Up Close With: Jerome Gerard
With a head full of philosophy and music in his soul, this week’s featured patron is an Aussie without the accent. New York-dwelling songwriter Jerome Gerard might live in the US of A, but his heart is global, his veins pump with the need to create. He writes to make a difference, to make his mark, to change the world. He’s also our latest volunteer writers hour host to take this hotseat. People get ready: it’s Jerome!
- Based “adjacent to the city that never sleeps — it’s Brooklyn, baby!”
- Writes songs, scripts, essays, and short stories.
- Volunteer host for LWS writers hours
What are you working on right now?
I am working on an article concerning reforestation to address climate change, a magical realism novella, and I am remixing two old R&B songs to be dance tracks. I find I want to do more projects than I have hours in the day. I am learning the lesson of focus as elucidated by Steve Jobs: being successful at something is about “saying no to 1,000 other ideas.”
Where and when do you write?
I write in the morning when my mind is in a clear zen-like state and my will cuts through the dross of societal expectations like a samurai’s blade cuts through his enemies’ lacquered leather armor. I used to write a lot on the subway but I’ve rarely taken the subway in the last year and a half.
How do you write?
I write on my computer and sometimes on my phone as it’s the easiest format to edit. I find that my work requires many revisions for me to use language in an immediate and personal expression. I’m in awe of that generation of writers who wrote on typewriters, committing themselves to the linear inked page.
Why do you write?
Death drives me to write. The idea that I only have a finite time to express the ineffable experiences and adventures of this zeitgeist. The fact that our ancestors are watching us — will we have stories worthy to tell them when our time is done? I hope to share stories that stretch believability to their limits.
What inspires your creativity?
Consciousness inspires me, and how stories are the measure of what is appropriate for us to remember and what we leave out as inconsequential to our narrative.
What’s your favourite book?
The book Dune was incredibly impactful when I first read it ten years ago, and I recently re-read the book in anticipation for the Denis Villeneuve adaptation. The book isn’t memorable for any cute turns of phrase or crescendoing moments of pathos. It is memorable for the wisdom it imparts concerning colonisation, independence from technology, human evolution and ecology. Through the characters’ thoughts we witness a world of declining empire and environmental degradation. It is with the backdrop of a political revolution that these characters choose to break the traditions, and create something new, by overcoming their fears and choosing to live as if the past, present and future were simultaneous pathways. The Dune Trilogy teaches that we must not look outward to heroes or political leaders, but search inwards to rely on one’s own judgement and mistakes. The book’s epic scale mixes with the grounded mysticism of the Freman to show that true power is the mastery of one’s own conscioussness.
What’s the best advice you’ve received about creativity?
The best advice I received on creativity was watching Neil Gaiman give the commencement speech to the University of the Art in 2012: “Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do. Make good art.”
I listen to this speech whenever I feel overcome with anger or sadness and need to be reminded that all hardship is fodder for inspiration.
What’s the one thing you would tell other/aspiring writers?
Our world is built upon philosophical, ideological and economic structures — all these frameworks came about because someone imagined them. Imagination is the most excellent human resource. The ability to imagine what has not come before or might come or could come in the future has allowed humans to survive and thrive. This also means that the structures of our society are malleable; with a big enough wave of new information, writers can change the course of human history.
With this in mind, I would tell other writers to believe in their own voice and believe in what they write. With every word you type, scribble or pen, you delineate a new perspective for how we live.
How can we discover more about you and your work?