Thursday, January 19, 2012

Interview With Susie Clevenger, Laundry Goddess!

Hi, Toads and wannabe's. Fireblossom here, and have I got a treat for you! It has been my pleasure and good luck to ply my extensive (read: "non-existent") interviewing skills on our very own Laundry Goddess, Susie Clevenger. She's one interesting lady indeed, as anyone who has read her blog "Confessions Of A Laundry Goddess" already knows. It was kind of her to give me such cool answers as this noob crashed and blundered her way through the interview process. "Make me look good!" I cried, and she did.

Me: That wicked witch Kerry says I have to interview someone for Toads. (extensive whining edited out.) Are you game?

Susie: Sure, I'm game... :-)

Me: Cool beans. Okay, Ms. Laundry Goddess...(I love your blog's name, by the way. Divinity, domesticity, and true confessions all wrapped together. What's not to like?)...I'd like to know, what got you started with blogging, and what does it mean to you? What does it bring into your life?

Susie: I started blogging seriously the end of 2009. It was a progression from a traumatic car accident I suffered in 2006. I was struck by a girl who was texting. It caused numerous injuries and almost took my life. One injury was brain damage. I suffered microscopic tears to the frontal lobe of my brain in the area where the essence of who you are is located. I had subtle personality changes, became a bigger risk taker, and suffer from ADHD. I had always had an outgoing personality, but it was kicked into high gear. Because of the accident, I felt there were things I needed to say and must say, and so my writing journey began.

Writing has become a passion for me. I can't imagine life without it now. I am not sure if it is odd or not, but when I write I can stay focused. I don't fidget or forget what I was doing ten minutes prior. It has broadened my world by meeting other writers who I have grown to love and who are great motivators to continue to spread my wings while learning more about the art of writing.

Me: Wow, that is a rough road to go, to get to blogging, but we're glad you grabbed a pen. So, do you think of yourself primarily as a poet? I see you also have a prose blog.

Susie: I do think of myself primarily as a poet. That is my first love. A quote from one of my own poems appears at the top of my Laundry Goddess blog, "I am hearing poetry when awake... dreaming poetry when asleep... breathing poetry with each breath... I am living in a poem." For me, life is a poetic language spoken in verse.

I also have a prose blog. I started it last year, 2011, as a way to deal with losing my father and father in law a month apart. I consider writing my "pencil" therapy to come to grips with whatever is troubling me. Susie's Sentences lets me do that in whatever manner strikes me at the moment. It has also expanded into attempts at writing short stories.

Me: It says that you love butterflies. Me too! Is it the symbology, their beauty, or something else about them that appeals to you?

Susie: I love butterflies for their symbology and beauty. From my accident, I began a metamorphosis of redefining who I was. There were parts of me that had died, and I couldn't resurrect them. For example, I used to be interested in scrap booking. I had a closet full of supplies and scrap books, but when I looked at them, there was no interest. I couldn't really remember much about creating the albums or using the supplies. There are other things pre-accident that have had the same effect. Like a butterfly I have worked my way out of the cocoon of what I was/ have lost, to emerge as the new person I have become.

Me: What sorts of things inspire you to write?

Susie: Inspiration is everywhere for me. Photographs inspire me a lot. They seem to tell me what they want to say. I am a very visual person. I am also an amateur photographer. When I am looking through the lens, the subject is telling a story whether it is animal, human, insect, brick, etc.

Me: I'm going to put you on the spot a little bit. What is your favorite thing or feature at Toads?

Susie: That is a tough question. There is much I like at Toads. I really like the support of one another as writers. Whenever a prompt is presented, fellow Toads take time to not only create their own written piece, but take time to read and comment on the work of others. I feel humbled and honored to be part of a community of such talented artists. 

Me: I really want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me, Susie. One last question... do you have a favorite poem of your own that you would like to share, here?

My Mind Writes with Antique Pen
My mind writes
with an antique pen.
The poets long gone
are the muses
that whisper to me.
Dear Poe turned
the light on
with his dark verses.
He captured me
with his words
to birth my desire
 to write.
Miss Browning asked,
“How do I love thee?”
As she counted the ways
my heart dreamed
the stanzas of my own
love poem.
Emily Bronte wrote
of tears that only ceased
when others were looking.
This gave me the courage
to speak my own tears.
Inspiration comes to me
from poets long gone.
They are my teachers
speaking their lessons
through their verses.
I pray I am a student
worthy to continue
with my pen.
©Susie Clevenger 2011

Me: Thanks again, and we look forward to seeing what you'll write in the future. And thanks for propping my dumb butt up in this interview. You made us both look good!  


Kerry O'Connor said...

