When a writer tells you one of her next projects is a comic book based on the premise that Nikola Tesla and Marie Curie team up to fight the Order of the Golden Dawn, you know she's not your average creative mind.
"I like to joke that I am a professional hipster," said award-winning poet and nonfiction writer Jade Sylvan. "I mean, look at me. All I do right now is write, perform my poetry, put on shows and teach yoga - that's all I do. I wear second-hand clothes, but I like to drink craft beer. I'm covered in tattoos.
"I feel like hipster is something that people call other people, not themselves. It's like a lower, mythical creature. It's a term to make other people feel bad. Usually, I'm making fun of myself when I trash talk hipsters."
It's a good thing she labels herself, because it's hard to know exactly what title to give Sylvan. She takes on the role as creator, writer and/or performer for an almost endless amount of genres, including film, folk music, hip-hop, comedy, drag, visual art - the list goes on. She also co-founded the nonprofit Massachusetts Literary Education and Performance Collective (Mass. L.E.A.P.) which hosts Louder than a Bomb in Massachusetts, a poetry slam for young writers.
She is appearing at Seersucker Live at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18 to promote her new autobiographical novel, "Kissing Oscar Wilde."
Sylvan said she chose to write "Kissing Oscar Wilde: A Love Story in the City of Lights" as more of a novel, rather than a memoir.
"I'm only 30. I feel like memoir has certain connotations that I don't feel like apply to my book," Sylvan said. "For me, I read a memoir because I am interested in the person because they are famous and accomplished in a certain way, and for me, I don't feel like that is why people are coming to my book.
"It's written more as a novel. It has the story arc of a fiction novel. There are several forms that come to play - some of the book is poetry, some is a play. I used lots of different literary devices."
Sylvan said the fiction aspect also serves an underlying theme that living life is a fiction.
Yes, she says living life is a fiction.
"I see everything as myth and archetype," Sylvan said.
"Questioning life is definitely a thing that has been a consistent part of my personality. There are certain people who are questioners - I'm one of those people. I like to break systems. I like to ask questions.
"In the book 'Kissing Oscar Wilde,' I set out to break romance. I wanted to deconstruct romance and question what love means to us - what romance means to us."
During the same time Sylvan wrote "Kissing Oscar Wilde," she also wrote the companion novel to a film she co-wrote and starred in titled "Ten." It is a story about 10 characters, and was written in 10 chapters, with each chapter dedicated to the perspective of one of the characters.
"In 'Ten,' I set out to break personality," Sylvan said. "I wanted to break the idea that our identities are these fixed or essential things. I wanted to prove identity is a choice."
She said she enjoyed focusing on trying to capture the essence of 10 characters and then shifting back to writing about herself.
"It was super fun to write about 10 characters and then to go back to 'Kissing Oscar Wilde,' which is super personal ... but both were trying to get to the essence of humanness.
"... That year of writing was my identity year."
So, after writing "Kissing Oscar Wilde," does Sylvan believe Paris is the most romantic city in the world?
"I think it is romantic, but it is partly because we think it is romantic," she said. "I think the only reason things are romantic is because we construct it that way, but that doesn't make it less romantic."
The Cakewalk Episode
For those who have never attended, the Seersucker Live events are part literary reading, part talk show and part cocktail party.
Two other writers have been invited to join Sylvan on stage for the Seersucker Live event Oct. 18.
Chris Fink, author of the fiction book "Farmer's Almanac," will take a night off his duties as a professor at Beloit College in Wisconsin, where he teaches literature, writing and journalism, to speak to the Savannah crowd.
"He's a friend of Chad Faries, a local poet and writing professor at Savannah State, so when his novel came out this year, we invited him down," said Zach Powers, Seersucker Live co-host for the evening.
"Amy McDaniel is a writer from Atlanta," Powers said. "She helps run the Solar Anus (reading series)."
Powers will co-host the event with Christopher Berinato, and singer/pianist Brian Dean will provide the musical accompaniment for the evening.
"It's called the Cakewalk Episode because we were looking at fall and thinking of fall festival events, and cakewalk came to mind for some reason," Powers said, laughing.
"Sometimes we pick a title that has meaning and sometimes we pick a random title, but we might even have a cakewalk that night. We probably will have cake. OK, let's just say, cake will somehow be involved."