Nicole Sharp

Writes

Tag: funny

As a writer, I write to make myself feel better. Yes, my fingers have been flying across the keyboard this past week! II love when writing, short stories come out of nowhere and I follow them to their ends. I thought you’d like a little something different today! Continue reading

There is nature in my backyard…

The snake hissed angrily. A large striped, unwanted fiend that was attempting to take up residence. Across from the snake, the dog stood growling, a rabid monster ready to pounce.

I slowly backed from the slithering beast to take hold of the dog. He balked as my fingers dug in, twisting a hand full of the matted fur in case I had to hold him back.

The taunting tongue of the tempter of Eve sickeningly hissed; mockingly. The dog’s chest rumbled with anger.
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Mic drop…

home alone

My body is tingling, I don’t know how much more excitement it can handle at this old age. But I shouldn’t call myself old, cuz isn’t 40 the new 28 ½? I did this thing where you take a picture of yourself and plug it in to an app and then it tells you how old you really look. It said I look like I’m 38.

I’m way off track here.

I had a series of emails between myself and a possible agent. I had replied to her “look forward to hearing from you” too many times and needed something new. I called the English Teacher and the Front Office Manager (aka my parents) to ask for another sign off option.

A strange conversation ensued.
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The dream from the 80s

My first personal word processor

My first word processor, I was so proud of this baby.

So the thing about writing is that I decided years ago that I kinda had something to say. And when you decide that you kinda have something to say, you kinda want others to read what you’ve written. And for other’s to read what you’ve written you kinda wanna get published.

So I started half assed, at the fresh age of 24, after my proverbial ‘coming out of the writings closet’, to try and get published.
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The Towel

hitchhikerI recently re-read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I love that book, and the books that follow in the collection. I love Douglas Adams for his writing and his wit. I love that, as a good friend reminded me, you must read the book with an English Accent.

I was also thinking about one important lesson from that first book. As a poor excuse for a world traveler myself (I haven’t been as many places as some, but I’ve been to more than others); I found one piece of advice from the Hitchhikers guide to be invaluable.

Bring a towel.
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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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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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Writer’s write…

I have found that if you are going to call yourself a writer, you need to do the work. No matter what. No matter the circumstances, no matter your schedule, no matter how you’re feeling, you have to write. Writer’s write, as they say, everyone else makes excuses.

So I write, and sometimes it’s not easy. But here is my process, more or less. Some day’s it’s more, some days it’s less.

I wake up early, at least an hour before the rest of the house gets up, I tiptoe downstairs and make my coffee, open all the blinds in the house and arrange my laptop just so in order to be ready to write.

Coffee made, seat taken, I check email, bank account and then Pinterest. Then after several sips of coffee, I demand of myself, “You are wasting time, this is it, all you get. You gotta write now because soon everyone will be awake and this little spell of free time will be broken.”

*Right-o chap!

I open my most recent work and read the last page I wrote, make changes, and then remember that I wanted to defrost the chicken for dinner tonight. So I go take that out of the freezer.

Small detour. Back to the writing. Okay, after making several more changes to a few sentences, I have my characters at the train station in Paris and they need to go south. Fast.

How fast do those trains go? I pull up ye old interwebs and search how to get from Paris to Montélimar, (small medieval town in southern France known for their almond nugget candy. But that’s not why my characters are going there.) Ah, here it is. I find the train schedule and find that the fast train goes 187mph and will get my characters to their destination in three hours. Cool.

Back at the train station with them, they are running late and they have no idea what they are looking for as far as the signage goes. Neither do I. I was in Paris eleven years ago, but my tour group didn’t take a train. And the only other movie I’ve seen set in the Paris train station that comes to mind is French Kiss. God I loved that movie. Whatever happened to Meg Ryan? She was the romantic comedy icon for a long time then. Didn’t she marry John Cougar Mellencamp? Huh. I bet the train station has changed since that movie, okay, I’ll keep it generic. They run late and get on a train, that’s fine. We can use supposition or figure it out in editing later.

Flip back to the interwebs, search for videos of people traveling from the main Train station in Paris. God, looking at these videos and pictures remind me of the trip I took to Italy when my sister got married. Twelve of us went from Florence to Rome for the day on a fast train, it took us an hour to get there. Or was it an hour and forty five minutes? Hmmm. I’ll look that up to. What was the name of the train line we used? Had a picture of a rabbit. Ah, here.  The train line was called Italo and it took an hour and half. That was a good trip, I should look at the pictures and videos for that, might spark some descriptive ideas.

