Beth Steidle and I met working at McNally Jackson Books, in Soho. I knew nothing about her when she started; she offered little personal information, but would answer questions if I asked. I came to learn she was a writer. Then I came to learn she was a visual artist. One night, we found ourselves taking the train home together, and I learned she was working on a book about her father, who died of kidney cancer.
I read Beth’s book The Static Herd in one sitting because it’s slim and full of her pen-and-ink illustrations, but also because its arresting language and hybrid style make the experience of reading it feel huge. Beth uses medical terminology like a star map, guiding the way across the alien terrain of her family’s grief, through the much more familiar, natural landscape surrounding her family home. The Static Herd is a book in pieces—like a body breaking down—and reading it is an attempt to fit that body back together and give its end meaning. Before the publication of my own first book, Binary Star, I asked Beth to talk with me for Vol. 1 Brooklyn.
Beth Steidle is a writer, illustrator, and book designer currently living in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has appeared in Drunken Boat, DIAGRAM, KGB Bar Lit Magazine, and several print anthologies. She received a 2015 Pushcart Prize nomination for work appearing in Fairy Tale Review. Her first book, The Static Herd, was published by Calamari Press in 2014.
Sarah Gerard is the author of the novel Binary Star and the chapbook Things I Told My Mother. She’s published short works in the New York Times, New York Magazine’s “The Cut”, the Paris Review Daily, Joyland and other journals. She holds an MFA from The New School and works at BOMB Magazine.