22 October 2012

new craft essay: add real stuff

My craft essay, "Add Real Stuff to Your Fiction," is included in the first Forest Avenue Press' Seven Questions Series collection edited by Laura Stanfill, Brave On the Page: Oregon Writers on Craft and the Creative Life. The book is a collection of interviews and flash essays by and about Northwest authors, why and how they write.

"Writing can be a lonely thing to love," writes Stanfill. "And yet we all commit the same brave act—confronting the blank page every day. No matter what the cost, no matter what the outcome, we set our other obligations aside to write."

I am one of those writers. Once I told my mentors Stevan Allred and Joanna Rose (from the Pinewood Table), "I quit every day. And then, every day, I start again."

I am honored to be included in Brave on the Page alongside the other 41 Northwest writers, some of them my dear friends. It is, as Stanfill says, "something to celebrate."

 - sherri

17 October 2012


I have gone into the earth
mud to its bones

below the winter rains
heart slow
skin cold
to sleep.

I have gone into the sky

ligament and feather
pulse pushing
body-shaped space
in the wind

Into the wake of rivers

rusty green
weeping snowmelt
milfoil filling the
gap of fish.

No use.

I come here every year


old remorse
as the rains 


~ sherri

"Once upon a time
when women were birds
there was the simple understanding
that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk
was to heal the world through joy."

~Terry Tempest Williams

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