Sarah Robinson’s policy is that sometimes you have to be a cunt. We here at CONVICTS fully endorse that sentiment. The Aussie author recently wrote the definitive how-to on nasty breakups titled Fuck Off and Die. With chapters titled “Chain Smoking,” and epic illustrations from Jade Foo, this is a must read for all heartbreak hating humans. Which, unless you’re a sociopath, means you.
CONVICTS caught up with Sarah at Emergence Creative Festival in Margaret River and got her word on many things under the Aussie sun. She explained that artistic dudes need to be better at life, office jobs corrode the soul, and why she’d fuck Donald Trump to save the world.
Hey Sarah, let’s talk about words. Swear words in particular.
It’s usually how I talk if I’m passionate about something. Sometimes if I’m not passionate about something and I think it’s superfluous, swear words are also kind of funny.
What do you think about the phrase: you’re a cunt of a thing?
Yeah, you’re a cunt of a thing. I don’t think I would say that. I’d probably use it in a negative way. Like just ‘Oh that guy’s such a fucking cunt.’ Even though I don’t think vaginas are bad things, for some reason that’s just the word that rolls off the tongue and I feel like it’s just an antique insult. Even though a lot of people hate it. My mother hates it. I just don’t really care.
So, to reclaim the word a bit, how is it okay to be a cunt?
How is it okay to be a cunt? If you feel like you have to be a cunt at some point then that’s totally fine. I always give myself like a cooling off period so if I wanna write a letter to someone or call someone and be belligerent, I’ll just wait ’til tomorrow and if I still want to do it, I’ll do it then. And then usually I don’t and then I’ve avoided like a tragedy of epic proportions. Sometimes if you feel like being a cunt, you need to be a cunt. But maybe just try to just like express it to someone close to you that loves you, before going to the source and then getting a restraining order against you.
So, segueing, you said Fuck off and Die is how you feel after a breakup?
I feel like that was too intense. I don’t care though I’m just gonna say it and not care about it. Because you don’t have to do that with your friend, which is, fortunate. But you do that with the human in your life and it’s really sad and hard and you end up grieving that. It’s almost like a death in a way.
Aside from your ex who would you hypothetically to Fuck Off and Die?
Oooo. Actually, not really anyone except a couple of Tinder dates I’ve gone on. Every now and then I’ve gone on a date and its just ended so terribly. I’ve just felt awful. I should’ve followed my gut before going out with them.
Who would you fuck to save humanity?
This question is really great-’cause like on what planet would you ever have to fuck someone to save humanity? The question is would I rather fuck my ex or Donald Trump, the easy way out would definitely be my ex. ‘Cause I would just have to lie there and be used to that anyway. I would definitely say Donald Trump cause I’m like wildly attracted to powerful, rich, men with complex hair. And also I probably wouldn’t be his type, so he probably wouldn’t like it and that’d be awesome.
Switching gears a bit, can you walk us through the creative process for this book?
Well, there were a few things that I did for myself along the way that really helped me. Which is why, some titles are called chain smoke and things like that, rather than things that required any kind of mental effort. Which is what I would do a little bit of, when I was drunk. I realized was it wasn’t about keeping an anxiety free life during that time, because after a breakup you super miss the person but you know that you shouldn’t be going back to them. So you need to just sort of get through that time, and then into the light. I just kept writing it, then finished it off and sent it through to the illustrator.
What happened then?
I forgot to send the illustrator a prefacing statement. So I just sent her the document and she got this titled message that said “Fuck Off and Die.” She was like, “What the fuck Sarah?” And then I had to quickly write like “Oh no man, I really like you. Can you work on this project with me?” And she said yes so I was pretty stoked about that.
Was it nerve wracking to show the book to people?
I’d sort of sent it around. I let a lot of people read it. It was more nerve wracking just like having a party, cause I fucking hate throwing parties. I get so anxious. I just wanna cry cause I think that no one will come, so I was stoked when people showed up. That was the most stressful thing. And the coolest thing was getting feedback from people who didn’t know me, saying that they enjoyed it or wish that they had had it when they were going through their breakup, that was really rad.
Alright next question. Is being an author better than being a lawyer?
Well I’ve never actually been a lawyer but yeah I assume it’s way better. I remember one of my friends when she was working at a law firm, they gave all the lawyers these big beach towels for Christmas. And she said she was standing in the elevator with one of the lawyers and said like “Oh, well I don’t really get to go to the beach but maybe I can just cut it up and use it into like a hand towel.” So I felt like that sort of encapsulated the life of a lawyer. I just feel like being in an office is like the death of your soul.
What was the most interesting piece of advice you got around the book?
One person who said something was the writer Sam Carmody. At the end of his workshop he said something that I’ve actually been thinking for a little while. My friend Jade and I always laugh about how the guys we end up with are like the struggling fucking broody artists. And how annoying that is.
The women we know who are artists and creative people can hold down a fucking job and that kind of thing. It seems like for men making music and all of that, there’s this real stigma about being brooding and suffering and at the end of his talk Sam said that he used to think that to be a writer he needed to be like that. But then he recently he realized that it’s unnecessary. That it’s okay to be a functioning person and also be a successful artist or creative. Sam wants to inspire men to step away from that stigma. And at the end of it I just kind of put up my hand and was like “Dude that’s awesome, because I totally agree.” I really enjoyed it when he said that to everyone ‘cause I thought it was quite brave for him to do that.
Haha I’ll be sure to pass that knowledge onto the rest of the writing team as soon as they start to brood. Thanks for the chat Sarah, good luck with the book.