Evelyn Sharenov lives and writes in Portland, OR. She received degrees in literature and piano performance in NYC, where she grew up, and then returned to school to become a psychiatric nurse. Her fiction and essays have been published in Glimmer Train, Oregon Humanities Magazine, the New York Times, Fugue, Mediphors and other journals. She has been accepted to residencies that have taken her from the BigIsland to Nebraska City and beyond. Her work has been helped along by an Oregon Literary Fellowship in fiction and an Oregon Arts Commission grant to complete a project. She has written extensively about her with the mentally ill population. Her journalism and reviews have been published in Bitch Magazine, the New York Times, the Oregonian newspaper and Willamette Week.
Eckleburg: What drives, inspires, and feeds your artistic work?
Evelyn Sharenov: Reading, listening, watching drive my artistic work – wherever I am. I fell in love with books and the characters therein at a young age. Later I fell in love with the authors and teachers of literature. One afternoon, a professor asked me stay after class to talk to him. This was after turning in an assignment: choose one of the assigned books and write an additional chapter that fits in, doesn’t stand out as an extra chapter or something that doesn’t belong there. The course was Urban Literature. I was cowardly at first, then let go and wrote a chapter that worked. The professor was impressed with the writing and the fit and wanted to know if I had done more writing. I hadn’t. But that was the day I started. Certainly the encouragement of others – editors, other writers, competitive spirit, and even rejection feed my artistic work. Love feeds it, anger feeds it, jealousy feeds it, sex feeds it. Strong human tastes and proclivities feed it. And books. It always comes back to the books.
Eckleburg: If you had to arm wrestle a famous writer, poet or artist, either living or dead, who would it be? Why? What would you say to distract your opponent and go for the win?
Evelyn Sharenov: I would ask Danielle Ofri, MD, for an arm wrestle. I believe she would be a worthy and well matched opponent. Her essays and practice of medicine are in harmony with my idea of the art of medical literature. She’s brave and successful. The word I would use is DEATH. This might distract her or inspire her, as it would me. Perhaps it would be a draw.
Eckleburg: What would you like the world to remember about you and your work?
Evelyn Sharenov: I would like the world to remember that writing is hard work, and that I worked hard.