Friday, July 15, 2011

Visit my OTHER blog - "Generally Sherman, Generally Irate"

The other, new blog, "Generally Sherman, Generally Irate," is to let me rant about social and political issues, domestic and foreign.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Slingshot SEO: Now hiring Search Media Authors

This is a guest post by Chi Sherman, a former Sherman & Co. employee and John and Lois’ daughter.

The four years I spent working for Sherman & Co. were invaluable. Through daily interaction with clients, I learned a great deal about interpersonal relationships. As part of a marketing team, I experienced firsthand communications audits and the importance of brand recognition. Working with a variety of clients enabled me to hone my public relations skills, to provide feedback and ideas, and to represent the client at public functions. The best part of my job at Sherman & Co. was getting to write everyday – everything from copy for websites and brochure text to press releases for clients. Strengthening my writing and editing skills certainly prepared me to work for NUVO Newsweekly, which in turn prepared me for my current position as a Search Media Author for Slingshot SEO.

Slingshot SEO is a search engine optimization firm, which essentially means we help our clients improve their search engine rankings by writing guest blogs on their behalf. As a Search Media Author, I find opportunities that will enhance our clients’ presence online. After building a relationship with a blog owner, I write a guest post that adheres to the blog owners’ specifications and, of course, those of the client. It’s a great job – I write at length each day, which is something I only imagined I would someday be able to do professionally.

I started with Slingshot in April, along with about 10 other people. We’ve become a pretty tight-knit group and have seen our numbers grow as the firm continues to bring authors on board. I really enjoy being surrounded by other writers all day. We can bounce ideas off each other and increase our knowledge of search engine optimization. I love it when the team leaders announce that we’ll be spending the entire day writing. At first it was a little unnerving – I was waiting for someone to say, “Just kidding!” – but it never happened. We truly get to write. The freedom to get lost in words is heavenly and I’m so glad for my previous writing experience, both personal and professional, that prepared me to land here.

Be sure to check out Slingshot’s website for the Search Media Author job description – the team is pretty great and the company is really going places.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Food for Thought: Poems, Songs, and Photos

You are invited to a program featuring a poetry reading by John Sherman and Chi Sherman and a musical performance by singer/songwriter Gabriel Harley at Indiana Humanities on Thursday, April 21. In celebration of National Poetry Month and in conjunction with the “Food for Thought” program of Indiana Humanities, join us for an hour-long “taste” of poetry, music, and light refreshments, and a viewing of John’s 10 large-format poetry/photo posters (which are on display all month).

WANT TO SEE THE POSTERS, BUT CAN’T BE THERE FOR THE APRIL 21 EVENT? Just stop in at Indiana Humanities -- Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. -- from now until Friday, April 29. To see three examples, click here. (You can enlarge the images to make the text easier to read.) Here are the details for the John-Chi-Gabriel program:


WHERE: Headquarters of Indiana Humanities (until recently, the Indiana Humanities Council) -- 1500 N. Delaware Street, Indianapolis (Delaware is one way, heading north)

WHEN: 5:30 p.m., Thursday, April 21

FOOD AND WINE FOR THOUGHT: Complimentary wine and nibbles

PARKING: Street parking available, both sides of Delaware, and nearby side streets.

WHAT ELSE: Books by John and by Chi, spoken-word CD by Chi, and musical CDs by Gabriel will available for purchase (and signing) immediately following the program. (Most of the posters are for sale, as well.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Driving Like Joie/Joey Chitwood

It came as a great, pleasant surprise to see the name "Joie Chitwood" in the Indianapolis media a few years ago. While my enthusiasm endured, it took me more than a couple of years to make contact with Mr. Chitwood (of the International Speedway Corporation).

It turns out that it was his grandfather who was the subject of our cry, "He's driving like Joey Chitwood!" whenever we'd see someone speeding along the highway (two lanes, pre-Interstate). It wasn't until I saw the grandson's name in a newspaper that I discovered my childhood hero "Joey" was actually "Joie." But, from the info that Joie Chitwood III sent to me, it turns out that "Joie" wasn't his real name, anyway, but, once it was given to him, mistakenly by, of all things, "a press agent" from Indiana, it stuck.

I know I could cry out to people who remembered county and state fairs of earlier decades, including my sisters, "Joie Chitwood!" upon spying a faster-than-polite driver and they'd laugh, not having to have it explained to them. We had shortened it from "He's driving like...." simply to his name. That's all we needed. And, it had to be done in context. You couldn't just be sitting in a neighbor's living room, staring at "Hit Parade" on TV and suddenly cry out, "Joie Chitwood." No, there were rules. You had to be on the road, the person being chastised had to be racing along, daredevil-like, and, preferably, they had to be driving a beaten-up auto, not unlike the ones that you-know-who-by-now raced in his thrill shows that we'd see at the fairgrounds.

According to Joie the Third, the "Joie Chitwood Thrill Show" lasted from 1943 to 1998, a decade past the death of the first Joie.

It was truly a thrill to watch the drivers do all sorts of daredevil turns and twists, cars sailing over one another, people in the grandstands screaming and jumping up, expecting the worst, but almost never seeing it (luckily), in this demonstration of racing that seemed to defy gravity, common sense, and death, all at the same time.

