Move Over, James Lipton! . . . or
Bloggers, Let’s Get to Know Each Other

h1 January 11th, 2007 by jules

Eisha and I set a little blog goal for the new year: We wanted to take some time to get to know some of our favorite bloggers out there, especially since we’ve only been blogging since July ’06. For my part, I’ll often stumble upon little tidbits of information about a blog or blogger and find myself rather amazed — such as, so-and-so has only been blogging for about a year? when I assumed they’d been doing it forever. I remember reading somewhere that so-and-so was a professor when I had assumed she was a librarian. Or I’ll see a blogger’s picture and think about how I imagined them looking totally different. You get the picture . . .

So, we thought, why not do some informative and fun interviews? We’re going to start by interviewing ourselves in order to set the tone. But then watch out . . . We’ll be coming after you, begging for an interview if you can stand it. We’ll hit our favorite blogs, and we have quite the list. We promise not to ask things like “chocolate or vanilla ice cream?” or “Disney or Warner Brothers?” {shudder} like in those email forwards you sometimes get. In fact, we’re throwing in the Actors Studio Pivot Questionnaire, ’cause we think it’s so fun.

We will be asking you to prettyplease send a picture of yourself to attach to your interview. If you don’t want it in cyberspace on our blog, we will totally understand. So, here we are then: Eisha and Jules. The first photo is us from about four years ago, I suppose. Not a terribly recent photo then, but we’re basically the same. The black and white photo is us when we were but wee college folk; we’ve been friends that long. Photo credit: Eisha’s husband, but he wasn’t her husband at the time. They were but just a newly-formed couple. Aw. Anyway, that was taken probably about ten years ago, and we’re lying on a stage, worshipping all-things-theatre, it seems. Jules on the left, Eisha on the right in each one.

Okay, enough of that. We hope when we ask for your interview, you’ll share a photo, too, but ain’t no thang if you don’t. So, here goes our interview, and if we visit your blog and like it, pay special attention to the questions, as we’ll be asking if you’d like to share your responses one day soon. Thanks in advance for playing! We promise not to make you cry à la Barbara Walters with our questions if you promise not to get all Tom Cruise don’t-be-so-glib-you-don’t-know-the-history-of-blogs on us.

What do you do for a living?

Eisha: I’m the Children’s/YA Librarian for a public library branch in Massachusetts, where I’ve worked for about 3 1/2 years. Until pretty recently I was also a part-time Reference Desk Assistant at a college library.

Jules: I was a sign language interpreter and then a children’s librarian. Most recently, I put both undergrad and grad degrees to work by being the Librarian at the Tennessee School for the Deaf. Now I’m a stay-at-home mom, though I’ve made it clear elsewhere on this blog that I have always disliked that phrase, as it makes it sound like I’m tethered to the kitchen table. I will return to librarianship soon, and I very, very much want to go for a doctorate in children’s literature one day.

{Addendum: Ooops! I’m adding here — after the fact — that I do very part-time contract work for a wonderful, very family-friendly company just outside of Boston, lest anyone think I sit around all day watching Sesame Street or eating bon-bons. I’m very lucky, for when you try to find work you can do from home, it’s usually a pyramid-scheme. But a friend put my name forward for this job. And, well, I owe her big-time, ’cause working for this company is wonderful and I don’t have to go find child-care to do it. It’s not librarianship, but I don’t care right now . . . There. I’m done now}.

How long have you been blogging?

Eisha and Jules: Since July 2006.

Why did you start blogging? Why do you continue to do it?

Eisha: Well, I started because Jules talked me into it. Sorta. I mean, she suggested to me, after one of our many email conversations about books we were reading/had read/wanted to read, that I should start a book review blog, but at the time I found the idea overwhelming. But the more the thought of it simmered on my back burner, the better it sounded, and then I thought, “Yeah, blogging about books on my own would be overwhelming, but what if I got Julie to do it with me?” And history was made.

