Welcome back to Three by Five and part II with Sarah Bracey White.
VAH: Sarah -what is your full time job and how do you feed your writing?
SBW: I am an arts consultant to a Westchester, NY town of 83,000 people. I curate exhibits by local artists in public buildings, manage a writing program for young children (I designed the program as I would have wanted when I was a young writer), sponsor a poetry contest for poets of all ages, manage a group of poets who take poetry into underserved places like hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, prisons, etc. I also edit several publications and write grants to fund all my programs. The job challenges my creative side and feeds my love of people, which in turn fuels my writing.
VAH: This is one of my favorite questions: What books or authors keep you up at night (because you can’t put them down)?
SBW: All of Reynolds Price’s early books, especially Kate Vaiden; Shogun, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I especially love self-help books.
VAH: What about a movie about your life and times, who would play you? What would the theme song be, and why?
SBW: Now this is an interesting question because I’ve often heard that I’ve lived a cinematic life. Maybe Kimberly Elise or Thandi Newton. The theme song would be Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” (LOL.) I like to think that I’ve led a quiet, circumspect life. But I really haven’t!
VAH: If you had a super power, what would it be and why that one?
SBW: It would be the ability to change into anyone I want to be because that’s been my quest all my life. As a writer, I get the chance to create characters and delve into their minds.
I’d also like to be able to time-travel. During my younger years, so much seemed unimportant that I forgot to remember things that would make my non-fiction writing easier. Some parts of my life traumatized me and I “forgot” things in order to stay sane. If I could go back in time and relive some of my early experiences, I’d pay closer attention – maybe even keep a journal. It would enrich my writing.
VAH: I’m with you there. I eschewed journal writing since all my friends seemed to do so, now I wish I’d kept such better records for the same reason – to help remember and write those stories. Sarah, are you a finish the book once you’ve started kind of reader or leave it for another if don’t like the book sort of reader?
SBW: If a book doesn’t grab my interest quickly, I stop reading it. I don’t waste time doing anything that doesn’t meet a need for me. However, if the book has been recommended by someone whose judgment I trust, and they’ve told me I need to keep reading until I get to the good parts, I’ll keep reading. That first happened with Shogun and I was amply rewarded with a great read — my long-time favorite, in fact.
VAH: I couldn’t put Shogun down the first time I read it either.
Here is a sample of Sarah’s writing: The Wanderlust