Gail Fishman Gerwin – “Next Big Thing” Interview
Thank you to an inspiring poet Adele Kenny (www.adelekenny.com/adelekenny.blogspot.com) for tagging me to participate in this informative site; it is a superb way to acquaint and reacquaint us with our colleagues.
What is the working title of the book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
My world, past and present, real and imagined. Family provides rich and universal material for poetry. Love, feuds, anger—and oh yes—baggage are all part of the larger society in which we live. I also felt that it was important to record life slices that affect one’s ultimate retrospection, perspective, and anticipation. The narratives in this book are vehicles for rediscovering youth; recalling influences; exploring what is gained, lost, and feared along the spectrum, including health issues; aging; and hope for following generations as they build memories and confront their own challenges. As part of the picture, I wanted to give voice to those lost in the Holocaust.
What genre does your book fall under?
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Without question, if she were alive, I would love Audrey Hepburn to play me as a young adult; how I wish I could think of one of today’s actors as impressive as she but alas, I can’t. The late Ethel Merman would have been perfect for my Aunt Helen with other raucous actors of that era as my mom and her other sisters. (I also can see Bette Midler taking Aunt Helen’s role.) I cannot cast the Holocaust characters but my children and grandchildren can play themselves.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
This is an exploration of how family, friends, passing acquaintances, images, and experiences can impact a single life.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
The poems from this book started to take shape even before my first book was published in early 2009, with a satisfactory product ready to go to print in fall 2012.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I write. Others create visual art. Others share through conversation. It is crucial for me to record my story and to pass a legacy to the next generation and hopefully to reach a larger readership able to identify with my experiences, which are not unique but simply there in a different costume. Like many, I didn’t ask enough questions when my parents were alive and I regret it but I have found documents, letters, and many photos, and have used these to let my children and grandchildren know who I was and how I felt about this and how I feel about them. I began this process with my first book Sugar and Sand and continue to add narratives to their collection. I also wanted to provide a sharp sense of place and to project the warmth that memories allow.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Yes, there is painful gravity in some of the poems; gravity is part of everyone’s life and hopefully readers will identify with the universality of it and not feel alone. Isn’t that what communication should do? But even more than that, I think humor and the hopefulness of life and the role these play in tempering difficult situations are crucial to share with others. A good smile and even a chuckle in the solitude of reading can’t hurt.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
For this book I created my own publishing company: ChayaCairn Press. I hope to publish others’ works as well. I process book orders via firstname.lastname@example.org.