I continue to do it for the same reason I started – I just love to read, and I love to talk about what I’ve read. What I love about working in a public library is being able to talk to people who have the same enthusiasm for books that I do, and to be able to match readers with “just the right book.” And talking to Jules about books that we’ve both read always brings a new dimension to the book for me, makes me look at it in a different way.

One perk of the blog that I didn’t really expect was the feeling that we’ve become a part of a very welcoming, enthusiastic, book-loving community of bloggers. To be perfectly honest, I had no idea there were so many book blogs out there, and it’s been a wonderful discovery. It has totally changed how I find out about books, how I choose what I’m going to read next, how I think about what I’m reading… it’s totally amazing.

Jules: I never ever in one skerjillion years thought I’d blog. “Blog” made me think of 35-year-old losers who never got out and were living in their mom’s basement, ranting and raving maniacally online about politics. But then, selfishly, I wanted to hear Eisha’s thoughts on her current reads, and she talked me into us both doing it. Also, because I spend my days with two young children incapable of abstract thought, and I like the mental exercise I get when trying to best articulate why a book worked or didn’t work for me. I also want to stay involved, particularly in children’s lit, for an eventual return to work one day. Finally, I would wither up and die without literature.

Which blog or site would you take to the prom to show off and you love it so much you could marry it?

Eisha: Ooh, so many to choose from. I think Fuse #8 is of course the pinnacle, not only because she’s so smart and funny and has such good taste, but geez, the sheer volume of how much she posts is so unfathomable to me. I am in awe. But I also adore MotherReader, Chicken Spaghetti, Big A little a, the Brookeshelf… the list goes on and on. It’s funny, I haven’t found an adult-book blog that keeps me checking in as often as the kid-lit ones do.

Jules: Ditto to what Eisha said. I’ll add, though, that I have a fondness for the blogs/sites of smart-mamas-who-read, such as Literary Mama, Mother Talk, and Reading Moms (the latter I just discovered thanks to Book Buds, another blog of a smart-mama-who-reads, Anne Boles Levy). I also enjoy reading the blogs of mamas (or papas) who talk about children’s lit and who manage to do it with a professional-yet-personal touch (it’s a fine line) — without going on and on, for instance, about the minutiae of their child’s life.

What are your other favorite things to do, other than reading and blogging?

Eisha: I love movies, and listening to music. I kinda like cooking but I won’t pretend I’m any good at it – I think what I really like is eating. Hanging out with friends, of course. Going to plays. I like hiking and going to the beach, but I haven’t done much of either lately. Until recently I’ve had almost no free time at all, but now that I’ve finished my degree I’m looking forward to trying to remember what I used to do for fun.

Jules: Honestly, I rather resent anything that takes time away from reading, other than my family and friends. Too much to read, not enough time (except I gotsa have my music, too). Actually, I love theatre with a passion and used to frequent plays a great deal, but it’s harder now with two young children. I, particularly, like a good children’s play that doesn’t condescend to the young ones, and I once co-founded and co-administrated a children’s theatre for the deaf.

What’s in heavy rotation on your stereo/ipod lately?

Eisha: I’ve been listening to Kasabian’s new album, Empire, quite a bit. Also Wilco’s live album, Kicking Television, Spoon’s Gimme Fiction, plus all things White Stripes, Black Keys, Camper Van Beethoven and Beastie Boys. When I’m trying to write, though, I tend to favor stuff without a lot of words, so Massive Attack’s 100th Window, the Lost in Translation soundtrack, Possible Music: from the films [etc.] of Hal Hartley, and Dave Brubeck’s Time Further Out were getting a lot of play while I was churning out those last few papers for school.

Jules: At this current moment, the CD player is filled with children’s CDs, since I have two wee ones. I have an obsession with world lullabies and with finding children’s music that makes one not want to gag – there are three Ellipsis Arts lullaby CDs in there (Mediterranean, Latin, and Celtic lullabies), Lead Belly Sings for Children (thanks to the fabulous Smithsonian Folkways), and Elizabeth Mitchell’s latest wonder for children (and I don’t mean the new actress on “Lost”).

