Creative Careers in the Arts

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Spirited Woman Q & A

Interview with Storyteller and Spoken Word Artist Sally Shore

By Nancy Mills | Posted June 1, 2009 | Updated May 6, 2019

I love creative people. Not too much of a surprise, since I founded Spirited Woman — which supports creativity, inspiration, and "being enough as you are."

And I must tell you Sally Shore is a c-r-e-a-t-i-v-e. The real deal. A creative dynamo, sister, story teller, and spoken word diva. The best of the best.

How did I meet Sally? Well ... I'll tell you. One of my ultimate treats is to go to The New Short Fiction Series at the Beverly Hills Library, the second Friday of the month. Sally founded the series and MC's it and often times performs in it. Basically, "the series" is an evening where talented actors "emote" the words of talented short story writers.

I've been going for years. And during that time, I've gotten to know Sally. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Sally is passionate about what she does. Whether it's presenting her New Short Fiction Series, acting, or cooking (she put herself through college as a chef's assistant), Sally grabs life and just goes for it. "You can't do that" is not in her vocabulary.

Enjoy her marvelous interview and I urge you to watch some wonderful presentations of the New Short Fiction series on YouTube.

Q. Sally, what is the difference between an artist and a spoken word artist?

A. Spoken word artists perform literature (poetry, prose, etc.). This is a "movement" that began in the early 90's. It was an organic thing mostly, folks getting up in clubs, galleries, theaters and performing literature before audiences. I don't think anyone who is performing today as a spoken word artist sought the label, we were all simply individually inspired to perform in this fashion. Most of us have left the labeling to the media.

Q. You're the founder of The New Short Fiction Series. Tell us about the goal of the series and what inspired you to begin it?

A. We present new work by West Coast writers, hoping to introduce our audience to the wealth of literary voices in our own backyard. The publishing establishment is pretty East Coast oriented, but there's such a richness to the West Coast literary voice. Around 1993, I was tried of appearing in mediocre plays, and I wanted to stage new work. I considered turning some short stories into a play, then had the inspiration that the stories could be presented in a simple, performed format.

Q. You've gotten some of the most noted actors in LA to appear in the series. How have you done that?

A. Although I'm becoming an "actor magnet", truly it's the quality of the material we present along with The New Short Fiction Series' reputation for excellence. Everyone wants to jump in — its great fun, and as actors we get to stretch and play.

Q. When did you first begin your love of short fiction? Was it a family thing — for instance, a generational interest? (I guess I'm getting at — why are you so passionate about short fiction?)

A. I learned to read at a very early age. (My mother tells me when I was three, the neighborhood kids used to come over so I could read Dr. Seuss books to them). I was inadvertently turned on to short fiction in Grade 5. I had read through the SRA reader in a day, so our impatient, overwhelmed public school teacher, having 35 kids to deal with, tossed a book of Guy de Maupassant stories at me and said "Read this!" I ate it up, although I probably did not understand it all at the time. Later, in high school, I had an amazing English teacher, John Manley Jr. (son of the poet). Mr. Manley put a very human face on American literature, having personally known all the greats (Fitzgerald, Hemingway, E.E. Cummings) through his dad. He helped me discover the writer and the writer's voice in the writing.

Q. Which hat do you like wearing most and why?

A. As much as I enjoy directing, I am an actor first and foremost, whether performing spoken word or working in TV/film. Its fun to get paid to pretend and I'm grateful for every booking. Being a character actress is especially fun, I don't have to be beautiful, just real in the material.

Q. Sally, why do you feel that you are a Spirited Woman?

A. As my mom always said when I was a kid (picture the maternal finger wagging): "You always do things your own way!" For me, if I'm passionate about a project, an idea, a writer, I go for it. I never let the way things have always been done guide or limit me. "You can't do that" is not in my spiritual dictionary.

Sally invites you to find out more about The New Short Fiction Series by visiting:

©2009 Nancy Mills. All rights reserved.

Next: Interview with Artist and Activist Ellen Spencer