I am tempted today to yell at a reckless driver, whether I'm in another car or even just standing on a street corner, "Joey (OK, Joie) Chitwood!" It would accomplish two things: Stares and wrinkled noses from those of a certain age and immediate laughter and perhaps a "Oh, I haven't heard that one for a while!" from those of an older, very certain age.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Where There Be Dragons

Sometimes, you just have to write poems for fun.

My latest poem, "Where There Be Dragons," was a lot of fun to write and a joy to read. I participated in the Zionsville Brick Street Art Walk, where poets and sculptors were paired. JL Kato, a great poet here in Indianapolis, and I were assigned to write about the work submitted by sculptor Greg Knipe of Salvaged Beauty Studio. He had on display a dragon made of found metals - chains, gears, and the like. You can see his dragon and read my poem by going to his website,

Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lynn Redgrave and I - in Kampala, Uganda

I can never hear the strains of "Georgy Girl" without thinking of walking out of the movie theatre in Kampala, Uganda, and up the street, giddy with joy from having seen Lynn Redgrave in the movie of the same name as its title song.

We were so taken with her performance - someone who was about our age and unknown to us - in fact, I don't think we even knew of the Redgrave Dynasty. The movie had left us in such a state of excitement and pure pleasure. Another fellow ahead of us must have felt the same way, as he danced around a light pole, making us all laugh even more. We were humming the song, recalling bits of the movie, in the pleasant night air of Uganda's capital just a few years before it suffered Idi Amin and the accompanying atrocities.

We were Biafran "refugees," all Peace Corps Volunteers who had served together in the secessionist region of Nigeria and then were posted to schools in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi. Now, at Christmas break 1967, we were together for a few days, heading up north the next day to spend frigid nights at Murchison Falls, first crossing the Nile warily watching the enormously large hippos up close, worrying then (not safely on the bank, but then, right there, in the middle of the river - too late to do anything but stare!) if they would tip us over.

I'm here to say they didn't.

But, more to the point of this week's sad news of the loss of Lynn Redgrave who shall always be remembered by me for a long walk up the sidewalks of Kampala (did we actually skip as we went along? I suspect we did), absolutely taken with a movie that was one of those right-time, right-place films.

Perhaps as early as today, when I think no one is looking -- or I just don't care -- I'll dance around a nearby light pole and will be happy to explain to a curious cop or a nosey neighbor what the hell I'm doing.

Here's to Kampala, one of the most beautiful cities I've visited. And, of course, here's to Lynn Redgrave for a most memorable evening.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A very long time ago, in a land two floors up

I have a framed card on the wall of our offices that announces the formation of Sherman & Co. Public Relations on April 1, 1991. On that day, in the guest bedroom, I sat down to a big boxy computer (green lettering on a black screen), a thermal-paper (read: slimy) fax machine, a huge photocopier, and a 300 dpi gigantic printer nearby. Logo, business cards, letterhead, envelopes, phone and fax lines - all done.

Dressed in a T-shirt and shorts and barefoot, I sighed, reached for the phone, and began making calls, since I didn't have e-mail, not even my first one: five numbers, a comma (yes, a comma) and four more numbers @ (If you remember those, you're older than you are admitting publicly). That, and so much else, came later. Oh, and I didn't have a single client, so there was a bit of pressure, shall we say, to get on the phone and make appointments (but, "no dress shirt, no shoes, no clients" requirements).

This morning, just for the hell of it, I'm sitting here, barefoot (appropriate "attire" for the farm boy that I am), in a T-shirt that I can now wear again, having lost weight - has "Paris" written on it in wild colors -- and a pair of shorts that are dangerously loose around the waist (see "lost weight" above). Feels good. Makes me want to go back to Paris. And eat.

This morning, I counted the plants in our offices (now occupying all of the rooms in our large basement, with an outside entrance and nine glass-block windows) and I came up with 35, but I may have missed a couple. Perhaps I forgot to count the two wheezing, brown ones in the far corner? Big, small, all subject to my role as a self-proclaimed "tough-love gardener" who will be nice to them, as long as they return the favor, or else I replace them with my take-no-plants approach.

The tropical rain forest complements an uncountable number of framed works of art and prints, awards, and photos of all sorts - even have an aerial view of the crowds on the bridge connecting the Lincoln Memorial and Arlington Cemetery, taken on Monday, November 25, 1963, that I am going to caption, "John, others at JFK Funeral" - somewhere, near the Lincoln, I'm standing, having driven all night from Bloomington. (Technically, since I didn't know yet how to drive a shift, I rode all the way, as we careened in the middle of the night around the curves of West Virginia mountains in those pre-Interstate days.)

But I digress. Also down here, surrounded by plants and paintings, are computers, printers (1200 dpi, color, etc.), a plain-paper fax, photocopier, scanners, and so on and so on....And copies of the five books I've had published since 1991, along with one revised edition of another. And the libretto of the opera "Biafra" ( to view what's been performed of it so far).

So, today we begin our 20th year. Seems like five. Seems like 40.

Wiggling my toes, enjoying the sunshine, the good memories, great employees, great clients.