When they’re not in there, we’ve been listening to Tom Waits’ newest, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers, & Bastards; Sam Phillips’ A Boot and a Shoe (in anticipation of her ’07 release); the many Black Keys CDs Eisha gave me; Beck’s latest CD, The Information; Neko Case’s Fox Confessor Brings the Flood; and I’m re-discovering the perfect Real Time by Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott. Gomez, Louis Armstrong, and classical piano (preferably, Chopin) are always good, too. Gotta have variety.

If you could have three (living) authors over for coffee or a glass of rich, red wine, whom would you choose?

Eisha: You know, the trick here is not just to pick my very favorite authors, but to choose the ones who would actually be as interesting to talk to as they are to read. For example, I suspect that Don Delillo, who is a total favorite of mine, would have very little to say to me, and might not be all that fun to talk to anyway. I mean, I’d want authors who would provide conversation that was smart and funny. So, I’m thinking: Haven Kimmel, Jon Scieszka, and Neil Gaiman. Which sounds surreal, but I think it could be a blast. Wanna come?

Jules: Maurice Sendak, Haven Kimmel, and Naomi Shihab Nye

What’s one thing that not many people know about you?

Eisha: Someone surprised me recently by saying they’d run across this on imdb.com, and wanted to know if it was really me. It is. I was on screen for about 45 seconds – yeah, in a clown suit – and only had a couple of lines. But hey, now I’m only 3 degrees from Kevin Bacon!

Jules: And what a funny Bitter Clown you were for those 45 seconds, Eisha. Um, I can sing the alphabet as it appears on a keyboard. I can also tell you the story of “The Elephant’s Child” word-for-word as Kipling wrote it. I once told it to Jack Gantos and all sneaky-like inserted the phrase “wicked cool” into the story (a phrase he seems to like to say a lot), and I made him laugh. Making the very funny Jack Gantos laugh can make your head swell. Also, I think I’m two degrees of separation away from Stephen King, as apparently my cousin plays cards and smokes cigars with him every December or something like that. Oh, and my husband was named for Blaine Runner, his great uncle and a cowboy who won the Carnegie Medal for Heroism. (Those are four things – sorry).

The Pivot Questionnaire:

What is your favorite word?

Eisha: To listen to me talk, you’d probably think it was “awesome.” But I think I’ll say… “persnickety.” It’s a good word for a librarian to have on hand, and so much more pleasant to say and hear than “anal retentive.”

Jules: “daughter”

What is your least favorite word?

Eisha: “Pussy.” Even if you’re talking about a cat.

Jules: “Paradigm,” all thanks to a required graduate course in which we had to debate whether information science should be conceptualized using a cognitive or physical paradigm. With all due respect to the savagely cool prof who taught the course and to The School of Information Sciences at The University of Tennessee, o holy crap, who cares?

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Eisha: When I’m reading a book, and I just get blindsided by some incredibly gorgeous turn of phrase, and it transports me to the point that I have to put the book down for a few seconds and just relish the pure genius of the author.

Jules: Text. The written word. Words on a page that tell a story. Art. Lovely art. Put them together, and you’ve got a picture book, which might be why most of my blog posts are about them.

What turns you off?

Eisha: Bureaucracy.

Jules: A stale thing, whether it’s an idea, a piece of bread, coffee, or the way someone decorates their home or children’s library.

What is your favorite curse word?

Eisha: I love “ass” for the versatility of combining it with other words, like stupid-ass, boring-ass, lame-ass, skanky-ass… You can make nouns (You’re a dumb-ass) and adjectives (What a crappy-ass blog) and synecdoche (That lazy-ass is still in bed) and at least one verb (Let’s haul-ass out of here)… The possibilities are endless.

Jules: No, really. Eisha tried to convince me to share, but I’m sure I’d offend. My husband’s known for his creative cursing in our home, and he’s got some zingers that we’ll just keep within these four walls, thanks very much . . . My answer should be this: “Fiddlesticks,” because I’ve got children. But, um, it’s not.

What sound or noise do you love?

