Posts Tagged 'Clara Nipper'


Pop and Punkin

Pop and Punkin


By Clara Nipper

So a story about stories should begin with a story. Once upon amurder-on-the-rockstime, there was a small, blonde girl too smart for her own good, who enjoyed sparkly jewelry and high heels as well as sports and tree-climbing equally and who was deeply in love with her father. Books and candy tied for second. Candy she could get, having taught herself to cook, but she didn’t know where to get enough books. She had already devoured everything in the school library and read to tatters all the books at home. Trips by car to the big library downtown were few and far between for this impatient, voracious scholar and championship speller.

One sunny Saturday when this child was seven years old, her precious father took her small hand in his and said, “We’re going for a walk.” They walked and walked, out of the regal old neighborhood, past the grocery market, across the highway, through a field, past the tall office buildings, two miles from home. At last, they arrived at the Central Library, tall and glorious in its marble splendor. Pop knelt before the girl and pointed to the building. “Now you know how to get here on your own and you can come anytime.” Jubilant, she ran inside and immediately discovered the check out limit was fifty books, which was a good start. The girl, finally fed, lived happily ever after.

one of my favorite donated titles

one of my favorite donated titles

The Little Free Library is a grassroots movement to provide books (“leave a book, take a book”) to anyone at any time, particularly children, especially low-income kids in book deserts. Little Free Libraries can be any shape, size, color and type.

Little Free Library #20025 in Spring

Little Free Library #20025 in Spring

Library Stewards can get as creative as they wish with their libraries. I had to brainstorm for weeks about what to use for mine that would withstand extreme heat, cold, tornadoes, and driving rain, but would also visibly showcase the books. Finally, I realized that machines used to dispense daily papers would be perfect. I spent months contacting the company and finally obtained the correct contact and was able to obtain two of the retired machines. I painted them purple and green with lots of polka dots so they would be vibrant and visible and fun. I registered my libraries with the national organization; bought a starter supply of books and christened my Lilliputian libraries the Thomas Nipper Memorial Little Free Library. Then I began soliciting book donations from everyone I knew and the books just poured in. I want to do all I can to provide stories to other children of any age who are like me. Little Free Library # 20025 lived happily ever after.

Clara with her little free libraries

Clara with her little free libraries


As featured in Oklahoma Magazine, July, 2015, May, 2015

Tulsa People, March, 2016


Jonathan Bennett

By Clara Nipper

So I’m an atheist. I don’t know how or why I was born and it doesn’t matter. But when I die, if there’s some sort of science-based chemical reaction where we all queue up again for another turn at life on earth, you can bet I’ll be in the bathroom smoking a fatty. I never, ever, ever want to come back here. Why? Because of love. Because love is a no limit credit card. Its bill almost kills you (death would be kinder) when it comes due. Death is the bill. And death always gets paid. Let me be clear: I don’t see death as an enemy. It is a tender mercy and a necessary release. I just dread the pain that comes with it.

Perhaps for you, this is no problem. Good. But for me, I’m a huge-hearted child who is bursting with too much love to give and no filters or cautions. Some examples: I love wildlife, so I dedicated my entire front and back yards to them; I can’t bear to cut flowers, so they stay put on the plants; I gently carry every spider outside, thanking her for her work and telling her she’s welcome and safe here; I invite wasps to nest anywhere they wish; I encourage bats, raccoons and especially snakes. On a recent walk, I found a snake in the street and I rescued it and carried it home and released it to a hollow under a rock in my wildlife habitat. I apologize to ants if I squish them. I am a beginning beekeeper because I want to help bees and will certainly not harvest their honey. I am vegan because I can’t bear consuming animals or participating in their torture and suffering. I forbade our cleaning service to disturb a spider in the bathroom ceiling corner for weeks until she had hatched her young and died. I cry when a see a tree cut down; a dead squirrel, or a dog on a chain.

“Well, sure, that’s just super,” you say, “you are one terrific lady. But what do you do for humans?”

