By Michelle Trauring
“When you’re open to the world, magic happens.” -Monte Farber
Ask Monte Farber and Amy Zerner how they met, and they will say without hesitation—and in unison—“On the set of a porno movie.
Technically, it’s true. Even though everyone had clothes on.
“It was October 23rd of 1974,” Mr. Farber said. “I was playing bass in a band that had been hired to do a rooftop party scene in New York City. Amy was the girlfriend of my girlfriend, and we needed extras for the scene, and there she was.”
“You never know when the time is right,” Ms. Zerner said. “But we were like magnets.”
“And we’ve never been apart since.”
Four decades later, their house in Springs—the one with the purple door, Ms. Zerner says—is a time capsule of sorts. It is where she grew up, and where they made a home. It is where they built their first studio and saw their success grow both independently—she as a collage artist, fashion and jewelry designer, and he as a psychic, tarot reader and astrologer—and together as authors.
It is a home filled with mutual respect, never-ending laughter, eternal love and a certain energy nearly palpable over the telephone. And it is a life they are careful not to take for granted, Mr. Farber explains.
“Our relationship, really, is so different that we do feel like we’re in this enchanted bubble, and that’s one of the reasons we like to be together,” he said. “It’s a confirmation that the world can be this enchanting place.”
“That you can manifest the kind of love that you want, and I think we affirm that in each other,” Ms. Zerner added. “The love just makes us grow like flowers.”
“And we’re very aware of how fragile it is, speaking of flowers,” Mr. Farber said. “We know it can end at any second. We’re very protective of it and at the same time realistic. It’s the middle way that Buddha talked about. You can’t really get too excited because you know it’s gonna end—and at the same time, you have to appreciate it.”
An Enchanted Beginning
On any given morning, Ms. Zerner can be found in her studio—which is attached to her home via a breezeway—while her husband dozes in the same bedroom she’s been sleeping in since she was 16.
Moving to East Hampton in 1967 from a rural town in Pennsylvania was a culture shock, she recalled, and the one constant she had was her art.
“One of Amy’s first memories is sitting on her grandfather’s knee painting leaves on his paintings of the Pennsylvania hills when she was 3,” Mr. Farber said.
“I came from a family of artists. I have drawings from when I was little that are queens and princesses and stars and moons, simple versions of the imagery I use now. I even used to make clothes for chipmunks,” she laughed. “If I had to make a living, I wanted to do it as an artist. Very single-minded, I guess.”
She turned the floor to her husband. “When did you first realize you were artistic, Monte?
“I still haven’t realized it,” Mr. Farber said, cracking her up. “Every morning I wake up and say, ‘Wow! How did I get here?’ Amy touched me and my life is so wonderful. I never ever would have thought it would be this wonderful. Never.”
“He had a difficult childhood,” Ms. Zerner explained.
“It’s um, I mean …”
“His father was a cop in Brooklyn, so he never really understood Monte,” she interjected, giving her husband a moment. “Monte was really smart and original, creative.”
“I dreamed about Amy one day and I felt the love that I had now,” he mused, “and naturally I wanted to go back to sleep because my life didn’t have that kind of love in it—at that point.”
When they met, he couldn’t take his eyes off her. It was cliché, it was fast and it was real.
“I feel so lucky to have met her,” Mr. Farber said. “Incredibly lucky. When I met Amy, it’s like my life started.”
“And he was so different from anyone I’d ever met,” Ms. Zerner said. “I just thought he was so smart. He’d write a song for me and play it for me over the phone. He was into metaphysical things. I was studying astrology and he, all of a sudden, started studying it and became so much better at it than I was.
“But we just always shared these mutual interests and spiritual growth, and it’s turned into what we do for a living. But it’s just a seamless lifestyle of how we live and think and share. It’s all the same energy.”
Their newest endeavor—two coloring books, “Enchanted Tarot” and “Enchanted Worlds”—were born from the same place as Ms. Zerner’s tapestries and fashion line, Mr. Farber’s psychic readings, and more than a dozen books collectively.
