Nicole Sharp

Writer, Wanderer and Coffee Lover living "la dolce vita"

Author: Nicole Sharp (page 1 of 12)

How old is the tooth fairy?

This is an old post, and one of my favorite stories. It is also the most popular of my blog entries. So I thought I would throw it back out there for another spin. Enjoy!

The tooth was loose.

This is my brother’s child’s first loose tooth, my nephew.  He fell at school and knocked it loose.  The idea was to let the tooth fall out by itself but it was just hanging there, and my nephew, 4 ½, couldn’t eat his dinner because the tooth is in the way and is annoying him and the tantrum to get it out begins.
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Changing it up…

IMG_1187If you are a regular visitor to my site, or have been for any length of time, you’ll notice a few changes in the look of things. It’s time for an upgrade, a change, an update. I am setting up a website for the writer side of my life and will link to my writing moose life here. Now you are in the know! When I launch everything, you’ll be able to check it out.

As always, thanks for following me and enjoying my meanderings.

Southern Lights…

My beautiful picture

By Grandpa Sharp


My life is bookmarked by the country. You see, I grew up in small Georgia town and now I find myself living in Idaho. (Look, when you tell people you live in Idaho, they automatically think small town, and compared to the New Yorks’ and Los Angeles’ of the world, it is small town.)

There is a childhood I spent in Southern California, but otherwise, I’ve always been a country girl at heart. John Cougar Mellencamp sang my theme songs, blue jeans and a t-shirt were my comfy clothes, and wide open spaces with drawn out sunsets have been my badge of courage.

And yet, in small town Georgia and now in Idaho, I am still big city.

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Just…

CYMERA_20150602_151445

I just went through my manuscript, the final clean up before it is requested to become a query in the long line of emails on an agents desktop.

And then whisked away to become number one on the New York Times best seller list.

Right?

Well….

First things first.

The damn book is written. I have just edited said damn book for the fourth time. And now, it just needs to be metaphorically Febrezed and rolled with a sticky lint roller brush thingy so I can send it off.

So I do a little housekeeping on said manuscript, my final steps in my process. I always search for the word seem, seemed, seems…it’s just something I’ve done because an old fiction writing teacher who said if you use that word once then you’re not a real writer. The delivery was pompous, but it is kind of a good rule. So I search for those words and just replace them. Because something isn’t going to just seem like a shit storm, it is a shit storm.

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My procrastination has a first name, it’s O S C A R…

scarletHello procrastination, how are you? What’s it been, a week, two? Oh that’s right, dishes three days ago, we kept away from those in rare form, didn’t we? What was it? Cleaning out the bathroom drawers to keep from doing dishes, that’s right. Kind of a lame move, but hey…what are you going to do. I realize you weren’t feeling well. Weren’t at the top of your game. How is your cold? Good, so glad to hear you’re feeling better.

So what should we do today?

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Patio Musings

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Ahhhhh.

I have officially moved outside for the season.

I have loved the backyard patio for as long as I can remember.

For that matter, I’ve loved said patios best in the early morning hours.

I’ve sat and contemplated life all over the world on various patios, and none of them have disappointed.  The only problem I’ve ever come across with my patio musings is that the morning is over all too soon.

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Messing around with Paris

ParisSometimes, I love messing around with description:

Paris at night is intoxicating. And Paris at night in the fall; mesmerizing.

Simply calling something the City of Lights is one thing, but seeing it, immersing yourself in it is another thing. Lights abound and wrap the whole of the city with a hum of excitement. Every bar, café, night club stirs with life. The Seine reflects the sparkling bits of light as they give a graceful twirl and wink and then disappear into the murky waters.

The Eiffel Tower stretches her long neck further into the sky when lit and every hour she shimmers with blinking lights, turning the fair beauty into a sparkler at the center of an abundantly lit cake.

The enormity of the history spotlighted in the darkness inspires poetry; it itches for the average person to become something greater. Simple moments dissipate like laughter in the air and add their mark on history of this fair city. Every group of fashionably clad women drifting down famous streets, every set of lovers that sit drowning in each other’s gazes, and every local that emanates their world class “je ne sais quoi” is a piece of art.

This land where bourgeois and bohemian attitudes collide to create ever evolving art that rests on the shoulders of those that came before them hovers in soften glow just beyond the famous lights.

A person could get lost in the mists of it all.

Mindful of a terrible man…

If I had a drug of choice it would be peyote. No, not really.