Okay. Finished with that, time to get down to the business of writing.

Characters board the train, they find their seats, they describe the train, they spark a little conversation about speed and how trains follow the spine of a city. “They passed through the backbone of the city, the tracks tucked down alleyways and side streets, giving the view of the dust and underbelly of a European city.”

That’s decent.

Uh oh, some little voice upstairs is awake. Quick break to take care of that.

*Fifteen minutes later.

Alrighty then. Writing. My little one is watching a show and finishing waking up, that should give me about thirty solid minutes to write, okay twenty if I’m lucky.

Where we were, on a train in Paris. No, a little further. Hmmm. What needs to happen here, is it just transportation or should this be a big moment of self-discovery among characters?

Okay, turns out I had ten minutes. Breakfast time. “How about a bowl of cereal?” Cool, easy, sold!

That should give me another few minutes. Back to the keyboard! Did I ever send that email to that gal who asked for those book recommendations? Hmm, better do that while I’m thinking about it.

Right, Paris, characters on a train. Talk about scenery. Characters share coffee service. Hmmm, can’t remember what the French country side looks like.

Interwebs!

“Mommy what are you watching?” the little voice wafts over me.

“Videos of a train ride through the French Country side.”

“Why?”

“I’m writing about it.”

“Why?” a little squeak.

“Because. What do you need?”

“I’m still hungry.”

“Why?”

“My cereal is all gone.”

“What do you want?”

“Ice cream.”

I glance at the clock: 8:30a.m. How badly do I want a bit of free time to myself to write?

“Vanilla or strawberry?”

*Crack of fingers, ready to get serious about this now.

“The gray sky that had been a companion in Paris the past few days was breaking apart, rays of sunshine drifting down onto the countryside as if this was a front row seat for the very moment that summer bowed gracefully to the coming autumn.”

*phone rings.

I’m not going to answer it, whoever it is can wait.

“Hello?”

*Fifteen minute conversation with my sister; done. Back to ye old awesomeness of writing.

The words come fast now, the sluff of the morning to-do’s is easing, a lull in the rhythm.

My fingers fly across the keyboard, I have a bit of direction, I can feel that abyss that can sometimes pull me under so I’m cradled in a cocoon of my words and this book I’m writing lately has me inspired, as long as I give into the momentum, it’s bound to chug right along.

“He’s the king of the castle.”

Wait, what? The gentle hum and rocking of the train soothes my characters into their own exhausted thoughts.

“Fly! Fly little rollie pollie from the castle.”

Wha? Beside them the French countryside has opened up before them.

“The fish food is a castle! Be the king! He’s winning.”

I stop my fingers and shake off the world I had emersed myself to find my little one writing her own story next to me. Three rollie pollies have been selected from their various sectors and brought into the house, all precariously placed on top of a bottle of fish food, apparently vying for place as king of the castle in a three year old’s version of the hunger games.

I try to type another sentence, but then the requests for more food, for help getting paints down, are joined with requests from the other member of our small household who has decided that now would be a great time to ask me random questions about bills, cars, and dinner plans with friends.

I laugh, write a last scentence, punctuate it and close my laptop.

The morning portion of my writing time has come to an end.

(The secret? I love how it all works out sometimes.)

Spies 101 (for the fiction writer)

As a writer, I’ve found that I know a little bit about a lot of things.  I’ve heard other writers say this before too.  It’s because for so many stories, I end up doing enough research to make the story viable and the situations believable; though the irony is that I write completely unbelievable situations.

So I have just finished writing a book, and it is as good as I can make it without the help of an editor.  Though, to finish said book, I had to call a friend and ask her a few questions about the CIA.  She was my source because at one time she looked into becoming part of that organization herself.  I, myself, do not know any CIA agents, she was the closest source.

When I called my friend, I left a message for her which spurned a few thoughts. Mainly this; everything I know about the CIA (and other spy organizations) I learned from a Brad Pitt Movie.968full-spy-game-screenshot

So, here are the top ten things I’ve learned about being a secret agent from Brad Pitt Movies:

1)      There is always an asset, a commander, an operation, and an overly intelligent, handsome, street smart man at the center of it all.

2)      Every life or death situation has just enough time for a funny comedic quip.

3)      Assets are put into harm’s way, but only in foreign, romantic locales.

4)      In order to be a good agent, you have to have been a boy scout.