A few examples: I put money in plastic Easter eggs and label them ‘for whatever child finds this’ and I hide them in playgrounds and parks. I make sure to visit everyone I know who is in the hospital; I attend all funerals and I send sympathy notes and deliver food and staples like toilet paper, plates, cups, and flatware. I give housewarming gifts; I send non-traditional Valentines every year to all those I love because I believe that if we’re going to have a fictional holiday like Valentine’s Day, it should be about all love, not just romantic. I write thank you notes for absolutely everything. Everyone works hard, life is a struggle and we are all doing our best, and a thank you note acknowledges that effort. If someone is home bound, I deliver food, do laundry, and run errands. For my last birthday, I withdrew a lot of cash and Kris and I drove around looking for the saddest cars and we anonymously tucked envelopes of cash under the wipers. When I’m out walking, I leave love notes in public places for anyone to find. I make desserts almost constantly so when someone new moves to the hood or goes through a hard time or has a birthday or provides superlative service, I make sure they are overwhelmed with a supply of truffles, cookies, or lemon pound cake.

I know it’s possible to hold love in your heart and never move. That’s powerful too. But for me, love is service. Love is action. Love is seeing the unspoken needs and filling them eagerly. And it doesn’t matter if I’m a fierce and ferocious medical caregiver for Kris before, during, and after surgeries or if I’m leaving a gratuity for the garbage men. It’s all from the same root and flow.

Life is full of such beauty and happiness; I grieve for all that aren’t experiencing it. I feel they are all me and I don’t want to hurt. I don’t need to go into gruesome, shocking detail, but like you, I have already had two lifetimes of hurt and I’m done. I am the tree, the spider, the bee and I want us all to be happy. I am filled with gratitude and wonder every moment and always seeking new opportunities to love; and without effort, I am surrounded by amazing people who love me. I’m lousy with love.

I regularly remind my spouse, Kris that I married her with our first kiss twenty years ago and that has stayed true every minute of every year since. I love her without limit or reservation and if she dies before me, I will join her one way or another in twenty-four hours.

A few years ago, when roller derby seduced and filled me with insatiable passion, I shocked myself repeatedly by finding no limit on what I would do in service of my derbylove. No limit. Think about that before you read on. My motto was “anything for the team.” Yes, I would’ve done sex work if it had benefitted derby. I only wish I believed in Satan so that I might’ve conjured him and made a helluva derby deal.

When I love, I’m all in. Nothing held back. And when death comes for that kind of love, it’s completely devastating. I don’t know about you, but I despise mental anguish and emotional pain and never ending despair as a result of loss.

I can sound just as sage and wise and peaceful as the bodhisattva next door, believe me. “Grief is a gift; honor your process; love never dies; death is a natural part of life and should be welcomed and embraced and yes, even loved.” But truthfully, I would rather be a robot than endure the nuclear meltdown of grief. Any grief. Yes, I want to cherry pick my experience and take only the joy and bliss of giving and receiving love and none of the heartbreak and hassle.

But then, there were cats.20160324_202920

I was determined to begin skating to work, so when Kris told me to be safe as I put on my helmet and soared away, I saw fear in her eyes. Halfway there, resting at the top of an entire range of Olympian hills, I seriously questioned my sanity. After I completed the journey and called Kris from my desk, I asked, “Am I actually crazy?”


“No, really, I’m not kidding.”

“I know and yes.”



So multiply that by a squillion to reach the level of devotion I heap on cats. And every time one of the relatively short-lived beloved bastards dies decades too soon (in my opinion), I swear never again.

20160324_203343  As I write this, I’m on our bed, which has been transformed into a sick bed for our gravely ill cat named Jonathan Bennett. He has a potentially fatal virus and my life has been dedicated to acute nursing, home vetting, trips to the doc, and worrying for the past forty-eight hours. He’s on our bed because it has the best view, birdfeeders close by, the finest sunshine and is cloud plush soft.

Sh, he’s finally sleeping. After repeated vomiting, diarrhea, coughing fits, fever, dehydration, refusal to eat, and losing two pounds in two days, we all need the rest. And Bennett isn’t your average cat-he adores people. Our entire neighborhood is upset that he is sick and have been giving continual comfort and support.

20160324_124958   Bennett has been christened, “The Mayor of Brookside” because he’s such an enthusiastic, charming, goofy, dude cat. We adopted him as a kitten from a shelter where the previous owners had abandoned him and committed the unforgivable sin of naming him Garfield (Bennett is as orange as they come). So here I am, caressing Bennett as the sun sets and the birds sing and eat, and I’m caught by the short hairs again by that sneaky temptress love.

I am not sure how to end this, except to say surrender. There’s nothing you can do about it anyway. Love, unlike that rock and roll music and these gadgets called computers, isn’t a passing fad.

