WEB WEDNESDAY – Sheri Tardio (lolamouse)
Welcome to Web Wednesday! Today it is our pleasure to welcome “lolamouse,” Sheri Tardio. Sheri is our eighth featured poet since we began in May.
Poetic Bloomings: Sheri, Walt and I are interested to know how you found us. We are so pleased to have you join us!
Sheri: I found Poetic Bloomings on Laurie Kolp’s site “Conversations with Laurie.” I was probably reading one of her poems that I found on one of the poetry sites I use for writing prompts and inspiration. She has a great list of writing prompt sites on her blog — thanks, Laurie!
Poetic Bloomings: Yes, thanks Laurie! 🙂 Sheri, please share with us a poem you feel best represents your style.
Sheri: I don’t think I have an identifiable style of writing. Sometimes I write free verse; sometimes I like to use more structured poems. Most of my poems have an emotional component, though. They’re often based on my own experiences or those of people I’ve known. This is a recent one that I like:
I used to be afraid
to love you too much
that should you leave, I would long
for your return
I didn’t want
to miss you so badly
to whisper your name
to remember your smell
I held a part of myself back
so you couldn’t take it all with you
when you left
If only I had known
that hoarding food makes you hungrier
unquaffed water evaporates
and all the windmills in the world
won’t bring the wind
Poetic Bloomings: I have to admit, I giggled like a little girl when I saw the title of your blog: “Mouse Droppings (Poems, Inspirations, Creative Musings, and Other Sh**).” Another giggle-inducer is your call for comments: “Leave a crumb for lolamouse to nibble on?” Too cute! Obviously, these grew from your pen name, “lolamouse.” Where did that darling moniker come from?
Sheri: The name “Lola” has always been a sort of alter ego name for me. It came from someone once trying to guess my middle name (Lynn) and getting it wrong. I was called “Mouse” by a friend in high school because of my high pitched laugh. I sound like I’m squeaking! He used to torment me in class by making faces at me to get me to start laughing at inappropriate times!
Poetic Bloomings: You say you are a “40 something wife, mom, and boat rocker with an overwhelming need to be snarky and a creative spark that needs to be fanned.” Can you elaborate a bit? Who IS Sheri Tardio?
Sheri: That’s a tough one! I guess I prefer my writing to speak for itself so I don’t talk much about myself on my blogs. I would say I’m a wife and mother with a 15 year-old daughter, a wonderful husband, and 2 dogs. I have a Ph.D. in clinical and school psychology but haven’t worked professionally since my daughter was born. I believe that those who are blessed with much should give back, so I volunteer teach at a local nature center, deliver Meals on Wheels, and volunteer with hospice.
Poetic Bloomings: What fans your creative snark – er, spark, Sheri?
Sheri: I think my background working and volunteering with so many different kinds of people has definitely influenced me. I’ve worked with children and adults from different socioeconomic backgrounds and cultures. Learning about how others’ lives can be so different from my own sparks my creativity, as does stepping outside of my comfort zone. Reading other bloggers’ writings also inspires me and gets the creative spark fanned. The snark comes into play when I see people being narrow-minded and refusing to look beyond their own prejudices and opinions. Bigotry and intolerance bring out my snark.
Poetic Bloomings: What do you find in poetry that draws you to it?
Sheri: I think it’s the emotional aspect, the ability to convey so much in such a little amount of writing. I also enjoy the lyrical aspect of many poems. I find myself humming or singing some of my own poems even though I don’t write music at all!
Poetic Bloomings: How long have you been writing? Do you recall your first poem, and will you share it with us?
Sheri: Actually, I do remember my first poem, although I’m not sure how old I was, probably about 5 or 6? It was about my grandmother, who was also a writer and was an inspiration to me. I called her “Bubby,” which is the Yiddish word for grandmother.
My Bubby is a lady
Of happiness and grace
And when she smiles gladness spreads
All over the place!
I wrote as a child and teenager quite a bit. I kept notebooks of my writings, many of which I still have. Then in my 20s and 30s I rarely wrote at all. Life sort of got in the way. I started blogging in my late 40s with “Rants From the Hormonally Challenged,” where I basically vent about everything that annoys me. I started writing poetry again after some tentative tries a little over a year ago and was encouraged by fellow bloggers and my husband to continue.
Poetic Bloomings: You wrote “My Bubby” at the age of 5 or 6? Very impressive! You obviously have a natural talent for creating with words. Does blogging satisfy your desire to get those creative words from paper to the public eye? Do you have any published works, or plans to publish in the future?
Sheri: My desire is really to get my words from my head to paper (or blog). The public eye is secondary to me. What I enjoy about blogging is the interaction among everyone, the support, and the encouragement. While it would be great to have something published, that hasn’t been my focus. I’ve recently submitted some poems to a local literary magazine and to “Take It To the Street Poetry” just to see what happens!
Poetic Bloomings: How many days per week do you normally write?
Sheri: I’m on Blogger just about every day reading others’ writings, reading comments, and responding to other people’s writing. I try to do some writing every day, but sometimes I get so behind in responding to others that my own writing suffers. If someone takes the time to comment on my writing, I do try to return the favor.
Poetic Bloomings: I am one for whom birthing a poem is a time-consuming process. How long does it typically take you to write a poem?
Sheri: It really varies. Sometimes the muse sings and the poem just appears in a matter of minutes. Other times, not so much! Usually, I have to cogitate on the topic or theme for a couple of days, work it around in my head, before I write. Once I have an idea for the type of poem I plan to write (free verse or more structured, rhyme or not, etc.) and an opening line or two, it usually doesn’t take me very long to actually write it. Oftentimes, I write the poem in my head before I put it down on paper because poems tend to come to me while I’m driving or in the shower! I don’t usually do a lot of editing, but that’s actually something I’m doing more of since reading other people’s poems.
Poetic Bloomings: If you could spend a day of uninterrupted reading, whose work would you choose to peruse, and why?
Sheri: Another tough one! If I had to choose just one author, I’d probably pick Neil Gaiman. American Gods was one of my favorite books. I love Gaiman’s ability to make you think about serious issues but in a humorous way. I’m also a fan of his children’s books because he doesn’t talk down to kids. Coraline (the book) was scary as all heck because he understood what children are really thinking. Then there are his graphic novels, which have been recommended to me by more than one person and I’m eager to start reading as soon as I get the time. He also collaborates with other authors, which makes for a good laugh. Can you tell I’m a fan?
Poetic Bloomings: Who is YOUR greatest fan? Your worst critic?
Sheri: Without a doubt, my husband is my greatest fan. He reads ALL of my writing and gives me feedback. He’s always been supportive and was very enthusiastic when I started writing again. Although I try not to be too critical of myself, sometimes I read other poets and think “Why am I bothering when I’ll never be as good as this?” I suppose most of us have those thoughts now and then, but I manage to push them aside and keep writing nonetheless. No matter how good you are, there will always be someone who’s better. It’s not a competition, and we all have something to say.
Thank you so much for this interview, Marie Elena! I had a lot of fun thinking about the process of writing and answering your questions.
Poetic Bloomings: The pleasure is ours, Sheri. Thank YOU for sharing so much of yourself with us. Our best to you in your pursuit of publication. And I must say, thank you for sharing yourself with others as well, as a volunteer to several worthy causes.