All February long, I've been celebrating Girls Who Wear Glasses in honor of my 19th Century bespectacled Pippa and One Good Earl Deserves a Lover. I planned Girls Who Wear Glasses month about six months ago, knowing that I was going to invite some of my favorite writers, artists and ladies in lenses to join me to celebrate spectacles. A few months ago, Eric and I headed off to an Ani DiFranco concert and discovered an amazing band called Pearl and the Beard. On their website, they describe themselves as: three voices, one cello, one guitar, one glockenspiel, one melodica, several drums, one accordion, ninety-six teeth, and one soul.
They're also two girls and a guy who wear glasses -- Jocelyn Mackenzie, Emily Hope Price, and Jeremy Styles.
Oh, and I should mention that they're awesome on a number of levels.
"Eric," I announced. "They would be awesome for Girls Who Wear Glasses Month!"
Reader, I was not wrong. I'm so excited to share the interview I did with Emily & Jocelyn below...and to giveaway some Pearl & the Beard Swag...and hopefully make Pearl & the Beard some fab new Romance fans.
Sarah: Part of what I love about your songs is the clever writing...so I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you're a trio of readers...so...if Pearl & the Beard were a book...what kind would you be?
Emily: If we're talking about Genre, I would say a children's fairy tale book - but the OG kind: the ones that were really for adults under the guise of being for children (blood, guts, betrayal, evil, etc) or a Roald Dahl fairy tale.
Jocelyn: I'd say we'd be a Choose Your Own Adventure book for kids, but with a lot of curse words in it. Or Go The Fuck to Sleep.
Sarah: One of the best parts of a romance novel is the first meeting...let's talk about yours: How'd you find each other...and how'd you know that you three were destined for each other?
Emily: Once, long ago, a mermaid was spit out of the sea onto a deserted beach. Knocked unconscious, she began to wither away in the sun. Jeremy, a sailor at the time, had been living in a lighthouse for several years just a few miles away from this same beach. One morning he went collecting fish from his traps in the ocean, like you do, when he came upon the mermaid. He saw her face and began to weep it was so beautiful. A single tear dropped into the mermaid’s eye. Suddenly, her tail fell off and flipped away into the ocean!
Jeremy screamed like a little girl, but the mermaid's upper half (which of course was a beautiful girl), started to shake and, without warning, it turned into none other than a beautiful shining guitar. With strings. And it was tuned. And it had an extra 9 volt battery in its pickup. And you could hear it without needing to plug it in to a sound system for MILES and MILES. It was amazing and completely magical. And it was FREE! He looked at it longingly for several minutes and, at first cradling it, then impulsively raising it to the sky, screamed, “PEEEEEAAAAARRRRRLLLL!”
Emily and Jocelyn, sisters of the now deceased beached mermaid-turned-guitar, heard his cry from the ocean and swam to him. Now, Jeremy had a huge beard – it was like a beacon to them – calling them by name. It glowed in the sun!
”BEEEEAAAAARRRRRDDDD!” they called back. ”You killed our sister! She is a guitar now. You jerk!” Now, everyone knows the only way to get your guitar-mermaid sister back is to shave the beard off of the person in possession of the guitar and sprinkle its remains into the sea. So, Emily and Jocelyn are cursed to be with Jeremy and his guitar forever until they can successfully shave off Jeremy’s beard. Hence the name: Pearl and the Beard.
Jocelyn: Also, we met at open mic nights in New York at Pete's Candy Store in BKLYN and Sidewalk Cafe in Manhattan, respectively.
Sarah: As a writer, song lyrics are a huge inspiration for me while I'm writing -- these days I'm particularly fond of Voice in my Throat (I recently wrote a whole scene inspired by "You're the dream, and I never woke.") -- what's your trick for unlocking creativity?
Emily: I find creativity can sometimes be like trying to get a kid to do his math homework (or any homework for that matter). Sometimes, possibly not EVERY time, you need to trick him into thinking he ISN'T learning or ISN'T actually doing his homework. This is what creativity is like sometimes. Sometimes we need to trick ourselves into being creative - games and exercises are one way of waking up the creative monster that will so often hide from us in his den of slack and potato chips. It works - you have to be diligent and patient, but it works!
Jocelyn: Thanks for being inspired by us! I'd say I'm personally inspired by mundane moments that then turn into analogies. Voice in my Throat for instance started simply by narrating what I was doing: "I walk down the road and I'm alone again." When a narration turns to a third person voice, I can often then see the situation from a third eye and it can quickly turn quite poetic. Also, don't forget to read a lot, look at a lot of art, listen to a ton of new music... any new art form you have in your arsenal is a tool that can teach you new ways of seeing, hearing, experiencing the world.
Sarah: Perfect advice. Now for the most important question! Who's Your Favorite Lady in Lenses?
Emily: I just found out that Christina Hendrick's wears glasses! YES. But I wouldn't say she is a "glasses wearer". A ton of famous women actually need to wear corrective lenses but most done contacts, so you'd never know. It's a little unfortunate actually. Women who are "known" for wearing glasses are usually older women - Like Diane Keaton. But there's also Janeane Garofalo - both women I like.
Jocelyn: I'd have to say my mama, Annemarie. She's so beautiful! Musically I'd vote for Danielle Ate The Sandwich.
Let's talk about music! What song or artist inspires you? What song can make you happy even on your darkest days? What band have you seen a million times in concert? Share your musical obsessions in comments for a chance to win this AWESOME Pearl & the Beard swag -- their t-shirt and their CD God Bless Your Weary Soul. Amanda Richardson.
One winner, US only, will be chosen on Tuesday!