Eisha: The intro drum/cowbell/guitar combo in “Honky Tonk Women” by the Rolling Stones.

Jules: A three-way tie –- my husband’s voice; the sound of my daughters doing a really deep, belly-aching laugh; and coffee brewing.

What sound or noise do you hate?

Eisha: Whining.

Jules: Someone blowing their nose. Loudly.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Eisha: Writing fiction. But I do occasionally attempt that, so if you want something more fantastical… photographer or dancer or guitarist.

Jules: If we get more than one life, I hope in the next one to be an obscenely talented singer-songwriter/musician who, preferably, has a devoted underground following and tours the world playing in small, smoky clubs. I don’t need to be top-40, thanks very much. Think Patty Griffin.

What profession would you not like to do?

Eisha: President.

Jules: Writing fiction. Yup. Just the thought of filling a novel’s pages with an original narrative fills me with anxiety. I’d rather be the “spectator in the gallery,” the witness and appreciator of the art – see the short Bel Canto quote on top of this page of our blog. ‘Nuf said.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Eisha: “Hey, I know things are pretty bad down there, but listen up… it’s all about to make sense.”

Jules: “Yes, they’re here. They’re waiting for you.”





41 comments to “Move Over, James Lipton! . . . or
Bloggers, Let’s Get to Know Each Other”

  1. Love the theater picture, y’all! Looks like the end of a Sartre play.

    I had fun reading the interview, too.


  2. Great interview, guys! It was great to get to know you better.

    I’d be happy to do one sometime…


  3. What great questions, and insightful answers. Sign me up too.


  4. This was a lot of fun to read. I’d love to be interviewed. Just set a date.
    Jules, what a talented woman you must be to sing the alphabet in keyboard order! Why isn’t the keyboard in alphabetical order, anyway? Wouldn’t that make sense? Hmmm.


  5. “Skerjillion”–why can’t I think of words like that?

    Thanks for interviewing yourselves! You’re right, it is nice to learn a little about the people behind the blogs. For example, I was convinced Eisha was a short, black woman. Don’t even ask me why. I had this whole wardrobe and hairstyle picked out for you and everything. Now I’ll have to recut all the paper dolls.

    I love to hear about women who have been friends for years and years like you two. It’s fun to hang on to the people we met in our goofed out younger years. (I don’t know, maybe you two were very sophisticated in college, in which case, lucky you.)

    Thanks again. You two are a lot of fun!


  6. I’m trying not to do a spit-take with my coffee here over your vision of Eisha and over the “sophisticated” comment. Since we sang a Sinead O’Connor cover at a college talent show of sorts (what were they called, Eisha? I can’t remember right now) and since we were trying to be soooo poignant about it while at the same time I was trying not to laugh during it and since I probably sang way off key, I don’t think I can call myself sophisticated. Then there was runnin’ up and down the dorm hallway after the stress of comps when I was a Senior and Eisha was a Junior and singing “It’s a Hard-Knock Life” just to be nerds for the hell of it. Maybe we were sometimes sophisticated, but I can’t recall any specifics.


  7. Sophisticated? Oh, hell no.

    I think because of my name, people who see it first are often surprised that I’m white. I am actually short, though, so that part’s right.

    I’m so glad to hear how willing you all are to be interviewed – because you totally will be. Mwa-ha-ha!

    Jules – even I didn’t know about the keyboard song. I think this calls for a podcast.

    I’ve blocked out all memory of the Sinead incident. Did. Not. Happen.


  8. Yes, the Sinaed incident happened. There. Are. Photos.

    And you wouldn’t want Chuck Palahniuk over for coffee? That man can tell some stories.

    But really I’m writing to respond to Emily’s comment because I actually know the typewriter answer. This explains it: http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/bltypewriter.htm
    Why do I know this stuff? There’s a question.


  9. Interesting with some good funny bits, my favorite kind of interview.

    Though I think I’d have to give the Best Bit Award to Robin Brande for “Now I’ll have to recut all the paper dolls.” I’m going to visit her blog right now on the basis of that one line.

