things at once.
How did you get to be where you are?
After spending many years trying to avoid fear and failing at it, I finally decided to try embracing it. Another version of this story goes: After spending many years being afraid of what I didn’t know, I finally decided to try admitting it’s okay, even better, not to know everything yet.
If you could go back in time and give your sixteen year old self some advice what would it be?
Feel everything. Write everything down.
If the wardrobe in your bedroom would lead you to another world what would your Narnia look like?
A place where every person has what he or she needs to pursue happiness.
By day you are ….. by night you are….?
By day I’m the circulation director for BOMB Magazine and a writer; by night I’m a writer and event planner and moviegoer. At both times, I’m a wife and a friend. I’m a constant reader. I’m constantly lost in thought.
What was one of your favorite past projects?
I recently finished an essay about my estranged best friend of 17 years, called “BFF”, which is coming out this summer as a chapbook with Guillotine. It was really difficult to write because there’s so much history there. But I’m glad I did it. I felt a huge weight lifted.
What are you working on now and what do you dream of happening in the future?
I’m working on a whole collection of personal essays now, of which “BFF” will be a part. I’m also working on a few projects with friends—one of them, an anthology that I’m putting together with two women writers, is particularly exciting to me. I’ve also started outlining a new novel, and have turned my focus back to my hometown, on the Gulf Coast of Florida. In my wildest dreams, my future will consist only of creative pursuits and nothing else.
What song do you love that you keep secret cause its too embarrassing to say publicly you like it?!
Hardly anything embarrasses me anymore, but recently an ex-boyfriend sent me a picture of a mix CD I made for him my senior year of high school, and that song list was super embarrassing. Dashboard Confessional, Taking Back Sunday, this band called From Autumn to Ashes…yikes.
Which version of Pursuit of Happiness do you prefer, Kid Cudi’s featuring MGMT or Barbaras?
Good question. It would probably depend on my mood, but I’m going to go with the Kid Cudi version because the lyrics aren’t all that strong—it’s really the music that carries this one.
Are you a morning person or night person?
Both. It’s kind of a problem.
Any advice for peeps just starting out?
Keep practicing. Keep your eyes open. Keep your mind open. Don’t worry about rejection—it’s inevitable.
Is there a quote or mantra you live by?