“Monte always says if you come from a dysfunctional family, it makes you psychic,” Ms. Zerner said. “All families are dysfunctional somehow, but if they’re truly dysfunctional…”
“You have to come in, in the morning, and read the energies of what’s going on, what are you walking into now,” Mr. Farber interjected. “And that’s why I think it makes you a little psychic. I had some prophetic dreams, but I never thought I was psychic, unfortunately, until Amy’s mom passed away. I wanted to contact her and I was able to do it.”
Almost 20 years ago, Ms. Zerner was beside herself with grief, searching her house for any and all memories of her mother. They had been best friends. Not long after finding a stack of old greeting cards that her mother had made, Mr. Farber offered to try to make contact.
The first message he received was, “Don’t be a poodle.” It didn’t make sense to him, but he said it out loud to his wife anyway.
Ms. Zerner went back to that stack of greeting cards and pulled out one that had a poodle on the cover. Inside, it said, “Goodbye.”
He hadn’t seen the cards previously, she said.
“So, in other words, she was saying, ‘Don’t say goodbye,’” Mr. Farber explained.
“It was just so perfect and sweet and like my mother,” Ms. Zerner said. “It felt so right on and surprising. I framed that card.”
He says he considers his physic abilities to be just another one of his senses—and will put them to use on Saturday at Guild Hall, as part of the “Table Talk” series. He doesn’t feel unnerved by them as long as he “doesn’t look down,” he said.
“In a way, it’s like driving a car,” he said. “If you really think about what’s going on, you’d get right out and never drive again.”
“And also, we use our intuition a lot, which isn’t always rational, or sometimes gives you messages that don’t make sense at the time. But if you have a strong feeling, you should listen to it,” Ms. Zerner added. “We try to encourage that in other people with the kind of books that we do, for people to rely on that, because our educational system doesn’t nurture that.
“At all,” Mr. Farber grumbled.
“It’s such a compass that we all have,” she said, “but you kind of have to use it, or else you lose it. And this is how we work together — we love sharing what we do in different ways.”
“If we’re not together, it feels strange,” he said.
The Secret to Enchantment
Mr. Farber and Ms. Zerner are radically different, she started to explain, before her husband jumped in.
“She’s a lot nicer than I am,” he said. “Amy is, like, sweet and amazing, like her mother was.”
Before he could get another word in, she playfully interrupted. “Monte is more gregarious. He can walk out on stage and speak to 1,000 people. He loves that. I’m more introverted and shy. So we kind of balance each other out that way.”
The list goes on. Ms. Zerner’s sense of time is impeccable, as is Mr. Farber’s sense of direction. While standing, he soars a foot over her—the top of her head resting right under his chin. “We kind of fit together, like a Lego,” he said.
She’s a morning person, while he’s a night owl. It gives them just the right amount of alone time—an essential part of any successful relationship, they agree.
“I think the thing we argue the most about is temperature,” Ms. Zerner said. “I get cold easy, he gets hot.”
“And I can be pretty dense,” he added. “Amy will be kicking me under the table and I’ll say, ‘Why are you kicking me?’
“So that’s embarrassing,” she said.
“Should I not have said that?”
“It’s embarrassing when it happens,” she clarified.
“See? I’m dense right now,” he laughed.
“Obviously, a sense of humor is the most important thing,” she said.
Along with a healthy dose of common ground, they said. Since the beginning, they have always had the same taste in music, film, even furniture. They see themselves as open to all possibilities and the world. And they avoid drama at all costs.
“Here’s something we’ve never told anyone,” Mr. Farber said. “When we walk …”
Ms. Zerner burst into laughter.
“When we walk,” he continued. “Our feet go in the same direction. It’s hard to describe, but my right foot turns out a little bit more than my left foot does. Amy has the exact same turnout.”
“We wanted to do research sometime to see if soul mates are like that,” Ms. Zerner said, collecting herself.
“Sole mates—get it? Ha-ha,” Mr. Farber deadpans, sending his wife into a fit of giggles again.
“Don’t ever tell anyone else that again,” she said.
“Well, that’s it, then,” he said. “It lives and dies with you.”
Monte Farber and Amy Zerner will present “The Enchanted World of Creativity, Color and Clairvoyance”—featuring a mini-tarot reading, book signing and a discussion on the couple’s creative collaborations—on Sunday, December 11, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Guild Hall in East Hampton. Admission is free. For more information, visit theenchantedworld.net.