In my younger days, while working through kitchens in the Deep South to become a chef, I shucked a lot of oysters. Probably thousands. Honestly, it was a crazy shucking time in my life. But while I used plenty of oysters for cooking, I also flung my share onto people during fake sneezes, or while pretending to cough up something.
Often they would ask, “What are you, a shucking comedian?”
Looking back now, I guess it’s no surprise I eventually traded my chef’s knives for a humor columnist’s keyboard.
So the irony wasn’t lost on me when, nearly 20 years after becoming a columnist, I found myself standing in front of a camera posing with a freshly shucked oyster. Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis knows that stranger things have happened to me. In this case, however, it wasn’t on a security tape or just a really bad attempt at a sexy selfie for my wife. It was for the cover of my new book coming out in September:
Pearls of Writing Wisdom: (From 16 years as a shucking columnist).
Obviously, the title demanded an oyster be on the cover. Mostly because of the Oysters Union. In fact, the only reason I’m on the cover at all is because someone had to hold the demanding little crustacean in the proper light. I had no idea the photographer, Joshua Greene, was shooting us both. In fact, the only input I had was on deciding whether to have it open or closed. After debating the merits of both, I finally just said, “shuck it” and popped it open.
What follows is a series of photos from that shoot which, like that first one, are being considered for the cover. My apologies in advance to any of you with a weak stomach or who are currently suffering from seafood poisoning. I know this may seem a little shellfish, but as members of my blogging family I would really appreciate your input on this. I’ve numbered the photos so you can let me know which one you think would
make you freak out catch your attention if you saw it on a book shelf…
If you made it through this post, thank you for your dedication! Or maybe it’s just a morbid curiosity. Whatever the reason, I’d appreciate your input on which photo you’d pick for the book cover, keeping in mind that No. 6 has already been chosen for the “Drinking and Duning Don’t Mix” campaign.
In all seriousness, this book has been a longtime coming, written specifically to help writers find their voice, direction and inspiration when they need it — a writer’s survival guide of sorts. My thanks to all of YOU for your constant support and inspiration, and for being a part of my writer’s survival kit.
By the way, I still have that oyster if anyone wants it…
74 thoughts on “This photo shoot has left me feeling a little shellfish”
I’d go for the eyebrow-raising one. Although, you must find a way to put the last one in somewhere, maybe the backflap? Congrats on another book, Ned! I look forward to buying it.
I see what you did there…
(And thanks, Darla 😉 )
Nixing the oyster offer, but thanks. And if Photo #6 is already spoken for, I’d pick Photo #2 as it conveys just the right mix of derring-do, confidence, and “come any closer and I’ll cut a bitch” to your readers.
Hahahahahaha! I just finished watching “Sons of Anarchy,” so I think I was holding that oyster knife more like a prison shank!
I know I felt slightly threatened, which only heightened my interest in reading about oysters or mushrooms or whatever the hell this is.
Mission accomplished then! Lol!
Hollywood knows what works, baby.
Fun read. Love the photos.
Thanks, Roz! I’ll see you over at the Columnist Clubhouse. Drinks are on me! But I’m not sitting at the oyster bar.
Number 6 for sure. Ha!
Only if I want the cover to be facing in on book shelves!
You look like you are trying to pass an oyster in 3.
I say 5 and include a scratch and sniff feature.
As long as it’s not a scratch and sniff for No. 6…
You would have to change the title of your book. I suggest “Forrest Rump”.
LOL! LOL! Uncle HENRY!
I like any of the first three. Number 4 is too smiley, and number 5 is too frowny. Number 6 is too…erm…just too.
HaHaHaHa! Yes, No. 6 would guarantee me a spot in the Horror section.
Reblogged this on Kate McClelland and commented:
Hahaha That oyster surrendered. It had given up on life as a filter feeder and thrown itself in the oyster net.
What does ‘The world is your oyster’ mean anyway? – The world s full of grey gunk, but there might just be a small calcified lump of dried mucous wrapped around a particle of sand in it for you?
I don’t now how anyone could eat anything that looked like a consumptive’s specimen sample. I’d go with picture 6 :0)
Lol! I’ve never understood how that phrase is supposed to be inspirational either. All I know is that they can be a pain to shuck. Maybe that’s the lesson?
And if I go with No. 6 for the cover, the book signings are going to be really awkward…
You could always take along a large beach towel, or maybe re-enact the ‘Venus of the sea’ painting (you’d have to re-do the photo shoot with you standing in a rather larger oyster with a long blonde wig for that one though). At least once seen you’d never forget the cover hahaha
Yeah, but I’d go broke paying for everyone’s therapy!
Hahahaha! No 4 photo then and I hope the world become your mollusc!! :0)
Well that’s taken all thr romance out of pearls… lol
Hahahaha! It’s my practical, down to earth side, romantic as a dried sponge (staying with the under the sea theme here) :0)
Oh, for heavens sake, man. You KNOW I can’t see beyond #6.
I like the more natural, relaxed you of #4.
(And #6 as a bonus poster, for those who subscribe to shuckers weekly, perhaps? :p )
Hahaha! I’m assuming when you say you “can’t see beyond #6” you mean you have literally lost your sight. I hear that can happen when you see something traumatic…
somehow, this has made me want to write while wearing a thong and eating oysters. strange…..