Kris sat with me this afternoon as I mixed potions, assembled injections, and loaded a syringe with emergency care cat food and I snapped, “This is your future if you get sick.” She smiled at me and that radiance reminded me that it is worth it. Love wins. Well-played.IMG_20160324_115018

So I don’t know what tomorrow will bring: tears, rage and despair or joy, gratitude and relief. I guess it doesn’t matter. It’s all love.

Time for the rehydrating IV and another syringe feeding.


The End

Singin’ the Blues in a Red State

By Clara Nipper

I live in a place that believes on the 7th day, God created Wal-Mart, Chik Fil-A and Cracker Barrel and that Jesus hunts deer and drinks beer while wearing the American flag. It’s Oklahoma, but it’s not OK.

I long to flee and relocate of course, but in the meantime, I’m sitting here in a red Christian prison where the DA proudly advertises his faith; where physicians, yes, scientifically educated and board certified medical doctors have Christian verses prominently framed and mounted on their office walls; where I get well-meant bibles as gifts from co-workers and it’s nearly impossible to hire anyone from carpenter to electrician to plumber to landscaper without an unsolicited lecture on their missionary work.

Recently, in a roomful of peers who were making fun of parents choosing to name their child Wolfgang Amadeus, I casually commented, “well, they named him after Mozart.” What ensued was a Babel of dubious shock. My hair almost burst into flame. How do I get through the days without throwing up in my mouth every hour? I drink copious amounts of Dew. It burns away the bile.

The thing is, I grew up here. Before I knew any better, I fell in love with the place if not the people. There’s nothing as sweet and sacred as an early morning skate on the river and smelling either the spring wildflowers or the rotting leaves and woodsmoke and seeing the bunnies, ducks, lizards and turtles along the way.

We have one of the best library systems in the county. We have a glorious art deco downtown; and one of the most beautiful skylines in existence. Our Glow Haven peaches are the best on earth. And we do have ghettos of safety: certain areas of town are populated with My Kind. Plus I have deep roots here. All of my past and my memories are intact around me. I have established my garden as a certified wildlife habitat ( and a monarch butterfly way station ( I planted a tree when I married my partner/spouse. I have planted trees in memory of dead loved ones. I have scattered ashes. I just installed my own Little Free Library, the first and only one in Tulsa. ( I’m planning an apiary and an urban chicken coop. Not that I can’t do that anywhere, but I’m years into project development here.

I would like to get a t-shirt that reads, “Just another feminist, pro-choice, pro-GLBTQ, vegetarian, bisexual atheist introvert for animal rights” but instead, I settled for a shirt that proclaimed in black block letters on a pale gray background: “This is what an atheist looks like.”

So last weekend, I decided to wear the shirt Out. I prepared myself for abuse, brawling, gunfire, arrest and being burned at the stake.

And in local vernacular, I’ll be dogged if I did not make a thousand new friends that day. When I’m Out, something an introvert resists and dreads, I’m severely menacing and difficult to approach because I don’t want your blah blah to slow down my mission of efficiency. Well, all of that dissolved with the shirt. It was like a giant welcome mat on my boobs. Atheists materialized in unprecedented numbers and expressed enthusiastic agreement and support for me and my shirt everywhere I went. Apparently, and I don’t say this lightly or often, I am wrong. Wrong about Oklahoma. It is covertly liberal! I was in a happily exhausted stupor when I arrived back home. I folded the shirt tenderly and put it away, vowing never to wear it Out again unless I’ve taken Ecstasy first.

I take back all my contempt for this alleged red state and I amend my opinion.

Oklahoma is secretly progressive! And it’s home.


Clara Nipper writes fiction and When not writing, she makes desserts, and enlarges her certified wildlife habitat gardens. Her two murder mysteries (Femme Noir and Kiss of Noir) have been published by Bold Strokes Books and are available at their website: and on She is a contributor to local publications: This Land Press and the Tulsa Voice. Clara also skates for Tulsa Derby League under the derby name Cat Owta Hell. With two Rollercons, countless clinics and boot camps under her jamming belt, it is safe to say it’s derby until death for this Jammer Assassin. Outside the rink, she has had roller derby articles published in Five on Five, Hit and Miss, USARS Magazine, Lead Jammer Magazine-, Blood and Thunder and Currently, her works in progress are two coming of age novels and another Tulsa-based murder mystery entitled, Murder on the Rocks. Find Clara at her website, on Facebook, Twitter (@mindybendy), Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Linked In, Amazon Author Pages, Good Reads, Derby Social, Word Press and at the farmer’s market.,, and

Twitter: @mindybendy, Good Reads: claranipper

Instagram: claranipper, Pinterest:

Tumblr: Catowtahell, Linked In: Clara Nipper

Derby Social: Cat Owta Hell, Clara Nipper

Amazon Author Pages:,

Check Out BSB Authors on the Radio

Here is the link to “People You Should Know” hosted by David-Matthew Barnes.


