Nicole Sharp

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

Tag: baggage

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.


luggageI’ve been thinking about baggage a lot lately.  The baggage we all carry with us.  Sometimes that has such a negative connotation and there are so many jokes to try and help us deal with our ‘baggage’, my favorite being some relationship advice about choosing a partner in your life whose baggage matches your own.  Hmmmm.

Maybe baggage is more than the bad things that have happened to us in the past.  Perhaps it’s who we come from.  The people that have come before us.  I was thinking about baggage in the form of artistic abilities handed down.  I have artists on both sides of my family I come from, and my inability to draw even a recognizable stick figure always daunted me, so I began to draw my pictures with words.

I have a grandfather who sent me the first chapter of a story he’d written when he was in college.  My other grandfather was an artist, so many wonderful paintings and sketches hung about his house.  My mother paints and is all around creative in every aspect of her life.  My father was in theater for many years, taught theater, and is pretty impressive in the spot light.  Extended aunts and uncles are artists, comedians, and children book authors.  My grandmothers have quilts, blankets, and cross stitches that are so gorgeous and treasured, they are an extension of their own creativity.  And then there is my maternal great grandmother.  She was an Idaho Native and when I was in college, I decided to unearth her life and do a report on her life.  She painted pictures, she sketched pictures and had several of her sketches become the cover of a long forgotten magazine called Ranch Romance Magazine.  She sewed quilts, she crocheted and made all of my grandmother’s clothes.  We’re talking top of the line sewing here.  Another thing she did was write poems.

So I was thinking about all of this baggage that I carry with me, trying to put it eloquently, but the thoughts coming so fast that I can only do it justice by frantically writing my thoughts and coming to this conclusion.  I will carry these heavy bags happily because sometimes, if you look close enough, you come from some pretty amazing stock and I’d rather carry around this kind of baggage than the break ups, the bad boyfriends, the ruined friendships, the disappointments.

Here is one of my great grandmother’s poems to share, written before she passed away in April of 1978.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

(For my grandchildren)

There are only three days that matter in anyone’s life.

The first of these is Yesterday.

Can you look back on it and feel that you did your best?

Or did you, somewhere, miss a chance to give something beautiful to the world?

You can never re-live it, but you do have a second chance with today.

What will you do with it?

Are you ready to meet its challenge to open your heart to happiness and share it with others?

Or will you wait for Tomorrow, dreaming and planning for what you hope will be?

The choice is yours, but remember…you cannot change yesterday,

and tomorrow may not be all that you expect.

But today….

Today is here and now.

-Annabelle Smith

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