    Glad to know more about you and thanks for putting me on your prom date list. I’d be happy to go with both of you (cause I’m going to be on Reading Moms too).


  10. This is a GREAT idea! LOVED the interview. (I was almost offended about the 35 year old loser vision but then I read on and felt better that I didn’t live in my mom’s basement:-) Can’t wait for more interviews!


  11. The husband,
    Crazy article about the history of typewriters. I figured they must have grouped words to help people type faster. I never would have guessed that they wanted people to type slower. Crazy.

    And Jules, I agree with Eisha. You’ve got to make a keyboard alphabet podcast!


  12. I would have so been your friend in college if I had seen you singing “It’s a Hard Knock Life” in the hallway. Please, if we ever meet, bust out with a few lines just for me.


  13. Okay, folks. I have freakin’ memorized the freakin’ “Elephant’s Child” word-for-freakin’-word and everyone is impressed that I can sing the alphabet as it appears on the keyboard? Geez, where are your priorities?

    I jest. (But, really, I memorized THE WHOLE STORY) . . .

    Okay, really, I’m still jesting. I did memorize it, but I know being able to sing the keyboard alphabet without looking is pretty amazing. Maybe I should create a blog about it. I mean, why didn’t “Star Search” nab me yeeeears ago?

    I mean, is K-Tel still in business? ‘Cause they need me.

    For serious, I would be willing to do a podcast if I knew, um, how the hell to do that. I was just telling Andrea at Just One More Book!! that I have trouble finding time to even listen to podcasts. But if someone explains how, I’m game. Oh wait. My husband, our tech support, can. I’m sure.

    The whole story. As it was written. By Kipling. Did I mention that? I mean, just look at it.

    “In the High and Far-Off Times, the Elephant, O Best Beloved, had no trunk . . .”
    (I didn’t have to look at the story to type that, you know) . . .


  14. Thanks for sharing your blog, your backstory, and your friendship with your readers. Very sweet.

    Why choose between chocolate and vanilla ice cream? Why not swirl them together and have both? :)

    I don’t swear so I will say strange things (Monkeys on ice!) and old-fashioned things (Golly!). Fiddlestick (singular) is one of my favorite fictional dragons.* Yes, you read that correctly. You can meet him in Strangewood by Christopher Golden.

    * My very favorite fictional dragon is Falkor from The NeverEnding Story.

    Stay-at-home moms and dads rarely stay at home. They go to doctor’s appointments, games, tryouts, practices, libraries, grocery stores, shopping malls, and more. You don’t have to say you are a stay-at-home mom. Say you are a mom, and they will hear the pride in your voice!


  15. I’m so glad of my visits here, and this post is your best yet! This was great fun to read!

    Persnickity is a wonderful wonderful word. And I had a similar visceral reaction to paradigm for similar reasons.


  16. Okay, first: thanks to all for the outpouring of blogger-love. It’s terribly sweet. Right back at ya.

    Second: J, it’s just that I already knew about the Kipling story. There’s never even been a hint about this keyboard song before now. And I thought we were BFF. sniff.

    Third: Robin, you’re super-sweet, but you might have felt differently if we’d been singing outside your dorm when you were maybe trying to study for an exam. My undergrad GPA is a sad reflection of my cavorting/studying ratio.

    Fourth: Husband, Oh. No. You. Didn’t. And it’t really interesting you know that fun fact about keyboard arrangement, since you’re a diploma-carrying graduate of the Hunt & Peck Typing Institute and all.


  17. Oh, but Husband, you make a good point about Chuck. Do-over: Haven Kimmel, John Green (b/c they both have theology-type backgrounds that they’ve abandoned for writing fiction – that might make for interesting discussion) and Chuck Palahniuk. Sorry Jon and Neil, I’ll have you over next time.


  18. Eisha,

    It’s good to see what one of the other members of the Cybil poetry nominating panel actually looks like. Makes me realize how old I really am!

    Eisha and Jules,

    Enjoyed the self-interviews.