You tell me you are so proud that I did that book reading in San Francisco . You say I am courageous.
I am impervious to praise.
I wish I could feel that flush and thrill, absorbing that I accomplished something;
But it was just the last step in a long path of careful and rigorous preparation;
So it is only the sum total of a painstaking equation that I began years ago;
Like wiping one’s mouth after a Thanksgiving meal
Or taking a shower after a hard workout.
There is no pride in that. It is merely finished.
But what about pride in the secret daily things that are much more difficult?
Invisible struggles that require so much private effort.
Such as riding my bicycle to work every day through the cold, dark winter, carrying breakfast, lunch, manuscripts and a change of clothes on my back.
Such as having incapacitating panic attacks and still doing the laundry.
Such as going to work the day we had to put Katey to sleep.
Such as practicing my book reading aloud while walking at lunch instead of going to a restaurant with friends or playing computer games.
Such as giving up caffeine cold turkey.
Such as shaving my head bald just out of curiosity.
Such as being afraid to fly but doing it anyway.
Such as vomiting in the hotel room sink but then getting dressed and doing my hair and makeup for the event.
Such as eating fresh fruits and vegetables daily when all I want is potato chips and chocolate.
Such as driving across the state by myself to attend a class.
Such as being sick but still writing thank you notes.
Such not being able to sing well but joining a choir because I love to sing.
Such as facing that blank page day after day, year after year, rejection after rejection,
As published mediocrity continues to amaze and embitter me.
Such as the world telling me to give up and go to hell and I refuse
Such as working ten times as hard and it is still not the book I meant to write.
Such as missing you so much it stops my breath but still smiling and going on stage.
Such as watching the miles count down to home and not running full-speed, sobbing, headlong into you when I arrive,
Instead, walking sedately into your arms.
Clara Nipper
Author of Femme Noir
and Kiss of Noir
Both from Bold Strokes Books

Are you Ready for This…?

by Clara Nipper

Good morning, children, today we are going to talk about the birds and the bees. When two adults are in love, they hug in a special way and that is sex.

So now it’s the writer’s job to capture that mind-blowing, earth-shattering hug of love somehow and communicate all the tension, passion, lust, urgency, juice, satisfaction, release and repeat on paper.

Usually, I’m not a “method” writer. I don’t believe I have to be miserable to write of misery. Same goes for joy or fear or any other human experience. I think, as writers, this is where we draw on our skills and imaginations, so we can be free of the limitations of our own possibly small, sheltered lives. We can sit in safety and comfort while we put our characters through the rigors of hell without having to go through all that too, thank goodness.

The exception is sex. In my experience, sex and creativity are profoundly and inextricably linked. I know, this is not a fresh insight. Probably when the earth was cooling, one amoeba complained to another of feeling stale and stuck while writing her memoir and that when she was having great binary fission, the writing just flowed. So we’ve all heard it before, but there’s a difference between knowing and knowing. When I’m not feeling that erotic, the sex scenes are dull and I know readers are checking their watches and hoping for that root canal. Or even worse, laughing hysterically. Unfortunately, I have had some of my most belly aching, rib-cracking, pee in my pants, snorting, gasping for air, begging for mercy laugh sessions while reading samples of erotic fiction that was clearly written by a Republican or by someone else who never had an orgasm. Just the phrase ‘throbbing member’ will set me off.

But when my wet-ware is engaged, I can tell the difference and the writing is more likely to seduce. The words will sizzle. That is not to mean that I have done everything I’ve erotically written about literally as I’ve written it; or that if you want to write about hot pony play, before you write it, you must get a bridle, a butt plug tail and pony shoes (thought it surely couldn’t hurt, ha, ha), it just means that when your sex is fed, you’re nourished and inspired and the erotic scenes will ‘come’ as naturally as all those delicious orgasms.

Therefore, let me just urge you, as one who knows: got block? Have sex, even if it’s by yourself. You’ll hug me later.

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