Wait, maybe it might be. If I were in the right time and the right place. Say, the 70s in the middle of the desert with Jim Morrison. Or wait, maybe Absinthe is my drug of choice. Ohhh. The Green Faerie, drunk in a bar in Paris in the 1920s with artist of the day, my arm slung around Hemingway as I drunkenly sing a pithy song of the day and he grudgingly tolerates me. Hmmmm.

Honestly though, I do have a drug problem. My drug of choice: words.

Good words strung together just so create a chemical reaction in my brain from which tingly little neurons speed to my legs and arms emanating back to my heartstrings which in turn cause an audible sigh to escape from my mouth in almost orgasmic delight.

Good Lord I love good words.

I have been thinking about good words after reading a gentleman’s blog called Terrible Minds by one Mr. Chuck Wendig. I have been obsessively medicating myself with his words for the past few days now, getting a good junky high from his phrasing. I’ve been walking around in a daze, intoxicated by his insights, euphoric by his phraseology, and downright inspired by the terrible mind of the man.

I heard about him through Ms. Margaret Atwood, who mentioned his website during the question and answer session of a lecture of hers I was lucky enough to attend. I wonder if he knows she is a fan of his. I would think I would like to know if Ms. Atwood were a fan of mine.

Mr. Wendig…though after reading his blog and other works, I wonder if he would prefer to be called something else. Mr. seems so formal and he comes across crass, funny, insightful, possibly drunk, but not formal.  What would I want folks to call me if they didn’t know me and didn’t want to be formal? “Hey You”? Maybe.

Okay, so Wendig is my latest obsession. I am so hell bent inspired my skin itches with it.  And I want to write about him writing about writing, which is slightly redundant, if not some strange oxymoron. Still, the man’s words are inside my soul. And he’s a prolific writer, I clicked that little button to follow his blog and I’ve received a new blog every day this week.

Damnit man, don’t you know that you’re tearing me apart?!

But it is a good thing. So very good.

“I do it (blog) because I am a mouthy shitknuckle who wants to blog. I don’t blog because I think it’s essential to my brand or my career, I blog because I really, really like blogging. I like having a place where I can get up onto my rickety scaffolding made of digital bones and squawk fruitlessly into the void. This blog began as — and often continues to be — me yelling at me about me. And sometimes, I yell at you, too. I have thoughts and this is where I share them.” – Wendig

Okay, so between my itchy skin, the amazing ramblings of Wendig and my personal interaction with Ms. Atwood last week (well, me and 1000 other people, very intimate evening you see.) It’s put me in mind to think a lot about language and words.

My hero Madeline L’Engle, in her memoir A circle of Quite, wrote about an argument she had with her husband when the world was on the ‘God is Dead’ bandwagon. He went one further and said not only is God dead but so is Language. “If language is to be revived or, like the phoenix, born of its own ashes, then violence must be done to it.”

Madeline L’Engle went on to say that “To do violence to language…is not to use long words, or strange orders of words, or even to do anything unusual at all with the words in which we attempt to communicate. It means really speaking to each other, destroying platitudes and jargon and all the safe cushions of small talk with which we insulate ourselves; not being afraid to talk about the things we don’t talk about, the ultimate things that really matter. It means turning again to the words that affirm meaning, reason, unity, that teach responsibility rather than selfish love. And sometimes, doing violence to language means not using it at all, not being afraid of being silent together, of being silent alone. Then, through the thunderous silence, we may be able to hear a still, small voice, and words will be born anew.”

Reading that stuck with me and still resonates in my bones. The meaning of it has changed as I have changed. Doing violence to language. It’s changing again as I think about the words and the technologically driven world we live in now.

I have many reasons why I don’t tweet and bookface and Instagram. I am not against others using it. You have to understand, it is highly personal with me. And I’ve said before that I know (fear) the day will come that I must join the masses. But while I wait and since my drug of choice is words, I prefer to know that I am getting the stuff that has some back bone to it.  I don’t want dribble that is ejaculatory and mindless. I want the pure stuff, I want ‘Blue Ice’.  I want to be so indebted to the writer of the words I could lick the spoon clean.

Look, I do a lot of my reading on line, and realize that it is part of the delicate tightrope I walk in using and rejecting technology in this day and age. But social media, I worry about the words, about the language in those forums. Is it just being used to be then thrown away seconds later? Is it any different than newspapers of old that would report shocking news one day and then be used the next to line wastebaskets? But isn’t that the thing? Human nature is in the need to express ourselves, to be able to insist that ‘we were here.’