  19. The cavorting/studying ratio and the GPA. Ah, yes, I knew it well.


  20. LOVE this interview. Wicked cool — and not even slightly persnickety!


  21. Robin Brande–don’t let them fool you! They were both *very* sophisticated in College. (BTW Jules, I think the talent show things were called “Coffee House.” No?)

    Heh.


  22. Yes! That it’s, Chris. “Coffee house” . . . that’s been bugging me all day.

    Little Willow, I applaud you. But I have to say that my husband’s creative cursing makes life more interesting. I mean, he’s got some good ones. But, as we’re now trying to rid a certain unsavory word from my almost-three-year-old’s vocabulary, I really need to reign it in. Really, I don’t walk around swearin’ like a sailor all day, but when I’m reeeeally frustrated, I need to find a new word to exclaim.

    Okay, so now everyone needs to go see the short film Eisha’s in. Seriously, her cameo is pretty funny.

    I probably just weirded Eisha out. Quietly sneaking away now, hoping I don’t get hate emails from Eisha….tiptoe, tiptoe.


  23. Christopher, thanks for keeping them honest. Or otherwise blowing their cover.


  24. THE question here, folks, is am I bold enough to ask if Roger Sutton, Blogger Extraordinaire whose blog I would really want to show off at the prom, would like to be interviewed? Don’t you wanna know what sound or noise turns him off, what he’d want to do if he weren’t an editor? Seriously, I’d love to interview him, but he has his dignity and all, I suppose.


  25. Don’t be a wuss. Ask him.


  26. Okay, arm twisted. I will. Seriously, I was ready to do it last week, since I wanted him to be our first blogger highlighted. And I usually have no shame (I mean, all he can do is say “no”). So, well, I don’t know why I changed my mind. I shall ask.


  27. Genus idea! I am looking forward to reading all your interviews!


  28. Whoa. Chris??? I didn’t realize you were THAT Chris. Thanks for checking in. And, um, trying to class this act up.


  29. i’m in!


  30. Oh, the Bitter Clown! I’d forgotten about that. Do you all know if the rest of the films ever were made?

    Jules — around the house I’ve started to just say “Fart!” really loudly rather than my favorite curse word. I’m not sure I’ve really improved the situation, tho.


  31. Hi, Adrienne! I don’t think so – Paul’s website (www.lovellfilms.com) doesn’t mention them.

    Speaking of appearing onscreen, B. and I saw your D.I.Y. To The Rescue episode a couple of weeks ago!


  32. Ooh, eisha, if we’re going to have a theological conversation at our author wine ‘n coffee dinner, then by all means we need to invite Philip Pullman, my favorite “Episcopalian agnostic” or however it was that he referred to himself.


  33. Hmm, another good suggestion… I love his books, but if he starts going off on by beloved C.S. Lewis it could get ugly. You may have to physically restrain me from, say, spitting in his wine.


  34. That was fun to read. I’d love to see pictures of the bloggers out there.

    I especially l ike “Even if you’re talking about a cat.” Ha ha!


  35. I’ll play if it’s not too late to sign up! Jules, I’ll be a folk singer with you in the next life!


  36. Hi, Courtney! I didn’t know you had a blog. Rock on. I’m going to go visit it right now. Thanks for visiting.

    Oh, and yes, we’ll be a folk-rock duo in the next life. I’m glad you’re going to join me.


  37. Wah, very sad not to see my name listed with the authors! I have a few copies of my newest arc. Please email me if you’d like a copy.


  38. Okay, not that anyone is following anymore or even really cares perhaps, but just for the record, just to know that I officially fixed an error: I was just reminded by a family member that it was Blaine’s great-great uncle after whom he was named, not his great-uncle. (He also died at the base of a windmill — apparently, he was found still sitting up, leaning against it, and with a cigarette still in hand. That has nothing to do with anything; it’s just interesting) . . .


  39. This is great! Please sign me up, too! :)


  40. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?


  41. Bonjour vous quel est votre avis de mon nouveau site sur l’ immobilier ?


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