5)      The really good agents are mysterious men who have been stand offish to everyone they’ve ever worked with; but love of a damsel in distress makes them an open book.

6)      Agents always drink really cool, trendy alcoholic drinks.

7)      For any mission, “all you need is a stick of gum, a pocket knife and a smile.”

8)      The trunk of a car is a perfectly acceptable place to have a duffel bag full of guns.

9)      It’s always a good idea to hide foreign currency, six passports, a gun, and a hint of your real identity in several different safety deposit boxes all over the globe.

10)   Apparently, only the good guys know how to hit the target they’re shooting at.

Thank you and good night.

I Know Who Stole David Sedaris’ Pretzels

I was thinking about David Sedaris this weekend as I finished the book Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls. I was lucky enough to hear him speak when he was last here in Boise, which, on the ol’ Nicole Sharp timeline, was one kid and one house ago.

He is so funny, he crack me up. Maybe because as I read his books, I can hear his voice. Don’t worry, I don’t need a doctor for this. (Yet).  Mr. Sedaris records his own books for the audio sales, and I’ve listened to several of his books. And caught as many of his interviews as possible. His voice and his inflections are so memorable that it is difficult, once you’ve heard Mr. Sedaris read his own work, NOT to put his inflection into what you are reading. So I am completely entertained.

This post is one of the first that I posted on my blog when it was all shiny and new five years ago. It’s gotten lost under a small mound of writing since then, so by the magic of the writer, I deem it time to be resurrected and shared once again with my darling four readers.

 

 

 

I Know Who Stole David Sedaris’ Pretzels

Sweat slips down my back, uncomfortably pooling in the dip in my lower back before slipping even further down to the crack that polite girls don’t really talk about.  I try to nonchalantly capture the sweat with my shirt at that dip just before its final decent.  Then I worry that a visible wet spot might be forming at the back of my shirt.  A quick glance around and I find other women glowing with the heat, but I don’t see any lower back shirt discolorations.  Was it only my back that decided to be an inopportune cooler at the moment?
Sufficed to say, it was fucking hot in here.

It was all the bodies collected together, purposefully, all of us pressing together so we could get a little closer, so we could hear what he was saying.

Two things: HE, was David Sedaris. And 2) the dip in my lower back is my favorite part of my body.

The place in question was Boise, Idaho.  A place you think to yourself, oh yeah, definitely a notable stop over for Sedaris on his recent tour to promote When You Are Engulfed in Flames.  Almost as important as say, New York, or Los Angeles.  Not only that, on said stop over, the signing event was being held at Hastings.

Hastings, for those who don’t know, is a music, book, video store.  I like to equate it to the K-mart of book stores. It’s okay, good bargains, clean store, just not the place you would think of setting up a rather well known author.

I arrived at Hastings early, but not early enough it seemed.  There was standing room only in an awkward space that normally consisted of a four table, nearly always empty cafe.  I wondered why no one thought ahead to folding chairs, a proper sound system, a small riser for the known short author to stand on. I thought about things along those lines, and couldn’t figure out why no one else had.

Being early, but not too early, I had time to stand around and watch as my body temperature built.

I gave up waiting in line for an autograph because part-time green shirt employees informed us that Mr. Sedaris would begin speaking soon, so it would behoove us to go find a spot to listen to the author speak.  They made this announcement five or six times over the loudspeaker.  The seventh and eighth time they made the announcement, was more like begging us to please get out of the line.

So I left the line and found another place to stand, in a seemingly well desired spot, which was actually very close to the table where Sedaris was signing autographs.  I could have gone over and stood next to him, and yet, polite Victorian rules passed down through Catholic school rooted my feet to the ground.

He was human, that was my first observation as I watched him with his fans.  His tie might not have matched the short sleeve checked shirt he wore.  Though, I wasn’t much of a Fashionista myself, so I wasn’t sure.  The third button on his plaid shirt was unbuttoned, and what I thought was amazing was that no one was telling him, no one had pointed it out.  I wondered if he had gone to lunch that way, or how long it had been unbuttoned and maybe that was what fame meant, you could walk around with the third button of your shirt undone and no one thought twice about it, or did it mean you didn’t have anyone who felt comfortable enough to tell you to button your shirt.  Maybe it was a sad commentary on fame, something about how everyone was too intimidated to tell him he had a button undone.

I made a mental note, to always travel with a close friend if I ever have to go on anything like a book tour, so I could be told if I had something stuck in my teeth or if I had a button undone.