I suppose in rejecting social media for as long as I can, I am doing my own personal violence. Being quite in the hopes that perhaps my own voice will be born anew and I can find that the language I use will become a phoenix, stronger, more radiant that it had been before.  Then again I could argue that to say nothing at all is a naiveté in and of itself. But is it naïve if I know what I’m standing for with the actions I don’t take?

Now there’s a thought to ponder while shampooing my hair.

Alas, I’m going to pack away my metaphors and wonderings today because I need to go write more of my own personal dribble that has me coming apart at the seams. But first, why lie? I’m headed back to the words for another hit.

First impressions…

I was lucky enough to hear author Margaret Atwood speak last night. She’s a Canadian author who, at her glorious age, probably has about fifty plus years of impressive credentials, titles, and awards that can be placed after her name. I didn’t know what to expect. I was just excited to get out of the house and have a night of words and literature to myself. I’ve read a handful of her essays and her book The Handmaiden’s Tale. She is prolific and sensory in her writing, but apart from her titles, I didn’t know much about the author herself.

At first glance, from the tenth row where I sat, Ms. Atwood looked thin and possibly frail. When she walked out, an eruption of applause caused me to crane my neck so I could catch a glimpse. All I saw was a small gray afro of tight gray curls. Once on stage, she smiled and thanked us for the warm welcome, arranged her papers and pulled gently on the azure blue scarf draped around her neck, the only hint of color against the black suit she wore. Her eyes, I realized, matched the scarf, for even where I sat, I caught the glimmer of their blue fierceness.

And she was, fierce. Fierce in the way Maggie Smith playing Violet Crawley in Downton Abby is fierce. Ms. Atwood is smiling and funny, proper and insightful, strict and unafraid to voice her opinion or the truth of the state of the world as she sees it.

But she was also funny. Delightfully so. She spoke about words, about language, about the phrases we choose to express ourselves every day, to distinguish ourselves, to convey ourselves. She had a full audience packed in like sardines laughing uproariously when she talked about an app called “Clean Reader” that takes out the suggested ‘offensive’ language and replaces it with acceptable words.

She wondered if this was helping or hindering and to illustrate her point, read excerpts where the word ‘breast’ had been changed to ‘chest’, and wondered at a youthful reader who might come upon a character frying up some “chicken chests”.  Or how the word “wiener” (and any subsequent mention to a male genital) was changed to ‘groin’, leaving some to scratch their heads as to why any character would opt to put mustard on a groin dog and take a bite.

Amid the laughter was one of her suggestions for keeping offensive writing away from people who might find it offensive. If you don’t like what is written between the pages of the book, take one cover you hold in your right hand, one cover you hold in your left hand, bring your hands together and you will no longer be offended by what is ‘in’ the book. She goes on to opt that if one wanted, they could then take their frustration out by throwing the book against the wall, or burring the book altogether.

Her comments were pithy and comedic, but you could tell she has spent a very long time giving proper through and care as to her own views on censorship, on the use of language, on how it is within our own human nature to react to others language and chosen use of it.

She covered a variety of topics that are still resounding in my mind, to be brought back later after they’ve marinated a bit more. She took questions and when asked by a young woman how to keep the dream of being a writer alive, Ms. Atwood replied, don’t let anyone ever get in your way, in your head, and tell you that you can’t do something.

As a writer of future worlds, she was asked what she thought of social media and its effects on our modern world and the written story. I loved her answer. She repeated the question and said it would be one thing if it were new, but it’s not. Tweeting has been around as long as man.  She used the city of Pompeii as an example, when it was dug out, there was a tavern in which the writing on the walls was preserved, and there were short quips about politics, about sex and jokes about friends.

Human Nature it seems doesn’t change, just the vessel in which to express itself.

Another question to Ms. Atwood was what she thought of fan fiction. She shrugged, like this was not an important question and pointed out that folks have been writing fan fiction since they could write as well. Point and case, Homer wrote a little story called The Odyssey and a few years later, a guy named Virgil wrote another little work called The Aeneid. While debates reign over Virgil’s work, one thing is clear, he was, in essence, writing fan fiction.

She said she liked fan fiction and in fact, gave a little plug for a piece she’s recently written for The Guardian about Game of Thrones. (Begins again this Sunday, May 12!!)

The lecture was over all too quickly, she graciously took questions and then stayed for a book signing. I did not stay. I left the lecture in a daze of wonderful thoughts about words, about hope, about writing, about good people who come together to celebrate an author whose books have moved us, made us think, and whose words were still causing this fan to sigh contentedly.

