Who is Sebastian Gerard, anyway?
Sebastian Bianchi and Gerardo Claps (original spelling of the Clapp name) were my grandfathers, who both immigrated to New York from Italy around the turn of the century (the other century). They both came over in steerage, and they both could dig a helluva ditch. Sebastian came from Abruzzi, and Gerardo from Potenza (near Naples). Gerardo's surname might have got changed at immigration and he left it alone for fear of being sent back. Names also figure in Sebastian's legend; that some work gang foreman kept mispronouncing his name to sound like "bastard," provoking Sebastian to pull his knife, after which he had to get out of town.
So when I considered adopting a nom de plum for fiction, music and other works not directly associated with my academic life, employing their names seemed like a good idea. The first effort was an album of music recorded on my Yamaha Clavinova, entitled Porkpie, which included several original compositions by the Sebastian Gerard "Trio." I then used it for the author of my book of proverbs and aphoriams, Lifelines. By the time I embarked on For Goodness Sake I was pretty comfortable with my alter ego. I mean to honor my grandfathers by using their names for my work. I hope I have managed to do that.
Sebastian's first full-length work of fiction, FOR GOODNESS SAKE, A Novel of the Afterlife of Suzie Wong. For information on how to order a copy--autographed, if you like--write to email@example.com. It is also available from Amazon.com
JAZZ STANDARDS AND ORIGINAL COMPOSITIONS
Life Lines was originally composed under the title Life Sentences and consisted of 100 pages that were less that an inch high, allowing for only one sentence per page. The sentences are aphorisms that I had composed over several years in my journals. Peter Pauper Press decided to publish it, but felt that Life Lines was a title that fit their list better, and so that is the version you now have in the typical little book size, with Sebastian Gerard as its author on the title page. Peter Pauper also decided that some of the aphorisms that dealt with religion and sex were better left out of their version.