Shades of the Same Skin: Rusty Shuping

Rusty Introducing Rusty Shuping

From and currently resides: North Carolina, USA

Rusty lives in the Southeastern area of USA. This slice of paradise runs through North Carolina and is commonly called the Bible Belt due to its long held tradition and culture stemming from the strong presence of Christianity.

 He began to take writing seriously later in life when he learned that experience and life lessons could provide useful content for creative writing. Much of this was brought about through the instruction of Melissa Kepley and Ginger Fox, college instructors of classes attended by Shuping.

Rusty S

Rusty Shuping as Santa

Travel has provided mental material, along with the love for growing food and flowers. Recording events in the form of art through photography has also had a huge part in the creative development, which leads into writing. Working with metal for years also worked its role in influencing life decisions. Handling materials with anything from jeweler’s tweezers to drilling derricks contributed to a sense of depth in using words to bring life to cerebral commotion.

 Rusty writes mostly for self-satisfaction but when words can be used to encourage others it is a big plus. One example is creating real paper, custom greeting cards, and mailing them all over the world.

                Morning Word

 Yesterday started as an unusually beautiful sunny Sunday. I was standing in the church auditorium. It was getting close to time for the second service to start and I noticed Jim coming through the double doors into the sanctuary. Jim, tall and very thin was dressed warmly with his thick, long sleeved shirt, and a brown toboggan covering his head. He was moving slowly with the aid of his walker. Cancer had emaciated his body. He knew he didn’t have long left in this world. I turned and looked toward John who was two rows back from me. I said. “No one has an excuse for not being in church this morning.” He smiled and agreed.

 Jim and I greeted each other and he sat behind me that morning.  He tried to stand when the rest of us but his strength wouldn’t allow it for long. His strength gave out and John caught him helping him rest softly into his chair, and Jim settled in for the remainder of a wonderful church service. The singing and preaching were soon over, and Jim wobbled to his feet.

 That afternoon I heard that Jim, at 2:00, was sitting in his recliner chair resting. Jim slipped out of his beat up, broken down body, and he went home to be with Jesus in Heaven. Thoughts began running through my mind. Here was a man I was talking to one minute, and not much more than an hour later is in the presence of God for eternity. What a glorious way to start one day, with the sun shining on ones face, and finish it in the presence of the Son of God and to see His face. If we truly know Christ as our Savior we are already living in eternity. We only change locations when it’s time to go.

The Shop

  Across the drive was the shop. Now the shop was the greatest place in the world for a boy in the country, well any normal boy for that matter. It was filled with antique tools and equipment. Fifty-some years ago they were antique, now even more so. There were so many things for a boy to ask questions about.

 Grandpa was very patient and I believe he enjoyed spending time with me, describing all of the neat stuff and showing me how it worked to the point of letting me try most of it. I could write a book on the stuff in that shop. One of my favorite things was the blacksmith forge and the anvil. The buffalo forge had a hand crank and would send a stream of air with a whirring noise into the firebox. Burning coal had a distinctive odor, especially the cheap kind, with all of the Sulphur. It would burn your eyes and give you a runny nose until it was burning good. Then it would heat up the steel tools very quickly.

 I liked watching Grandpa sharpen cold chisels, mattocks, and other small implements. The heating and hammering, over and over was like music. These all involved the tempering process that gave the steel strength but removed the brittleness. Without it the steel could shatter like glass. I loved to see them quenched in the water, making the water boil around the hot metal and seeing the steam. Boys like violent reactions like fire or explosions.

 I remember thinking it was common for kids like me to grow up in a great time and atmosphere like I was living. Only later in life did I realize I had come up in a fading time with the right people to give me unique experiences.



The soft breeze shifts bringing the scent of brackish water to quavering nostrils.

Salt, oyster shells, and the wonderful smells where three waters of disparity come together. Inlet, bay, and waterway push and pull like struggling personas.

Strong fragrances of salt, fish, black sandy mud with tiny bits of shells, burnt diesel, and syrupy brown tannin from the trees. Large patches of reeds built up on mounds of mud and oyster shells, held in place by marsh grass and sea oats.

The oysters in their beds spit little streams as you pass by, beckoning, come closer.  Little bearded bivalve’s, mouths gaping, to say we will shred your flesh if you give us a chance, wooing, step closer into the slippery slimy mud.

Tiny crabs sit by their holes in the black goo. The fiddlers march carrying a violin, their songs are clicking, all the same pitch with no discernible harmony. They roll out tiny sand balls as expert excavators leaving hole for escape from man and fowl.

The little birds, sandpipers scurry around, their skinny twig like legs, moving faster than the eye can follow, putting one in front of the other, always moving forward never backing up making quick tight turns running from water, then chasing the bits of sustenance, as the foamed crooked line of surf pulls away.

Pausing to peck a speck too small to notice, her bony toes mark the mud writing in a cuneiform like language, a dead tongue not spoken for millennia. Beautiful shapes pointing, spelling out instruction and direction.

Lasting only seconds until the wind and water wipe the sand canvas clean. A new page is opened tempting and luring the small writer with tidbits of food, enticing her to write to live a little longer.

Shades of the Same Skin Cover

Shades of the Same Skin is an anthology of culture. The world is in need of a vigorous seasoning and it is why the poets in this book are willing to share their ethnicity. Each one will give some insight into their culture, music, clothing, food, traditions, and even share a few recipes. Some will engage in unique stories and folklore. Others will take us back to their childhood days and compare it to the experience of children today. A few will even welcome us into their homes to share items from their heritage.

This is also a book of unity. Its purpose is to show that without diversity, the world would be a boring place. Each poet in this anthology has a unique style because of where they came from, their experiences, and who they are. Their words are printed on these pages to inspire why we belong. We are all vital ingredients for the recipe to keep the world stirring.

Shades of the Same Skin is Available at the following Retailers:

Create Space:


Creative Talents Unleashed:

100% of all proceeds from this book are being donated to the “Starving Artist Fund” to assist writers in becoming published authors. Purchasing this book can help a writer become a published author!

Categories: Anthology

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2 replies

  1. Wow Rusty is truly God gifted writer. I enjoyed the writings and look forward to reading more.


  2. I enjoyed the writing’s very much. Thank’s. Diane Gentry


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