Thursday, January 26, 2012

Interview with a Mouse

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
of heaven.

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!


Fireblossom said...

What a delight! (And now Laundry Goddess Susie can appreciate MY terror LAST week! LOL!)

Lolamouse has been a favorite of mine ever since I met her in that detention center. Okay, I made that up, about the detention center. But she IS a favorite! And that poem, "Dreams Of Earth & Heaven"...mercy. I adore that poem. I have it bookmarked!

LM's sense of humor is one of my favorite things about her. I am STILL laughing over her cartoons of her visit to her MIL, where she's an invisible Mouse. And a capybara? You nut!

Her choice of Mama Zen as a favorite poet is a fine choice indeed, but the other two are a little shaky..."Brian" does not, in fact, exist. "Brian" is a bank of computers located three miles underground, in Bethesda, Maryland. And Funkpossum, or whoever that other one was, I never heard of!

Wonderful interview, Susie. It was a real pleasure to get to read about my very favorite large-eared blogger! Lolamouse rocks!

Kerry O'Connor said...

I chuckled my way through this hugely entertaining interview - I think both personalities resounded. The pictures of rodents are most adorable.

I love Lolamouse's work, such a keen eye for detail and the interest in psychology certainly comes through.

Thanks to both ladies for taking the time and effort.

...As for this Kerry woman (wicked witch extraordinaire) she has infinite belief in the swimming abilities of all the toads, and no qualms about throwing them in the deep end!

Laurie Kolp said...

Now I'd love to hear that squeaky laugh... I always wondered where you came up with Mouse Droppings. I really enjoyed learning more about the person behind the blog.

Sheri- I am impressed you remember your first poem!!

Susie- Your interview was amazing.

Teresa said...

What a delightful intervew. I love how the name Lolamouse developed.

Lolamouse said...

Susie, I mean, Goddess,
Thanks for a fun interview. I love the supplemental pics you included, although the one I mentioned of Jake Gyllenhaal would have been nice too! And thanks for putting in the links to the blogs and Andrea Gibson (Susie or Kerry, whoever did that!)

Thanks to the Toads for their kind comments so far! FB, you've shed the light on "Brian." Now we have to die. sob.

Kay L. Davies said...

Oh, another squeaky voice! I'm SO glad. Sometimes I think I'm the only one.
Great interview, Susie and Sheri (with those names, you could be twins named but separated at birth).
Which one of you found the photo of the mouse on the toad? Talk about creative genius, LOL.
Really enjoyed this, and suddenly realized I haven't had any coffee yet today, so must run.
Love you both!

Margaret said...

OK. First, I had NO idea who Jake Gyllenhaal was and I googled him. I am SO glad I read this interview!! ;P I will be renting "Love & Other Drugs" on Netflix ASAP.

I love learning the "inside scoop" about the bloggers I read and follow. RLS was probably the only poet I read and reread as a child and besides "The Swing" my other favorite was "The Land of Counterpane".

Great job, both of you!

Ginny Brannan said...

Mouse Droppings was one of the first blogs I started following! I've always enjoyed Sheri's writing, so nice to get to know her better through your interview! (BTW: Great job, Susie! (and love that pic of the mouse & the toad!)

Peter Goulding said...

Always enjoyed the Lolamouse blog and good to put some meat on the bones!

Susie Clevenger said...

Thanks everyone...Lolamouse, Sheri, made this interview easy. It was so much fun learning about her, and getting a feel for her humor. I did flips when I found the mouse on the toad. Well, not actual flips. It was more like throwing up my hands and shouting, "Yeah, this is just perfect!" Kerry threw me in the water...I gasped my way up to the surface..I am still clinging to the side of the pond wearing floaties. :)

Daryl said...

Great interview ..

Mary said...

Enjoyed the interview immensely! Always fun to get to know people in a different kind of way! Lolamouse, I loved how you chose your name. I'd often wondered.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I enjoyed this very entertaining interview, love all the humor. Love Dreams of Earth and Heaven SO MUCH!!!! Such a fun read this morning. Thanks, kiddos!

Maude Lynn said...

Lolamouse is a hell of a poet and hilarious to boot! Great interview!

Scarlet said...

Great interview ~

I enjoyed learning and appreciating her journey, and her writing. Thanks for sharing that lovely poem ~

Marcoantonio Arellano (Nene) said...

Hey Goddess! Thanks for exposing Lolamouse for who she really is; a cheese stealing little amiga :)

Her, Fireblossom and K. Kirk are favorites.

I'm glad Lolamouse referenced one of my favorites 'Dreams of Earth and Heaven'. I love feather pillows.

Wonderful interview of one of my favorite blog amigas.

This makes my day :)

Abin Chakraborty said...

This has to be one of the most hilarious interviews of this series. 'Rollicking', is the word that would best sum up this.

hedgewitch said...

Loved this--hilarious and also very informative interview. You would never know this was a first for either of you. And I must say, I have always pictured Lolamouse as a regal capybara, or maybe a Giant Guinea Pig--they rock. My very best friend in my twenties was nicknamed Mouse--for her tiny little paw-like hands and twitchy nose though--her laugh was pretty normal, but she used it all the time to make everyone around her laugh, like Sheri and her grandmother before her. That's quite a gift.

Great stuff, ladies.

Brian Miller said...

a bow to the are a hoot and it is a pleasure to get to know you more...mouse is an awesome poet...i am also honored at the mention....among such other greats...

now if you will excuse me i must go clean my servos...for the record i prefer to be called artificial intelligence shay...and i moved from maryland years ago...smiles.

Lolamouse said...

Again, thank you to Susie for making me look so good in this interview! The photo of the mouse and toad is fabulous! And I do love Bea Arthur!

And a huge hug to everyone for reading and commenting. This mouse is going to get a swelled head! Then I'll look like Mickey!

Jinksy said...

Who doesn't love rants...and mice? LOL

Maary Ann Potter said...

What a delightful interview, Susie. And what a delightful interviewee you are, Lolamouse! I really enjoy this feature of the site. So cool to read about y'all!

Ella said...

Well Done Goddess and LolaMouse!
Sheri it was to get to know you better! I loved the poems your shared and I'll do the Time Warp with you! ;D

Pat Tillett said...

Great interview! Sheri is one of my favorite "bloggers" and I LOVE her poetry!