David Sedaris was human.  Normal.  He was, IS, just like the rest of us.  Surely, there must have been a time when he had been a struggling writer, in some North Carolina town and had gone to the K-mart of book stores to hear an author he respected speak and he too had decided to not wait in the long line of drooling fans, just accepting that hearing the author was enough.  And I suspect, at some point, he realized that author he respected was human too.

I watched his fans next.  The gay boys who gushed their appreciation on him, ‘thank you so much for your strength and humor it’s helped me get through the hard times.’

The women with their canvas library bags that boasted various conferences they had attended in the 80’s.  (It is a strange phenomenon I’m still trying to get to the bottom of, why these women were all attending literacy conferences only in the 80’s.  Perhaps it was the female version of a mid-life crisis. Instead of buying flashy cars or new hair or trading in old spouses for new; these women decided to declare literacy their opus and hunted after it like they were chasing Vonnegut’s motorbike itself. Well, it’s one theory.)  So these women, with their canvas bags, I watched as they parked themselves in front of Mr. Sedaris and began a monologue of who the 9 books they pulled out of the bag were for and the long, boring story behind the well read books they pulled out after that.  It was a tiring few moments even for an observer.

There were the gracious fans, ‘Hello, if you could make it out to Jen, thank you so much. I look forward to reading your new book and hearing you speak.  Thank you.’ Quick, elegant, hassle free.

There were the well-manicured girls who giggled and told their friend on the other end of their cell phone they had been talking to the whole time, to hold on while they got ‘this guy’s autograph’.  I actually saw it, a Barbie put her friend on hold with a flippant announcement of, ‘no one you would know, hold on’ in reply to the obvious ‘whose autograph’ question, all the while Mr. Sedaris stared up at her, waiting.

It was finally time for him to take his place at the music stand and two microphones the staff had set up for him at the far end of the cafe.  The sound system wasn’t very good, he could yell and be heard just as well.  Mr. Sedaris realized the sound system was rather poor and asked, “can you all hear me okay?”

I cringed at the uncouth people behind me who all verbalized their inability to hear him with violently yelled “No’s!”  As if Mr. Sedaris were solely responsible for this problem.

He handled it with great aplomb, “well, this is the best I can do.”

He was gracious, funny, and diffused the situation with his well-developed speaking voice; of course I expected no less from a man I check in with on NPR at least once a month.

He chose a reading that revolved around homosexuality and recreational drug use. A subject that I thought perfect for today, for Boise, Idaho.  He read from an Esquire article he had written a while ago that had to do with fashion, or as he put it, ‘his lack of it’ and I thought oh that’s so apropos for the man I just caught with that button undone and the tie that may or may not have matched his plaid shirt.

In the growing heat we all strained to hear him, and I stood with a lavish grin on my face as I intently focused on his barely audible humor and the pictures he so eloquently painted.

After thirty minutes of reading, he began a question answer segment.  I could no longer pretend that I was the perfect audience member.  My untimely hot flashes, the sweat pooling in my ass crack would go un-ignored no longer.

I hated that my concentration was broken, so I took my moment of defeat to back away from the nasty heat-producing crowd and cool off.  I was outside the realm where I could hear his voice clearly, now it was just a mumbled mess.  I knew he was finished with the eruption of applause.  There was mass chaos as Hastings workers began herding the audience to form a new line so part two of the autograph session could begin.

I was going to go. I had done what I came here for, a bit of humanity from an author, a bit of inspiration and to be a part of something.  I moved against the crowd, with it, hell I didn’t know what the employees were trying to do any more than they did.

That’s when two girls closest to the autograph table caught my eye.  They both hoisted their purses up on their shoulders, loudly whispering and conspiring; then, suddenly, I watched as they reached into the unwatched gift basket presented to Mr. Sedaris, took an unopened bag of pretzels and stuffed the contraband into a purse. They manically giggled and grasped each other as they ran away.

I fought the crowd, walked out to my scooter and firmly fit my helmet into place with a grin while I pondered; what the hell were they going to do with the pretzels?  Brag that they had stolen pretzels from David Sedaris when he was at Hastings for his book tour?  Who does that, and what does that make you if you are a pretzel stealer from a man who can’t get anyone to point out that the third button on his shirt is undone?

I drove away with my dreams of grandeur scooting along side of me, laughing, those girls might have the pretzels, but I know who stole David Sedaris’ pretzels.

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