Five Questions for Sarah Kilby
Name: Sarah Kilby
1. Where did you grow up and how did you end up where you are now?
Well, I grew up in western North Carolina, in a town called Mt. Airy, and it is at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are part of the Appalachian chain, so a very beautiful part of the state, part of the South; a very small town. From there, I went to college in the South, and then lived out West in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for a few years before deciding that I wanted to go to graduate school for literature and creative writing and wanted to go to school in New York ,because I thought that would be the most dynamic experience, which it has certainly proved to be. So I applied to schools, got in, and made the big move a couple of years ago, and have not regretted it.
2. Which performance, song, play, movie, painting or other work of art had the biggest influence on you and why?
OK; two part reply: The first part being an experience that I had as a little girl, and thinking to myself that this is an important experience, when it came to art, was my parents took me to Europe when I was 15 years old, and I remember going to the Musee d’Orsay with my mother. She [introduced the work of] Degas in real life [to me] for the first time and she was so overwhelmed by that moment that she started weeping. And I remember, as a young girl, seeing her crying seeing Degas; standing there thinking, this is a real moment. And for me, it really was, and to see [the work] in person with her is something that I’ll never forget. And that was remarkable.
And the second part is just, I think as a writer, the artistic experience, just the everyday experience of reading and writing, and reading people that you love as a fellow poet, for me those are the most important experiences. Just reading poetry in a very rudimentary way.
3. What skill, talent or attribute do you most wish you had and why?
Well, this might be a very common reply – talent or skill – I would have to say singing or playing a musical instrument very well. And I think any creative person always wishes that [she] had the creative tendencies or attributes that [she] doesn’t. And so I always admire, so much, people that have a finely tuned singing voice or play an instrument and have played it their whole life and started taking lessons when they were younger and always kept up with it. Because I had to go to piano lessons when I was a younger girl and I hated it, and I never practiced, and its one of those things that you look back on now and you’re kicking yourself for it and thinking “Why didn’t I do that when I had the opportunity?”
4. What do you do to make a living? Describe a normal day.
<Giggles> OK, well, I am a graduate student at Brooklyn College, and I’m in my final semester, so currently, most of my time is spent by being a student. So when I’m not in academia, I’m a dog walker; I tutor: I’m a tutor for an online continuing education site so people that go back and work towards completing their college degrees later in life, I help them with their writing skills. Basically I’m a writing tutor, and that’s all via the web; all online.
So, basically a typical day would be spent getting up, doing some online tutoring, going down to school, going to class, going to the library, maybe walking a dog or two, and coming home. But I graduate later this month, and then I hope to embark on a new career that does not involve dogs; walking of dogs of any kind. It’s been many years of picking up poop for a living.
5. Have you ever had to make a choice between work and art? What did you choose, why, and what was the outcome?
I’ve never had to choose, and wouldn’t want to have to. For me, life is about balance and the ability to achieve some kind of serenity within oneself. I believe I can achieve both mutually.