Interview with Philip Gaber, author of Between Eden and the Open Road

Publisher: Philip Gaber

Publish Date: June 23, 2012

Order From:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: Teasingly mysterious, preposterously sparse, this collection of imperfect art populaire is brought to you in surrealist Technicolor. Read these small tales from the unconscious with unafraid eyes, when you're barely tired or leading a life of sloth or on the threshold of maturity struggling to find a place outside yourself or if you've just woken up and can't believe what's become of your life.

Author Interview: Q. How did you come up with the idea for your book?

The idea really evolved once I selected the pieces for the book.  Then the themes began to emerge.   One reviewer called the book an exploration of “persistent and life-eroding human qualities: angst, longing, spiritual agony, all-encompassing frustrations, drunkenness, disappointments and all manner of neuroses.”  That's fairly accurate.  Although, in my opinion, the book is nowhere near as heavy-handed as that description.   It's comprised of many lighter and funnier moments.  I also believe it's accessible and relatable to most readers.

Q. Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?

No, not really.  Then I think you can potentially sound like you’re moving into the patronizing zone.  I don’t believe it’s the job of the writer to be pointing out any messages for the reader.  That’s totally up to the reader.  The ideas and story and characters will either work for the reader or not.  And I’m totally fine if I don’t reach someone.  It doesn’t mean they’re any less intuitive when they end up scratching their heads after reading my book; it just means they didn’t prefer it.  The way some people don’t prefer Brussels sprouts. 

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about the book?

Sure, I can always find something that needs tweaking.   I once read that Tennessee Williams constantly revised his plays and that he created several versions of them, which I think, is interesting.  I can see how that can happen.  I never seem to be able to get it down on paper exactly the way I’ve envisioned it in my head.  There’s some kind of a breakdown that occurs between what my brain is telling my fingers to type and what my fingers actually end up typing! 

Q. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Marketing it; I really have to hype myself up before taking it to the streets.  I’m not a natural salesman, I’m laid back, almost horizontal, as my father used to say, and you totally have to be “on” when you’re promoting your book, so that’s been a challenge.

Q. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Well, I've been writing for a very long time and only a handful of people have actually read anything I've written, so I think essentially what I'm learning is, whether or not there is an audience out there for this kind of stuff.  This was purely an experiment.  My one and only goal was to see if my humbug would fly outside of its cage.  If she comes back, battered and bruised, tattered and frayed with one wing clipped and the other one in a sling, c'est la vie and all that.  At Least I gave it my shot.  And that's about all anyone can hope for in this cock-eyed caravan.

Q. Did you have a musical playlist you listen to when writing? If so, what kind of music?

I don't usually listen to music while I'm writing.  I like to write in complete silence; it helps me to focus.  However, I constantly listen to music throughout the day and my taste is pretty eclectic.  I listen to almost anything.  Music probably inspires me more than anything else.  Currently I'm listening to a lot of jazz and classical; two forms of music which I find the most satisfying and helpful to my writing process.

Q. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I’ve been writing on a regular basis since I was about ten.  I’m not exactly sure why I began writing.  My parents wrote when they were younger, but they never really pursued it.  Maybe it was in the genes.  One of my arm-chair theories is that I had a lot of crazy thoughts floating around in my head and I was probably just blurting them out ad nauseam to anyone within earshot and finally somebody in authority came along, my parents or my teachers and said, “You shouldn’t be saying those things!  That’s totally inappropriate”.  My first reviews, right?  And I internalized all that and told myself, “Okay, if I’m not supposed to say those things out loud, I’ll just write them down and not show them to anyone.”  So, in one sense, I think writing became a way for me to manage all those thoughts.  Who knows?  It still mystifies me.

Q. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

There are more than a few.  Three that I continually revisit are Sam Shepard, J.D. Salinger and Richard Brautigan.

Q. Tell us your latest news.

I'm in the process of contacting local independent book sellers and trying to get them to carry my book.

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Give the book a chance.  Read it and decide for yourself how to interpret it.  So often we, as consumers of books, music, art, literature, wait for the so-called experts to tell us what it all means.  Sort of like when we were in high school and waited for our ninth-grade English teacher to tell us what Shakespeare really meant!  Fifteen hundred people can look at a Picasso and come away with fifteen hundred different interpretations.  And that is exactly how it should be.  Even my own interpretation of my work will likely differ from yours because your life experiences and the prism through which you view the world are different from mine.  My hope is that my stories will have some sort of impact on some reader’s lives, maybe even affect them on an emotional level.

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