Name - Sarer Scotthorne
Age - 46
Location Bristol UK
How long have you been writing? Forty years.
Do you have a specific writing style? Poetry; experimental, psycho-sexual and nature.
Do you write as a career? Yes
Do you write full-time? No
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer? Creating the volume of writing while studying for a Master of Arts in Creative Writing in 2013
What is your ultimate goal as a writer? I want to write a collection of poetry about women in martial arts. I have been a senior instructor of Tai Chi and Kung Fu for twenty years, and I would love to write about this in my poetry, perhaps as a project for a PhD. Also as writer I want to feel that in every piece of work I have created I have challenged myself to explore both the style and subject matter and taken it to its furthest limits.
What is your greatest challenge as a writer? Overcoming a lack of self-belief. It has taken me until I am in my forties to believe that I have the intelligence, and talent as a creative individual to do an MA, and collaborate with other writers and artists. It has been becoming a mother and my martial arts that has given me that confidence. Also I suppose life experiences and feeling that I have something I want to say, that I want other people to hear.
What projects of yours have been recently published? Four poems in an anthology called Cache.
What are you currently working on and what inspired this work? I am working on a long piece of writing made up of twenty-eight poems called The Blood House. It is inspired by my experiences after my father died two years ago, and over the time of the funeral the splitting up with the father of my children. I explore love, death and the effect the relationship with your parents has on your ability to form new intimate relationships.
Two of the chapters are love poems called Magic and Poison. It was really difficult steering clear of cliché’s. I take the reader to some dark and challenging places, it’s a big project but I have the structure and first three drafts complete.
Where can we find your work? http://thebloodhouses.tumblr.com/
How often do you write? Daily
How do you react to rejections? I don’t like rejections, but there is a certain pride that you are sending your work out there. It is frustrating when either you don’t get a response, or the editors say great poems we “might” use them, and you don’t hear from them again.
How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication? Fret and worry that I could have sent a better version in.
What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer? Don’t bother trying to stay sane, so long as you have some way to get your feet back on the ground when you need to. I have written some of my best work when I have been feeling like I have maybe gone too far into my imagination.
What is your favourite book? There a lot of books I love, Objects of Obscure Desire by Ian Sinclair, Satan Say’s by Sharon Olds, Demolition by Neil Rollinson, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, The Mysteries of the Udolpho by Anne Radcliffe, Lolita by Nabokov.
Who is your favourite author? Today it’s Sharon Olds, Nabokov and Ian Sinclair.
If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why?
I would love to have dinner with Columbo. I would ask him all sorts of questions about what his approach to detective work was. It would also be fun to go for a drive in his old car, and maybe he might take me with him to a crime scene, and afterwards we could go to eat Italian. We could discuss the details of the gruesome murder and see if we could work who did it. I would dress in fantastic 1960’s outfits and wear little leather gloves. Perhaps he would have his suspicions about me.
What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer?
I have the habit of getting involved with too many projects and then feeling overwhelmed. For example; I have an amazing piece of music composed by my friend Tony Salinas (Microtonal compositions, where the octave has been split into sixty-four notes) played by a major London Orchestra, I have written some autumnal pieces of poetry to be spoken over the music and shot a film, which has not been completed…yet. Put simply, not having enough time.
What is your favourite word? I don’t have a favourite, it wouldn’t be fair.
What makes you laugh? I laugh a lot with certain people who enjoy dark humor. I have travelled a lot in the USA and my English humor raised a few eyebrows. Sometimes I was joking around and folks thought I was being completely serious, and that I was perhaps a bit mad, or that my English ways were very eccentric. I like to be a bit outrageous. I enjoy comedy when it is very twisted.
What makes you cry? I cry when I am feeling vulnerable, when I am trying to share my deepest feelings. I cry when I am pre-menstrual sometimes, only sometimes honestly, or when it rains, my boyfriend particularly enjoys this about me. I can cry with joy, or from laughing so much. Good writing makes me cry, or music. And I cry sometimes when I see other people suffering.
What is your preferred drink while you write? Mostly tea, occasionally a beer (real ale only), or a glass of good wine.
Beach or Mountains? I love the sea, and coastlines. The UK is an island and has some amazing beaches. I often take my boys in my VW Camper Van to the Gower Peninsula in Wales, it has miles of empty golden beaches. It’s usually very bracing, but you can light a fire on the beach. I am a vegetarian and we cook all sorts of camp fire food. There is so much choice in UK of really tasty vegetarian food.
When I was in San Francisco I was very impressed by the veggie food. I worked on a summer camp near Boston when I was nineteen and the chef there made some really amazing veggie burgers from scratch. But the thing that really stands out about American food is the portion sizes. The plates are even bigger, the food was always amazing but you could easily end up a dress size bigger if you are on the road and buying food from diners.
But the feeling of being on the open road in the vast expanses of American is awe inspiring. On my drive from Boston to New Orleans I fell in love with mountains around Cherokee and I felt such a massive excitement about driving into the town and seeing lots of Cherokee Indians going about their business. Then when we hit the road and made it to the open planes of Carolina, it was such a contrast; golden prairies for miles, even the quality of the light became a lot more yellow. We got busted by the police for camping in a field that turned out to be a very rich person’s front garden.
I met lots of Native Americans when I was travelling in Nepal and spent some time with them on a lake in the Himalaya’s. They told me they were drawn to Nepal because of the trekking and the beauty of the landscape. I visited Don and Sunshine when I reached the USA, and drove up from San Francisco to Portland. They took me to the reservation and showed me their casino. This was a very strange and alien concept to me at the time, the biggest thing I had ever seen was a slot machine arcade at the seaside. The big red forests were just astonishing. In the UK we do have some very old forests; the oak trees can get pretty big, but no way can you drive a car under its roots, or pitch your tent in its roots; we had a bear visit one night and just stayed very quiet.
In the UK there are no animals that might kill and eat you; there are no scorpions, or dangerous snakes, so you can camp very happily without fear. The only real danger is the weather. People die every year in the mountains, or trekking on the moors when the weather changes. There can also be danger of flooding, and the sea is very cold and treacherous, but I adore our brooding clouds, rain and storms.
Cats or Dogs? Cats, I have a Maine Coone called Mitzy, and a fat, black and white moggie called India.
The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? The Stones, although I really admire John Lennon.
Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra? Hendrix, is one of my favorite musicians.
Shakespeare or Bukowski? Shakespeare
Please provide as much or as little of the following information as you’d like.
Personal website/blog: http://thebloodhouses.tumblr.com/
Facebook profile or page: https://www.facebook.com/sarer.scotthorne