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.
Nancy Kwan, who played Suzie Wong in the 1960 film, The World of Suzie Wong,and Sebastian
Gerard, at the premier of the documentary on her life at 20th Century Fox, To Whom It May Concern.
It's here: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. It is also available from Amazon.com
NEWS: Sebastian spent 6 weeks in march and April in Hong Kong and China, overseeing the launch of For Goodness Sake. In addition to the reviews below he gave an 18-minute on air interview on RTHK's program, "Morning Brew, and another 20-minute interview with Annemarie Evans of RTHK on May 3 and May 4, 2008.
Sebastian recently completed an 85-page feature film treatment, The Afterlife of Suzie Wong: Treatment , based on the book.
A 120-page feature film script, The Afterlife of Suzie Wong: Screenplay has also been completed and is available from So, if you happen to be a producer . . . . .
HERE ARE SOME REVIEWS:
From HK MAGAZINE
From the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, April 16, 2008
JAZZ STANDARDS AND ORIGINAL COMPOSITIONS
All music was performed and recorded on the Yamaha CVP87 digital electronic keyboard and is unmixed. Neither Sebastian, Gerard, nor Yamaha are responsible for quality, or lack thereof, of the music.
Porkpie was never produced, beyond copies that were duped for friends and family. The quality of the recording wasn' that good, but I am planning to digitize the tape and re-work it in digital format. If it can be improved I will make CD copies, but still only for family and friends. All songs on the playlist that are composed by "Gerard" are my own 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.
In the original I preambled that the aphorism, in either declarative or interrogative form, can be viewed as compressed sponge. Water it with a little reflection and it swells exponentially, revealing an underlying complexity and sometime profundity. Its “truth” may lie in its brevity, its paradox, its witticism, or just in the mind of the beholder.
And so this small book of sentences about Love, Death, Sex, Religion, Family, Friendship, Happiness, Politics – about Life. Its original title had a double meaning: that we are each born with a “life sentence,” some short, some longer, and in that span we may get a glimmer of its meaning and modes, sometime embedded in the single thought that might, like a sponge, be compressed into a Life Line.
Life Lines is available from Amazon.com, at Barnes & Noble, and from Peter Pauper Press.
Hopefully there will be more titles over the name of Sebastian Gerard. Two novels have been started by Gerard and there is a short story and some some lyrics. As non-fiction projects are brought to completion I hope to morph into Sebastian Gerard more completely.
See, for example, THE RIVER DRAGON'S DAUGHTERS in Works in Process.