Sunday morning love letters…

CYMERA_20150316_174510Sunday morning. Coffee in hand, a little light jazz drifting through the kitchen and the Sunday paper spread out before me in all its glory. Low clouds are teeming with rain, so no need to hurry about my morning so I can go get some yard work done. The floors of the kitchen have accumulated more dirt and grim consistent with living, but the floors can wait too. The mountain of laundry is upstairs; out of sight, out of mind. The rest of the household is lost in their own slow Sunday morning time warp. I could write something, but the paper awaits and perhaps an entire pot of coffee.

I love the Sunday paper, it takes me back to my childhood where the Sunday morning table was something you sauntered to in your own time and a place where you lingered. My parents sat book-ended, having divvied up the paper into the sections they liked the most; moving only to refill coffee cups. Some music would be playing in the background, and it’s always spring in my eternal memory, the cool spring breeze that floated through the house smelling of fresh blooming flowers, recently mowed lawns, and a hint of ocean air. I would eat my cereal and linger in the space of such a calm moment as long as I can.

I snuggle into this Sunday morning, a lifetime away from those memories. I’ve read through the news of the world, offered up a prayer for the brokenness of it all. I’ve scoured the newest best-selling list, found out that it’s time to fertilize my lawn, and that this Friday I can finally buy tickets for the musical I want to see. Now, it’s time to feed my consumer tendencies, I flip through the sale ads as ridiculous shinny good are presented in a way that screams ‘You need to buy me! Buy me now!’ Though, just the looking is enough. I clip coupons and set them aside. And, I’m not going to lie, usually, when I get to the Parade section, I hustle it into the ‘read’ pile.

But something caught my attention today in the Parade Magazine, a little something about letters.

I am a lover of letters. I love to write them, I love to receive them, I love to re-read them. I love to save them, paste a few into journals and I even love books where a love letter might play a role. The tactile-ness of a letter comforts me. But we live in a digital age and letters have become inconsequential sentiments punctuated with smiley faces. Still, my romantic heart is holding out as long as it can.

A lovely woman I do not know, Kathryn Ballantine, wrote a well versed essay in Victoria Magazine about this very thing. In Having a Moment to Spare, she mused that letter writing is perhaps “a lost moment in time, memories that are hard to relinquish, that keeps us reaching for paper and pen. Yet, through the process, valuable lessons are learned: patience, perseverance, and self-discipline – three qualities that stand us in good stead generally. Furthermore, thoughts committed to paper are tomorrow’s historical resources, safeguarding for posterity the lives of average people.”

Being in love with the written word, with the stories of us average folks, is perhaps why when I get a letter in the mail, whether I rip it open and devour the contents while standing in the kitchen or I make a cup of coffee so I can sit and relish the moment, I agree with Ms. Ballantine’s sentiment, “the letter that lands on the doormat brings the person as well.”

Back to Parade Magazine and letters. There was a side note in an otherwise lengthy article, about a girl who started a website called Moreloveletters.com. I was intrigued and went on line to find out more.

Hannah B. moved to New York after school and found that the world was not her oyster upon her arrival. She fell into a depression and then fell into her journal. Through her journaling, she found that she was writing letters, love letters. She began writing them and leaving them all over the city. “Coffee shops. Libraries. Coat pockets in department stores. I liked to imagine who might find those letters.”

From there, she blogged about her doings and one day she asked a simple question:

“Do you need someone to write you a love letter today? Just ask.

That one question changed my life forever as I spent the next year writing hundreds of love letters to strangers in all parts of the world. More than just the letters– that question is the reason you and I are here in this space right now. I started More Love Letters three years ago and we’ve become the only global organization out there that blesses individuals–young and old– with bundles of love letters during a time in need. We basically want to create the most miraculous experience for people when they need it most: hundreds of letters of support and encouragement showing up at someone’s door all because someone in their own life loved them enough to just ask for those love letters.”

The website is simple and inspiring. It’s a romantic call to arms. There are several ways to get involved. One is to leave love letters for strangers, examples and ideas are abundant on the site. Another is to write love letters for specific folks who are going through a tough time. There is a brief bio of the person, what they are going through, and why their friends and family have nominated them. There is a deadline for the letters to be sent and an address to mail the letters to. It’s simple, gentle and amazing.

I cannot think of another way to bring a little light into this often dark world than this. I am once again, entrenched in the hope of humankind.

Check out More Love Letters for yourself, or if you are moved to do so, send a love letter to someone you haven’t talked to in a while or to someone you talk to every day.

“Or don’t you like to write letters. I do because it’s such a swell way to keep from working and yet feel you’ve done something.” – Ernest Hemingway

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