As long as it’s not in front of the kindergarteners.
yes, i’ll save it for my personal time. great reminder –
Lol! Our maybe for parent/teacher conferences…
Put them ALL on the cover. There must be many more if someone was snapping pics for 2 hours. Why limit us to only one? That’s just Shellfish! Your #6 could be Waldo. A good book AND a game…..everyone wins.
As long as it’s not a Pop-Up book…
Picture number 6 though..
Lmao.. Your post would always crack me up 😀
I really like #4. You have a nice smile and it portrays someone with a quirky sense of humor. As for #6? The funny thing is.. when I was reading the earlier that you had stranger things happen, that EXACT picture popped into my head! LOL! Ugh… what does that say about me?? ha ha ha ha ha! 😛
Lol! I think it says I can expect to be paying for your psychological therapy at some point in the future…
That’s what I’m sayin… LOL! 😛
#1 Insight and failing looks good for the cover of a helpfully humorous book.
PS: My 13-year-old Marvel-crazy son just walked by as I was looking at the pictures. He said, “What’s he selling?” I said, “Oysters.” He said, “Looks like Tony Stark. He doesn’t sell oysters.”
HA! Sounds like my kind of kid! Tell him Stark Industries is diversifying now that we aren’t selling weapons anymore 😉
I’ll let him know. As far he’s concerned, he should already know that since they are ‘connected’. He’s a huge Iron Man fan.
He’s probably way ahead of me then, although Stark Oysters hasn’t officially gone public yet.
1. Why am I holding an oyster? Didn’t you have any spare change in your pocket?
2. See what I have? And you can’t have any. It’s mine!!! All mine!!!
3. I’m scared to death of these. One time, the little bastard bit me. Please, please, please take it.
4. *The one I’d go for!*
5. I think I shit my pants. Actually, I’m sure of it. Will you hold this oyster while I go check?
6. It happens to everybody. That moment when you realize that you’re going to slide down a sand dune on your bare butt.
LOL! If I ever need someone to play “Fill In the Caption,” I’m calling you first!
Awww shucks. Thanks. 😉
It’s totally #2. The photo, that is. After #6 though, I’m still in shuck.
I’m, prepared to shell out money for your therapy sessions, Tara.
Aw, shucks. That’s so nice of you.
I hate to say this, but #1 looks like Ted Cruz. There.
I’m not sure who’s disappointed more, me or Ted Cruz.
I like #2. Errr, I mean picture number 2. I know how your mind works, so thought I better clarify.
Lol! You know me too well, grannyK!
Well at least I know I’m not totally off in my perceptions. I was thinking that you resemble Robert Downey Jr. in some of those pics and I was validated. 🙂 Picture #2, since #6 is out of the question.
I get that sometimes. I think it’s the ears 😉
Hmm… tricky! I’d probably say number 5. I also quite liked number 2, apart from the fact that the way you’re holding the knife gives the picture a slight deranged ax murderer vibe to it.
Slight deranged? I must be losing my touch.
1. Hunched shoulders,
2. Ditto shoulders, staring eyes that say. “Eat this oyster or
It’s the “or” part that scares people…
“Ned Hickson: Man of A Thousand Faces.”
Ok, I’m still lmao here! Clever, clever my friend. I’m caught somewhere between photo #2 a tinge of seriousness, or #4, a cunning smile, letting me know the book is written with humour. If that’s the case, go #4. If that’s not the case, then, . . .the book should be written with humour, lol. I will also add, I reallyyyyyyyyyyyy wanted #6, so maybe you’ll just have to implement that photo somewhere in the book LOL. 🙂
Lol! If I used No. 6 on the cover, all the books would be facing the wall in book stores! 😉
Omg Ned, you crack me up!!! 🙂
#4 for sure! It’s candid, genuine, and happy. It shows joy and pleasure, like you’ve actually enjoyed your 16 years as a shucking columnist.
Thanks, Melanie 😉 And I have, I swear!
That’s why I liked it, too Melanie!
Of course 4 is fabulous, but there is something about 2 that is great too.
2 has gotten a lot of nods. There’s just a certain vulnerability the oyster has in that photo… 😉
Okay, I thought the one oyster pic with the satanic eye glare was the creepiest thing I ever saw… until that last one… ha!
Sleep tight, Arthur…
I will now sleep uptight…
I’d do number two, which is incidentally what you’ll be doing when you eat that oyster…oh wait, is that how picture number 6 came about?
Guess the title of your third book will not have any fish references, heah?;)
Hahaha! I like to think of the dunes in our area as my own personal cat box.
This whole post makes my heart happy. You are the real deal, Ned! You give shucking hope to the rest of us.
As for photos, I’m a fan of Blue Steel (duh!) and #4. #6 would have worked, but you’re missing an apron and a lawn mower…just sayin’
When’s launch date? May I pre-order? Do you need a beta reader? You’be helped me so much, I want to help in any way I can.
Thanks so much for all your support, Michelle 😉 The book’s coming out in September, and I’ll definitely be calling on you about a fun promo idea I have. No thong involved, I swear! Plus, your new newsletter is genius. I’ve got to start one of those.
Again, thanks so much!
I’d go with 3.
Thanks for reading, and for your input! 😉