Sara Jaffe

I’m My Own Grandpa is a novel inspired by the legacy of Sara Jaffe’s grandfather, who in 1947 wrote a song of the same name. In addition to delving into the origins and evolution of the song itself, the novel draws on Jaffe’s experience as guitarist for post-punk band Erase Errata, queer fantasies of midcentury songwriting and recording from the Brill Building to Dusty Springfield, and a narrative centering around a 40-year-old queer woman whose partner is trying to get pregnant. The novel asks, if biology is not destiny, what does a family pass on? What does it mean to think of a song as an agent/object of reproduction—as having its own fraught family tree? And how might queer reproduction offer a new lens for viewing the past, present, and future? In Jaffe’s practice, she uses research more as jumping-off point than foundation. While she is interested in investigating her grandfather’s song and the milieu in which he wrote it (and in which it was subsequently recorded and performed), what most excites her are the affects, images, and responses the song generates, rather than the “facts” of its history. The current form of the novel mirrors this distinction, as the narrative portions of the text are, in a sense, flights of fancy born from and entangled with the imprint of the song and its legacy.