Lynne Schmidt is one of those people who makes the writing community a better place. Also: Lynne have the cutest pets, ever. I was stoked when she agreed to do an interview with us!
Without further ado, enjoy the show!
What’s your writing process like?
Oof – my process varies day to day. Some days I’m super with it and able to shell out six poems. Other days, I don’t write for a week. When the words hit, they hit and I try to get as many of them out as I can before the next drought hits. I can usually tell a good poem is brewing based on how I feel. If I’m feeling a lot, I know something is forming, my muse is starting to talk and I just have to wait and listen.
Favorite episode of The Office?
So, I’d never seen The Office before but I’ve been binge watching it the last week or so. Probably my favorite episode was when Jim FINALLY confesses his feelings for Pam and they kiss (wooo!), or the send off for Michael, and just how emotional it was. The show does a great job of making well rounded characters and how they interact. I’ve really been enjoying watching it.
You have the cutest pets. Do they all get along with each other? I imagine they’re all best friends.
Ahhh, our little farm. So for those who don’t know, my partner and I have two dogs (Kyla and Enyo), a cat (TaylorSwift), three ferrets (it was four but we recently lost Brownie, so we have PB, Whitey, and Pepper left), and a gecko, Theo. It’s a lot of mix and match of who gets along with who – so Kyla and Enyo are besties unless there are meat snacks in which case Enyo may attack Kyla.
Kyla and TaylorSwift USUALLY get along, but Kyla has been scared of her. Meanwhile, Enyo will run at TaylorSwift and chase her off. But Enyo is AWESOME with the ferrets (her favorite is Whitey and they’ll play together). Kyla on the other-hand wants to eat the ferrets. She thinks they’re snacks. Or squirrels. Or both.
Have you considered making them an Instagram account?
My pup, Baxter passed away in 2017. He had/has a Twitter account (@handsomebaxter) which helped raise a ton of funds for his medical care (thank you GoFundMe).
The Girls (Kyla, Enyo, TaylorSwift) and the Boys (ferrets, Theo) pop up in my instagram pretty regularly. I think it’d be too hard to manage so many feeds, haha.
Your go-to drink?
Coffee: Medium iced white peppermint mocha
Tea: Whatever tastes good that day
Alcohol: Sex on the Beach
Pineapple on pizza. Love it or hate it?
LOVE IT! Usually have a pineapple/jalapeno pizza, or pineapple/pepperoni.
What are you currently working on?
In addition to always wanting to write individual poems, I’m currently working on and submitting a collection, I’d Rather Be Brilliant, which explores how people would rather be valued for their worth than their looks. Nikky Finney was a keynote at SEWSA a few years back and she talked about how people would say her brother was brilliant, but they would only ever tell her she was beautiful, as though that was all she was worth.
I’ve been thinking about it ever since – how often my looks contribute to my value, rather than my poetry, or my master’s degree, or being a kick-ass pet parent. So the collection explores all the ways we devalue women – the rapes, the assaults, the pretty rather than brilliant, all of it.
In addition to that, I’m also working on my second memoir, Bringing Babcia Home, which is about the passing of my Holocaust surviving babcia and trying to return her ashes to Poland. It’s been super intense, just this week we found out which camps she was imprisoned in, and have found a lot of information on which camps my ciocia was shipped around to. It’s been surreal knowing this happened to my family.
Can you tell us about your chapbooks that are out now?
Oh yes! My first chapbook, Gravity, explores the rise and fall of an intense relationship. In 2017, a good friend died the day before Baxter passed. Then that Christmas, I got into a huge fight with my family, and while in Michigan I got a text from -him- saying he was in Maine and do I want to snowboard. So I left Michigan early, headed home to Maine, and went snowboarding. The whole time I was telling myself to be good, keep my hands to myself, he’s engaged and made his choice. And then he walked me to my car, pushed me up against it, and kissed me.
I needed somewhere for those feelings to go, and thus Gravity.
On Becoming a Role Model explores a little bit more of that fight with my family. It explores the toxicity my sister’s and I were exposed to growing up, the dysfunction that has carried over, and the hope that comes with my nieces and nephew. They are such lights in the world.
If y’all haven’t purchased a copy yet, please do 🙂
What poem(s) are you most proud of?
I read the poem, “Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes,” a few months back and I was PISSED. Like, it would have been one thing if the dude and Emily had a relationship, or knew each other and it was a missed chance/lost love. But to my knowledge that wasn’t the case and the poem kept eating at me. I wanted to clap back somehow, to defend Emily, and the rest of the women who even in death aren’t allowed to rest.
What came next was my poem, “Necrophilia,” which was published by Glass Poetry for their Poets Resist collection, and I have never been more thrilled. The poem starts off my I’d Rather Be Brilliant collection.
Lynne Schmidt is the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, and mental health professional with a focus in trauma and healing. She is the author of the chapbooks, Gravity (Nightingale and Sparrow Press), and On Becoming a Role Model (Thirty West), which was featured on The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed for PTSD Awareness Week. Their work has received the Maine Nonfiction Award, Editor’s Choice Award, and was a 2018 and 2019 PNWA finalist for memoir and poetry respectively. When given the choice, Lynne prefers the company of her three dogs and one cat to humans.
Shawn Berman (@sbb_writer) runs The Daily Drunk. Raphael is his favorite Ninja Turtle.