In a nutshell


“In a nutshell,” as I’m sure you know, means “in a few words,” or “very briefly explained.” Nutshells, being the “hard exterior within which the kernel of a nut is enclosed” (to quote the Oxford English Dictionary) don’t get very big, since nuts themselves are generally fairly small. There probably was a Jurassic Walnut or something way back when that could easily squish Des Moines, but that screenplay is yet to be written. Nutshells themselves were first used as metaphors for something very small back in 1602, when Shakespeare had Hamlet declare, “O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count my selfe a King of infinite space.” Anything that could fit “in a nutshell” would have to be pretty darn small, and by the 18th century all the major writers were cramming things into nutshells.

With a metaphor being as popular as “in a nutshell” has been, can a verb “to nutshell” (meaning to briefly summarize) be far behind? Well, before we all start groaning about “rampant verbification” and the decline of our language, some news: “to nutshell” has been around since 1883, first found in Mark Twain’s “Life on the Mississippi.”

Thus, with that explanation out of the way, I will attempt to “nutshell” myself for the benefit of my faithful (and unfaithful) readers. The short answer to the question “Who am I?” is: I am a nut in a shell. I am the original square peg in the round hole, whose middle brother once said, “Bonnie, you’re my sister and I love you. But I will never understand you.”

Not since I slipped into this world one cold, rainy Halloween night have I felt truly at home on this planet. My birth town is Independence, Missouri. I’ve also lived in Arkansas, California, Michigan, Iowa, Nebraska, and I currently reside in Wisconsin. I’m a peanut-size (4’ 11”) free spirit with an oddball mind that seems to operate on two levels at once: spiritual and physical; right brain and left (or at times, no functioning brain). It certainly makes interesting story fodder for my poor old muse.

I’ve always been a reader, a writer, a thinker, a what-have-you from early childhood. My dad’s family were poets and painters, and I inherited some of that talent. A great-great-grandfather in Wales was known as the “Bard of Horeb,” and by some stretch of my imagination, I can picture myself actually sitting down with him to discuss life’s oddities, one of which is myself. My writing activity began in elementary school and continued through high school. I wrote what I now know was therapeutic poetry, and probably should christen myself the “Bard of Horrid.”

Like many children seeking to understand themselves, I spewed out this dreadful verse on a daily basis. Looking back, I see how ugly most of it was. But it was a start. If my ancestors could use their creative minds, so could I. In fact, I also had a bit of talent for drawing pictures.

It was difficult to choose which course to pursue—art or writing. Feeling that I should choose one or the other, in order to become halfway proficient, I decided to write. That way I would enjoy the best of both, because “a writer is an artist who paints pictures with words.” Finally, I discarded the paintbrushes and took up my pen in pursuit of profound words to share with humanity.

Writers write. Their muses are on call at all times of the day or night (and sometimes those lazy muses don’t even come when called, but that’s another story). Even while inside a nutshell, writers attempt to write. For imaginative people, writing is the easy part; finding a publishing professional who digs the work is a crazy circus.

In a nutshell, I am a writer. I’ve always been one. Someday I’ll write “The End” and go join my ancestor, the “Bard of Horeb,” to discuss what each of us has written before the nutshell cracked open and spewed our inflated egos into the ether.

In the meantime, my interests are many and varied: yoga, meditation, metaphysics, astronomy, astrology (Scorpio—what did you expect?), graphology, geology, all the other “ologies,” history, science, the environment, global warming, and any other subject that hits me on the spur of the moment. I am a Jill-of-all-Trades, a Mensa-almost, a Green-Bay Packers football fan.

I also love carpentry (my dad was a carpenter), and have a knack for working with machines (but not cars). I love sculpturing, and someday hope to sit down and whittle some useless artifact my kids can fight over when I’m no longer around to tape their mouths shut. My dad was a whittler, so I’ll be “Whittler’s Daughter.”

I’m the mother of five grown children, a handful of grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. I am a young-looking, young-thinking senior who refuses to act her age—I prefer not to reveal that age, nor the wrinkles I’ve accumulated. I have hazel-eyes and medium ash-blonde hair with a few streaks of silver—highlights some women pay their stylist good money to fake. I’m not your typical rocking-chair senior of previous generations, and I am also an incurable romantic.

I love music with a passion, especially classical, opera, and jazz. My favorite jazz musician is Al Di Meola, guitarist & composer of some of the best music this side of heaven, whose expertise spans more than thirty years as of this writing. I believe I am his #1 fan, and if I am not, I should be—hey Al, I hope you are reading this!

My favorite authors include: Mark Twain, James A. Michener, poets Robert Service and Edgar A. Guest, and many more too numerous to recall offhand. Some of my favorite books: Giants in the Earth (O.E. Rolvaag), Steamboat Gothic (Frances Parkinson Keyes), Chesapeake (Michener), the epic poem, The Odyssey of Homer, and Harvest Home (Thomas Tryon). Favorite genres: historical, young-adult, literary, humor, Americana, mainstream/commercial—almost anything except violent, gory tales. No vampires, please! No monkey-brain-eating ghouls!

Stay tuned for more stories from nut inside the shell, and if you should ever need an honest, highly qualified, and affordable copyeditor or proofreader, check out my link here at WordPress.

walnuts inside-outside