Interview with Sheri Tardio, Lolamouse
Hello all my fellow Toads in the Garden. This is Susie Clevenger and I would like to say welcome. Today ‘s treat is an interview with our resident mouse, Lolamouse, Sheri Tardio. Sheri is a talented poet with a marvelous sense of humor. She made my job extremely easy for which I am grateful. As I looked through the interviews I have done in the past….wait…there are no other interviews. This is my first one.
When Kerry told me last week it was my turn to do an interview, my immediate response was, “Oh sh--! No she didn’t…Me? I don’t know a thing about interviewing someone.”
After I went through all the reasons it shouldn’t be me, I took a deep breath and sent an e-mail with this request to Sheri. So I ask with shaky fingers, "Would you grant me an interview?"
Sheri responded with, “And I answer with shaky fingers also…sure.”
(Since both our names start with an S I will refer to myself as Goddess to avoid any confusion. I so love referring to myself as a deity)
Goddess: So Sheri, what would you like your readers to know about you?
Sheri: I didn't do it! I wasn't even there!
Oh, you mean about my poetry. Okay, I'm a 48 year-old wife, mom, and non-practicing psychologist. I live in Southern Maryland with my family and 2 dogs, a poodle and a Maltese. I volunteer for our local nature center, Meals on Wheels, and hospice. I have a dark sense of humor, have been called "weird" by my mother more than once, and have a miniature kitchen glued upside down to my own kitchen ceiling. My favorite movies are Donnie Darko, The Graduate, Lost in Translation, and Rocky Horror Picture Show. Let's do the Time Warp again!
Sheri,“ Amazing likeness!”
Goddess: A dark sense of humor, I have a bit of that myself. Sheri, Ms. Lolamouse, your blog is titled Mouse Droppings. That is a very unique name. How did you come up with it?
Sheri: Well, my online name is Lolamouse. Long story short...Lola is a pseudonym I made up for myself when I wrote (an entirely fictitious) reader's story for Playgirl magazine in college! It was a dare to see if it would get published; it did! The mouse part was from a high school nickname someone gave me because of my high, squeaky laugh when I really get the giggles. So Mouse Droppings seemed like a good name for a blog filled with my random, creative crap! As you may notice, I don't like to take myself too seriously.
Goddess: Playgirl and a squeaky voice…what revelations. I love it! When did you start writing poetry? Are there other poets who inspire you?
Sheri: I think my first poem was probably written when I was in about the first grade! It was about my Bubby (Yiddish for grandmother). I still remember it (such a timeless classic!)
My Bubby is a lady
of happiness and grace
and when she smiles laughter spreads
all over the place!
My mother and grandmother both exposed me to poetry when I was very young, and I credit them with my love of it today. I remember my mother reading to me from Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verse. I loved the poem "The Swing." My grandmother gave me 101 Famous Poems as a 7th birthday gift, and I still have it!
I wrote poetry throughout junior high and high school but rarely picked up a pen during college or graduate school (to write poetry, that is). It wasn't until the end of 2010 that I began really writing in earnest again. That's when I started Mouse Droppings, my creative writing blog. Now that I'm writing again, I can't imagine not doing it. I would feel incomplete.
There are so many poets in the blogosphere that inspire me on a daily basis, many of whom reside in the Imaginary Garden. Fireblossom immediately comes to mind. Her imagery as well as her constant output just puts me to shame! I also love Mama Zen's pithy writing style. She always makes her point so well. Brian Miller over at Waystation One also inspires me. He has a great, gritty style that I'd love to hear at a poetry slam. He also manages to clone himself so he can comment on hundreds of posts every day as well as produce awesome poems, be a great dad, and I think he has a paying job too!
As for published poets, right now I'm reading Andrea Gibson. She's a very raw, emotional poet who tackles some really tough subjects. Whenever I'm feeling wimpy about getting too political or offending someone in my poetry, I read her work, and she gives me courage.
Goddess: My, you started writing poetry early. What fans the creative spark in you?
Sheri: Mostly my interactions with other people. I volunteer with hospice, and my work with bereavement groups has inspired several poems. Relationships are a subject that gets my creative spark going. Having been a psychologist in the past, I find personal interactions fascinating and love to write about relationships. It would be a mistake, however, to think that all my poems apply to my own life! I'm also inspired by nature but find it difficult to write about without sounding cliched.
Goddess:You have another blog titled Rants from the Hormonally Challenged. What were your reasons for creating it?
Sheri: Actually Rants came first. It came about because I started sending emails to friends ranting about annoyances in my life and how irritating I found certain people. After several of my missives, a few people started telling me I should start a blog. I had never considered it and had no idea how to start one, but one day I just starting playing around on Blogger and Rants was born! It's my kvetching blog whereas Mouse Droppings is my creativity blog.
Goddess: Seems you have found a very creative way to rant. What tips do you have for new bloggers who wish to make their blogs successful?
Sheri: I guess that depends on your definition of success. I never cared if my blogs had a huge readership, but I value the readers I have because most leave very thoughtful comments and we have great interactions. I wasn't interested in making money from my blogs either, so I don't do ads. I consider my blogs successful because they are what I want them to be, and I've made some great friends through blogging.
In terms of specific advice, if you want people to find your blog and keep reading, in the beginning, you do need to post often or people will forget about you. Twice a week would probably be the minimum; daily is better. Also, join other sites, like poetry sites. Comment on other people's posts (and actually read them; they know!) Oh, and post some naked pics of yourself or Jake Gyllenhaal.
Goddess: Some very good advice Sheri. Do you have a favorite poem you have written that you would like to share?
Sheri: That's always tough. I'll pick a recent one that I like a lot. It's called:
Dreams of Earth and Heaven
When ink stained twilight descends
I search for you, my divine succubus
Black lace angel
Guardian of my secrets
Wrap me tight in your raven feathers
that I wear the veins in your wings
like those of my own skin
We will fly later
Now is the time
for earthbound delights
The night is dying
and the moon fades in the sky
like milk into morning coffee
Before you leave
Please lay a feather
silken and jet
upon my pillow
and I promise to dream
Goddess: I asked Sheri if there were any photographs she would like to include in the interview. With her panache this was her response.
Sheri: I know you asked for photos, but I generally don't like to post photos of myself online except as my alter ego Lolamouse. Here instead is a lovely photograph of a capybara, the world's largest rodent.
Thank you again Sheri for accepting my request for an interview. You made it look like I knew what I was doing. I am a fan of your poetry and I look forward to reading more of your work. Oh, and I do love a good rant!