Retired and Atlanta-based U.S. Air Force captain Mark David Gibson makes his debut as an author with his memoir, Served in Silence. The book takes you on Mark’s journey before, during, and after the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, and recounts how he goes from an existence in shame and secrecy to presently living an authentic life. Although Mark tells his very personal story, the theme of struggling to live life authentically is a universal one that will touch us all. Peach caught up with Mark and his partner, Aaron, to talk about Served in Silence.
What was your motivation to write this book?
I want Served in Silence and my journey to highlight the adverse effects of living in the shadows and a less than authentic life. I was inspired by finally achieving authenticity in both my professional and personal lives, which is a lesson I wanted to share with others.
Also, teaming with Lost-n-Found Youth and learning the perils of LGBT youth who aren’t accepted by their families squarely lands at the intersection of young people struggling to live authentically and finding their way forward. This is why this topic is so crucial and timely.
What has the writing process been like for you?
Luckily for me, I teamed with an incredibly talented group of people from Publish Your Purpose Press, in Hartford CT, an LGBT-owned and certified business. I tried to make it fun and enjoyable for everybody involved, but make no mistake, writing a memoir is hard work.
I was so excited once I got plugged into PYP which, in turn, led to the creation of the Publish Your Purpose Press Podcast – An Author’s Journey (now available on iTunes and on markdavidgibson.com/podcast).
What are some of the important lessons readers can learn from the book?
I agree with RuPaul when she says, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?!” Life is difficult, stop being so hard on yourself. Love yourself. In addition to loving and accepting yourself, the importance of developing conflict management skills early in life. Authenticity wins every time.
You are planning a big launch event at the Fox – what can people expect from that?
The launch event is not only a celebration, but it brings the message of Served in Silence center stage highlighting the importance of living authentically. I am honored to have Eugene Cornelius (SBA), Sam McClure (NGLCC) and Jenn T. Grace (PYP) as part of the program because it demonstrates the intersection of authenticity for me personally and professionally.
People can expect to hear from my Publisher and leaders in LGBT economic development. An opportunity to learn that the first step in authenticity starts today. The launch of Served in Silence will be an enjoyable evening at Atlanta’s Fabulous Fox Theatre; guests will have an opportunity to meet me and other distinguished guests from around the country. Plus a fantastic after party celebrating my partner’s birthday!…There will be cake!
As the author, what is the targeted audience of Served in Silence?
I believe Served in Silence is for all audiences. I use the example of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy of how I served in silence. There could be househusbands or professional women that are serving in silence in some degree or capacity, use my memoir to predict the hazards.
What do you want the Atlanta community to know about this project?
My partner and I are firmly committed to supporting the LGBT community across the country. We feel that one of the best ways to accomplish this is by intentionally selecting LGBT professionals to support that end. As a certified LGBT business, we understand the importance of supporting our community.
What’s next for Mark David Gibson?
The Served in Silence book tour across America and Europe (fall 2018). Continuing to enjoy an authentic life with my partner splitting time here in Midtown Atlanta, Lake Oconee, and our Airbnb in Savannah. Between work, a book tour, and speaking engagements, it should be an exciting and productive year.
Tickets for the 3/31 book launch are still available at MarkDavidGibson.com/events. To learn more about Mark David Gibson and to order your copy of ‘Served in Silence,’ please visit markdavidgibson.com.
#LiveAuthenically – Live on!