December’s most-read author, Rena Sherwood, is the author of “Peter and Sid” a short story that manages to blend humour with elements of the surreal, and also makes a sharp commentary on the media’s obsession with celebrity.
Interview with Rena Sherwood
EDF: What should people expect when they see a story with your byline under it?
RS: “I wonder if that’s her real name.” (It is.)
EDF: “Peter and Sid” pokes fun at pop music stars. What do you think of the media’s obsession with them?
RS: In ancient days, our ancestors looked at what was around them to get a sense of tribal identity. They developed totems. Celebrities and sports teams are this generation’s totems.
EDF: Your bio mentions that you’ve spent time on both sides of the Atlantic. Have you noticed a difference in the writing communities of England versus Philly?
RS: I’m very hermit-like and don’t socialize very much. I’ve only met a handful of writers on both sides of the Pond, so perhaps I’m not the best qualified person to answer this question. They were identical–except for the accents.
EDF: What has been your best moment as a writer so far? Your worst?
RS: My best moment as a writer was discovering that you wanted to do this interview. This is my first interview that’s interested in my writing. Please be gentle.
My worst moment as a writer was coming home to discover that someone had set it on fire. It was already beyond saving–as well as the 800-page manuscript inside. At the time, I was living homeless in the woods, so the manuscript was my only copy.
EDF: Your blog is quite eclectic. Recently you’ve posted on everything from the eventual death of the Dalai Lama to Search Engine Optimization. Where do you get your ideas? Do you find that your blog has affected your career as a writer?
RS: Thanks for the the kind words about “The Perfect Blog Title“. I do try to make it different from most of the blogs out there. That blog is more about my spiritual journey, as well as a collection of bizarre thoughts and links. My writing is a large part of my spirituality. Just the act of writing has me merge with the cosmic mind (or whatever you want to call it). It’s where I feel the most alive and the most relaxed. Taking care of animals is also another very important part of my spirituality, so I write a lot about animals. And then there’s music. That’s the soundtrack to my spiritual life.
Blogs are great for writing exercises, honing your ideas to fine points and for self-promotion, of course. I have been able to use posts from my blog as writing samples to get freelance jobs. Blogs can be a very complex business card. But if more than 12 people have ever looked at my blog, I’d be really surprised. The only continual reader that I know of is my brother. That reminds me–one of these days, I actually have to start promoting my blog. Most of my writing energies are currently going into promoting my client’s web sites.
EDF: Your favorite subjects are listed as Peter Gabriel, guinea pigs, and model horses. There’s… um… gotta be a story there.
RS: Are you implying that not everyone’s favorite subjects are Peter Gabriel, guinea pigs and model horses? That’s hard for me to believe!
You really don’t want me to start on any of those topics. I’ll go on all day, especially about Peter Gabriel. He is, of course, the basis for Peter in “Peter and Sid.” He also influenced my short stories “Lost and Found”, which is in Susurrus, and “A Little Ways Up,” which is at the Story Station website.
EDF: What is next for you as a writer?
RS: What immediately is next after this interview is that I have to do a series of articles on Yorkshire Terriers, then five web content articles on liposuction. However, I don’t have a client who wants articles on liposuction for Yorkshire Terriers. Perhaps that’ll be next on “The Perfect Blog Title.”
2008 is already looking promising for me. So far this year, I have an essay in A Cup of Comfort For Horse Lovers, a short story in Mouth Full of Bullets, a science fiction story in The Lorelei Signal and several poems. Where are they now? Um, off the top of my head, they’ll be in Third Wednesday, Scifaikuest and Electric Velocipede. They’re all supposed to be out by June — we’ll see.
Currently, I have at least thirty short stories and a “let’s kill off humanity” novella which I’m tinkering with. Most of them are speculative in some way. I like to fuse fantasy and “soft” science fiction. I have a few flash fiction pieces which I’m considering to send to Every Day Fiction, but they need a another round of editing … at least.
Enough of me. Thanks for your patience and my thanks for everyone who read “Peter and Sid”.
EDF: Thank you, Ms. Sherwood, for your time.