You both are good! I enjoyed an interview which showed a genuine connection between the two participants. Susie, I love how the butterfly symbolizes your evolution and your poem is one that speaks to me on a personal level - the way poets have touched our lives and made them more meaningful is a rare gift we should never take for granted.

Marian said...

WOW, Suzie. WOW. i feel like i'll never look at a butterfly in the same way again. :)
and fireblossom? "cool beans" made me LOL and then LOL again. guffaw!

Kenia Santos said...

Yay! She is an adorable woman with a really beautiful story. Great interview!

Ella said...

Susie your words are a gift! I too feel connected to the butterfly.
I have a second birthday, from a near death experience. I so enjoyed the intimacy you shared and how Fireblossom was able to shine the light on your talents! Well Done~
I'm so glad you are part of this garden! (((hugs)))

Margaret said...

This really inspires me and I am in awe with Susie's journey. Who would ask for such difficulty? But many would ask for her talent, which has obviously been hard won. I am thrilled to have this veil lifted a bit and be able to see the person behind the creative blog title...

Emily Bronte wrote
of tears that only ceased
when others were looking.
This gave me the courage
to speak my own tears.

Beautiful, and I look forward to reading more poems, more pros and also MORE interesting interviews by Fireblossom. Well, done - both of you. :)

Margaret said...

...and is that a photo of your laundry room Susie? I have just become inspired and I am off to create this for my self... Give me a week and I will post a photo on my blog! (talk about inspiration)

hedgewitch said...

What an enjoyable and entertaining look at a writer I am just coming to appreciate, and how serious and inspiring as well. I especially like the line Susie quoted from the top of her blog--I think that feeling of 'living in a poem'I and perhaps all poets have, has never been expressed so succinctly and personally before for me. Great interview--and another reason why communities like Toads are such an important, supportive place for writers to hang out.

Lolamouse said...

Another great interview! FB, you didn't seem like a noob, and Susie, I am amazed, impressed, and humbled by your struggles and successes. Continue to spread those butterfly wings!

Jinksy said...

Great interview, people. Thanks. ♥

Mary Ann Potter said...

What a wonderful interview. Y'all were both great. Susie, what a blessing to hear more about you. Fireblossom, I like your interviewing style! Both of you hang in there --- God's not finished with His work in y'all yet! Have a blessed day!

Fireblossom said...

I'm glad that you guys liked it. Susie was a wonderful subject and made it easy for me.

I tried to use what I had learned from watching the Interview Queen, our very own Sherry Blue Sky, do it. She is my interviewing idol.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

WOW! What a story, Susie! Amazing and inspiring. So glad you are writing. I am always so blown away by peoples' stories and yours is very inspiring. Shay, great interview! I loved the keeping it real and the humanity of it all. And, of course, the quintessential Fireblossom humor, that goes without saying.

Teresa said...

This is a great interview! I must say that Susie is quite an inspiring person.

Laurie Kolp said...

Great interview... kudos to you both! Susie, you are an inspiration to me. After all you've been through life does seem more poetic I'm sure. The symbolism of the butterfly is quite a coincidence as I'm working with a lady on a new line with the butterfly as a symbol of her deceased friend. You can read about it on my Conversations with a Cardinal blog.

Maude Lynn said...

Absolutely fantastic interview! Just, wow.

Susie Clevenger said...

Thanks Fireblossom (Shay) for choosing me to interview. It was an honor and your questions made me feel comfortable to share a little about who I am and my writing journey. Also your humor was an immediate connection. Thank all of you for your support in the Garden and your kind comments on my interview. I am blessed to be in the presence of such amazing talent.

Margaret that isn't my laundry room. Mine is tiny with generic white appliances. FB chose a wonderful throne for my laundry kingdom. :)


Titus said...

Interesting, enjoyable and amusing. Thank you both, and congratulations Susie on getting through, and moving on.

Mary said...

Susie, busy day here so I am first making my blog rounds tonight. Very nice interview, Susie and Shay. It is always nice to learn more about one another. It definitely leads to deeper appreciation of each other's poetry. Susie what a horrible accident you endured. I am so glad you are finding / have found your way back.

Scarlet said...

Lovely interview Shay and Susie. Because of this, I now understand and appreciate your work Susie. You are a brave woman ~

Hannah Pratt said...

It was great to get to know more about you. I really loved your poem.

Ostensible Truth said...

great interview here! much enjoyed reading it - great questions and responses! well done both of you!

Kay L. Davies said...

Fabulous interview. I should have replied yesterday but I was distracted by the details of a possible (although not probable, given Him and his lack of enthusiasm) kitchen reno. Apologies all over the place. Anyway, the interview made me think this—Fireblossom, you can now sing:
"If you knew Susie, like I know Susie,
Oh, oh, oh what a gal!"

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Ben Ditty said...

It's always fascinating to learn more about one of my favorite poets :-)