Memoirist of the Month, November 2013: Sherry Ainscough

“I look forward to my daily dose of wit, humor, and intelligence from SMITH writers every morning with my coffee.”

Name: Sherry Ainscough
Place: Central Alberta, Canada (of course)
SMITH member since: February, 2012

Sherry Ainscough

We are fortunate to have Sherry Ainscough sharing her own daily dose of wit, humor, and intelligence as the writer who goes by canadafreeze. Sherry just passed the 2,400 stories mark—quite a feat in less than two years—making her a central player on Peruse her Six Word musings and one sentiment rises to the top: wisdom. “I’d rather polish words than furniture” is a wonderful example of another winning Six: “Wit and wisdom, more powerful together.” From “Pay your dues. Earn the applause” to “Monotony not monogamy causes marital madness,” her edgy advice comes with equal doses of humor and insight. Our editors love, “Might’ve bloomed if planted somewhere else,” particularly because Sherry has bloomed beautifully since she planted herself on SMITH in 2012. A fabulous T-shirt with the Six Words of her choice is coming to Sherry, our Memoirist of the Month for November, thanks to our friends at Spreadshirt. Discover more about Sherry’s place on our playground in just Six questions:

How did you first hear about Six Words and SMITH?

In February 2012, I submitted a Six-Word Memoir to a local radio station for a Valentine’s Day contest. The challenge was to write ‘your best breakup line’ in six words. Mine was, “Just won the lottery. Bye, honey.” It was chosen and I was smitten. I have been writing in six-word increments from that day forward.

In March of 2012, I landed on the SMITH site. It felt safe, welcoming and, for the first time in my life, I started to write publicly. One of my first memoirs was, “Unfolding, six words at a time,” and that is exactly what I have been doing for almost two years. I have worked through a lot of emotions in Six Words.

When did you start writing, and what have been turning points in your creative life?

I have been writing for as long as I could hold a pen, which is still my preferred writing tool. I’ve written in journals and diaries since I was a teen. Writing is cathartic for me, and, periodically I have a ceremonial burn, which I also find cathartic.

A few years ago, I started a creative writing circle when a friend asked me to help write her story for her daughter. There were five of us who wrote and shared stories once a week. It changed the way I used my writing.

I once wrote a Six-Word Memoir about a favorite sweatshirt. “Worn and wrinkled and still sexy.” It remains a favorite for obvious reasons. Another is “Menopause: complex sentence with no periods.” It was one of the first memoirs I wrote, and there was so much positive feedback, I was truly overwhelmed. I even received personal encouragement from L2L3 to copyright it. I was gobsmacked.

When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?

I love to cook, play with a camera, spend time with my puppy, dance in my kitchen, and read.

I am married, have two daughters and a son, three grandchildren, a grand-dog, and a dog-in-residence. I recently retired from a career in public education. I was a school librarian for many years and I loved it. During the latter part of my career, I worked with International students, and that opened the world to me. In the summer of 2004, I lived with a Mexican family in Guadalajara where I participated in a cultural and language program. Muy bueno. I also participated in a cultural and language program in Beijing just prior to the 2008 Summer Olympics. Those experiences reinforced my belief that there is power in brevity. Ni hao.

What authors inspire you or do you admire?

Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Lorna Crozier, Lisa Moore—all Canadian writers and all women—inspire me daily. I grew up on biographies, John Steinbeck and Jane Austen. I read voraciously. I think Stephen King is one of the most brilliant writers of our time. His book, “On Writing,” is never far from me.

My shadow makes a good sidekick.

Is there someone’s writing on SMITH that’s especially moved you?

I love the flare of accidentaltourist, the strength of DynamicDbytheC, the wit of notjustagirlintheworld, the resilience of lillybrook, the tenacity of LetTheWolfin, the warmth of JL333, the fresh eyes of Solstice22, the fierceness of ShellDeFelice, the heart of NumbrOneAunt, the playfulness of Bevvie, and the love story of ADHDean and Jenn2008.

The spirit of Level1, the cleverness of TeaTopper and everything from Believe—stunning. Steve_Anthony, Staraj and BanjoDan? Brilliant. I just plain love the wisdom of Loon, _Miracle, Contemplative, catsmeow and ctgoods2. Oopsalittle, favepeep, and marymc always give me something to ponder. There is no end to this sentence—my admiration grows daily.

I look forward to my daily dose of wit, humor, and intelligence from SMITH writers every morning with my coffee. SMITH Mag is a great playground. It is also a wonderfully supportive and therapeutic community of writers. It is so much more than a social network—it has the feel of family and you can’t fake that. I am delighted to be part of this community. It means the world to me.

Finally, Sherry Ainscough, what are your Six Words for today?

Work and play, but mostly play.

28 Comments » for Memoirist of the Month, November 2013: Sherry Ainscough
  1. favepeep says:

    You are lovely! I’m sorry I didn’t respond earlier–these are hard to find! I think I already knew that we were kindred spirits of the librarian kind. I love Alice Munro and I think you introduced me to Lorna Crozier! I’ll have to check out Lisa Moore.

  2. DynamicDbytheC says:

    It is nice to officially meet one of our most Northern memoir writers. Many of your memoirs as well as your comments gave me a smile and you kept me coming back for more. You are part of the fabric of Smithmag. Thank you for that. You may be from cold country but you are one hot writer.

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  1. […] brilliant creative minds contribute here. Canadafreeze answered this so beautifully last month, I don’t even want to try and follow in her footsteps. The big fear in naming names is that […]

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