JoshWool_Bookshelves

 

Sarah, tell me, is there anything more navel-gazing than a self-interview?

I was just wondering the same thing. If there is, I can’t imagine it.

 

Would you consider your inability to imagine it a personal failure?

One of many.

 

If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?

I would be able to elongate time and space while maintaining a fixed point of view separate from the elongated space-time, but still able to take advantage of its benefits. I would specialize in something that was actually lucrative so that I could travel, and I would be very worldly as a result.

 

Are you not worldly?

I just read a Fox13 Tampa Bay news story about a woman in my hometown who became obsessed with saving rats from her local pet store. By the time she was found out, hundreds of rats had taken over her house and were mating and dying in the walls.

 

What does this have to do with your book?

Was this supposed to be about the book?

 

Was this supposed to be about the book?

You tell me.

 

Do you want people to read the book?

Why else would a person write a book?

 

I can think of some reasons.

If you want to talk about the book, we can.

 

Does this self-interview resemble the book?

In the sense that it is a terse and self-deprecating, at times repetitive internal dialogue.

 

Is your book repetitive?

It’s obsessive-compulsive. It has some discussion of space-time and some morbidity. It’s critical and self-destructive.

 

Why would you write this?

I felt it was the only thing I could do in that moment.

 

Why would you write it in this way?

I felt it was the right way to do what I did in that moment. I feel it’s the best thing I’ve done.

 

So you think you deserve some praise.

Is that a question?

 

Did it sound like a question?

I’m uncomfortable.

 

Do you think you deserve to be comfortable?

I believe all living things deserve conditions in which they can make themselves comfortable.

 

Which leads me to ask: what’s with all this animal liberation shit in your book?

Shit?

You said shit.

 

I think I said stuff. In the book.

In her eating disorder, the protagonist relates to the conditions of caged animals awaiting either slaughter or experimentation.

 

How much of this is taken from your own life?

It’s a fictional story.

Does it matter?

Perhaps a great deal of it. But does it really matter how much of this is taken from my own life?

 

No, I think the focus should be primarily on the book itself.

I appreciate that.

 

The book should be considered on its own merit. You wouldn’t ask a writer of a book about pirates whether he himself were a pirate.

The issue is whether or not, reading the book, a person can relate to the protagonist’s struggle and care enough to see it through to its end. In that, the struggle should feel real to her.

 

This seems to be a question about credibility, then.

I think so.

 

But you are qualified to tell a story, whatever its topic.

And so are you.

 

So what’s with the star bullshit, anyway?

Easy now.

 

I’m just saying…space is cool.

 

_________________

SARAH GERARD is the author of the novel Binary Star. Her short works have appeared in the New York Times, the Paris Review DailyTin House and other journals. A Florida native, she now resides in Brooklyn and works at BOMB Magazine. Read more about her at sarah-gerard.com.

Author photo: Josh Wool

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TNB FICTION is proud to showcase book excerpts and original short fiction from some of the finest writers in the world. Features have included work by Aimee Bender, Dan Chaon, Stuart Dybek, Jennifer Egan, Bret Easton Ellis, Roxane Gay, Etgar Keret, Antonya Nelson, and hundreds of other internationally acclaimed and emerging writers. Spotlighting a recent book release each week, TNB Fiction helps bring awareness of new literary fiction, from both trade and independent publishers, to readers around the world, providing a global, free-access arena for spotlighting the genre in an era of shrinking coverage among mainstream print publications. TNB Fiction has its finger on the pulse of a vibrant new generation of writers, as well as established literary greats whose work continues to shape the future dialogue of literary culture. Fiction Editor Rachael Warecki lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review, The Masters Review, Midwestern Gothic, and elsewhere, and has received residency invitations from the Wellstone Center and Ragdale. She holds an MFA in Fiction from Antioch University Los Angeles and is currently at work on a novel.

One response to “Sarah Gerard: The TNB Self-Interview”

  1. Tawni Freeland-Crider says:

    Dear Sarah,

    Thank you for bringing The Funny back to the TNB Self-Interview tradition. (I’ve missed it.)

    I’m looking forward to reading your book,

    Tawni

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