26 June 2012

begin the last

Summer residency at Pacific University concluded with Ellen Bass speaking about sentiment versus sentimentality, all the pomp and circumstance of formal graduation for many of my friends, and the mother of all wiffle ball games in the wet grass between the dorms. I am still exhausted two days later.

If there is a single word to describe these residencies for me it is confluence. The coming together of writers and poets from all reaches, Oregon to Hong Kong, Idaho to India. The coming together of ideas and stories, poetry of deep emotion or vital hilarity, each of us brimming with passion and the love of craft.

This was the last full residency for me. The next one will be my thesis presentation and the culmination of my degree. It doesn't feel like nearly two years. Nor does the next stretch of six months seem like an adequate amount of time to finish this phase of learning.

I remember telling one of my dear professors, Dr. Merlin Cheney at Weber State University, how it felt like the more I learned the less I knew. It is the same now. As if the world has opened up to me, and I stand as the tiniest being on the brink of something immense.

So begins the work for the final stretch.


 ~ sherri

22 April 2012


Some writers play inspiring music while they write in their private studios. Some need a visually stimulating work space. Since my days are usually crammed with a regular day job, kids and family, and I have no private space of my own, I can write anywhere—living room, kitchen table, coffee shop, library, dentist's office lobby, front seat of my car. My words come from somewhere else.

That being said, my favorite preference is to be accompanied by the game of the day: basketball, football, soccer, rugby, horse racing, lacrosse. Sometimes just ESPN Sports Center. Even with the sound muted, I like the action on the screen and a quick score check.

Lately, it's baseball.

Yesterday I watched a perfect game. Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox pitched the 21st perfect game in the history of the MLB, a game that happened to be against the Seattle Mariners. The final out came on a dropped third strike. I doubt Humber could breathe while his veteran catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, scrambled for the ball, firing it to first to secure the final out.

Humber dropped to his knees. He stood in time to be mobbed back down to the ground by his ecstatic team. The Seattle fans gave Humber a rousing standing ovation.

It was a perfect game, but its beauty was the imperfection. In the 9th, Humber backed himself into a 3-0 count against Michael Saunders, his nerves showing a bit before he was able to drop into the zone, fanning Saunders with a slider. Then John Jaso sailed a high fly into right that Alex Rios snagged. Ending with the final bobbled strike.

Humber dropped to his knees.

Those breath-holding moments show us what's at stake. Reveal our shortcomings. Make us human.

It's what brings a stadium to an ovation for the visiting pitcher. Stings our eyes with tears for someone else's victory.

Drops us to our knees.

Write about that.

~ sherri

"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives."
- Jackie Robinson, #42 Brooklyn Dodgers

13 March 2012

an intriguing interview

Read the interview:

» Ask the Author: Sherri H. Hoffman

This is a nice follow-up to the publication of my story, Blue, by PANK Magazine. Plus it was a fun interview. Seriously. Talking about sea turtles, blowing things up, Lassie, hangovers, and the perpetually cool senior at my high school, Brad Darrington.

My thanks to the editors and staff at PANK for such a fabulous publishing experience. What a great mag.

~ sherri