An Interview with Cherry

Author of "The Kind Of Butch I Am" and "Lifeguard"

How did you choose your pen name?
Cherry was a nickname given to me by some close friends. They just started calling me Cherry and it just kind of latched on. Considering the succulence that I conjure up through erotica, the name Cherry itself is quite fitting. Don't you think?

Why (and how) did you begin writing erotic fiction/poetry?
Now that I think about, it was 18 years ago now that I wrote my first erotic poem entitled "See-sawed and Spineless." When I look back at it, I was in a different state of mind then and wasn't in a safe space to fully embrace my erotic self. I wanted to but I had all kinds of personal drama going on and identity issues at the time that I couldn't fully embrace my erotic self.

When I wrote "See-sawed and Spineless" it was during my first relationship with another woman. Let's just say that it was a very rocky relationship from the start but what came out of it was a very interesting piece. What's even more interesting is the method I chose to write it. We were both Scrabble players at the time. One hot summer day, I took the words from our combined game and came up with this erotic piece. The end result was breath taking. Who knows, maybe one day I'll be brave enough to submit it.

How long have you been writing?
I've been writing actively since the age of 13. When I was kid, I really got off on science fiction (Asimov, Bova and others) I also dug spiritual and existential things. "Karma Man" which I wrote at age 17 was my answer to Hesse's "Siddhartha." I was a repressed and unhappy Catholic back then and writing freed me from its social dominance.

What really motivated me to write was the inability to speak out against all the *konflamma (see below) that was going on at home. For me writing was more than just a teenage rebellion, but it was one of the few ways I knew how to stay sane amidst a very insane environment.

[*combustible drama that's on the verge of becoming atomic.]

I also started writing songs at age 17. The early songs reflected a lot of myself in them at the time. All in all, I started writing a combination of song lyrics, poetry and short stories. Today, it's the same variety that have been doing for the last 21 years. Over the years I have added essays, letters and published articles to my working anthology.

How do you get ideas for your stories?
I get a lot of my ideas from dreams. They just come to me in dreams as seeds. I just so happened to be so lucky to remember most of my dreams that have the most significant impact in my life. Sometimes I use the seeds of the dreams to build a story around. And at other times I'll just record the dream live just the way it happened. I really like to capture and communicate the emotion of it all. The best way I manage to achieve this is by running to my computer immediately after I wake up. Writing in a slightly dreamy and groggy state, I capture whatever emotion I am experiencing at the time. When I dream, it's usually the most vulnerable state that I'm in and my emotions are quite raw.

Travel is another way that I get ideas for writing. I find that the more I get away from the routine of my day to day work life, the more I can connect with the environment around me which is usually very rich with seeds. I was on vacation recently and went to the beach. I was so intrigued by the "Lifeguard" that I decided to write an erotic short story about her. Tssk, tssk, if only she knew.

How long does it typically take to write a story?
Not long at all. I can write a short story in 1-2 hours. Once I'm in my element, I'm really there and nothing can detract me from that. Lately, I've been writing these one-page synopses for future stories. This helps me a lot with organization.

How do your stories reflect (or compare to) your real life experiences?
A lot of my very early writings primarily reflected my real life experiences at the time. At the time it was vitally necessary to survive. Nowadays, I find it important to take myself out of my writings, even when I'm writing in the first person. I like for my writing to reflect an observation of the human experience. I believe that the more we tell our stories, the more people can benefit from those experiences. And in the case where those observations are but dreams, I believe that the subconscious is another realm of communication in as much as a healing space.

What stories (or creative projects) are you working on right now?
I'm working on CD project that is 95% complete. It's called "Whatever it Takes" on Star Records and published through La Voz Music. "Whatever it Takes" is a collection of songs that I written over the past 15 years. Most of the songs however, were written in the last two years.

I've just written an outline for a science fiction story called "In the Wake of T.O.M. (The Orange Movement)." It's a Jim Jones meets environmental science fiction meets political satire. I just love a good satire.

Have you published stories anywhere else? If yes, where?
In 2000 "Good Ole Fashioned Sleep" was featured as a spoken word piece in Miche Braden and The PAC's "Chu'ch" a comedy about the Black church and how it could be potentially liberating for everyone. With a bit of Baduism as a backdrop, it was fabulous!

Other than that, no, not really. I have just been collecting them and only very recently have gotten comfortable sharing my stories and writing in general.

When can we look forward to reading something else by you on Kuma?
I'm sure sometime soon in 2001.

Read The Kind Of Butch I Am or Lifeguard

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