Strange Stuff You Can Buy on Amazon

Loving the Strange
Loving the Strange
Strange Stuff You Can Buy on Amazon
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Seriously, peeps.

There’s a lot of weird stuff out there.

LINKS WE REFERENCE

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/money/g28649116/weirdest-products-on-amazon/

https://www.thedailybeast.com/weird-amazon-products

https://www.amazon.com/ideas/amzn1.account.AFCU73MYXIUKLVDR2AAMONYJDMFA/KRF3G0YN1V8L

https://www.thisiswhyimbroke.com/weird-amazon-products/

https://blog.cheapism.com/weird-things-on-amazon/#slide=9

Writers Get Addicted to Things Not Just Drugs and Booze and Coffee

Write Better Now
Write Better Now
Writers Get Addicted to Things Not Just Drugs and Booze and Coffee
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Hi, welcome to Write Better Now, a podcast of quick, weekly writing tips meant to help you become a better writer. We’re your hosts with NYT bestselling author Carrie Jones and copyeditor extraordinaire Shaun Farrar. Thank you for joining us.


Sometimes us writers become a little stylistic. We get addictions. We might fall in love with the ellipses or certain words. Or, we might forget things like what a comma splice is or—gasp—what a sentence is.

Yes, I said it.

Sometimes writers forget what it is to make an awesome sentence. So we’re here to quickly tell you.

LET ME SET THE MOOD.

A good sentence brings the reader into the story and grounds them or gives them information or makes them feel. It doesn’t confuse them. It shows emotion and makes the reader feel sometimes. It creates an image for your reader to imagine via detail.

YOU COMPLETE ME.

A good sentence is complete. What does that mean? It means it isn’t a fragment, but it has a subject and a verb in it and that subject and verb combine to make a thought. In grammarian fancy language we call that complete thought an indepenendent clause.

It’s independent because it can stand all by itself like a mighty sentence. It’s not broken with its leg in a cast and has to have crutches and lean onto other thoughts.

A good sentence doesn’t need other sentences to complete it like an annoying character in a rom-com.  

So a sentence fragment is an addictive little poop and it is broken or fragmented because it doesn’t have a subject (what the sentence is about), a verb (what the subject of the sentence is doing) or a complete thought.

Here is an example of a fragment that isn’t a complete thought:

            Although Big Foot sits.

Wait. What?  We don’t know what happens although Big Foot is sitting, right?

Here is a sentence:

Although Big Foots sits on top of the garbage disposal, nobody can get a good photo of him.

Here is an example of a fragment with no verb

            Smelly Big Foot, sexy Big Foot.

Here’s an example of a fragment with no noun

            Running through the YMCA like he was human and not 8 feet tall and naked.

Fragments can be fun to throw in your story once in a while for impact, but too many and you just stop making sense.

IT MAKES SENSE.

We are not all James Joyce. We do not need to replicate Ulysses, his novel of massive sentences that are all contortionists. A good sentence makes sense and doesn’t make our readers’ brains hitch up.


Hey, thanks for listening to Write Better Now. These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in us, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Mr.ruiz and the track is Arctic Air and the album is Winter Haze Summer Daze.

Flirts, Take Charge of Your Biological Clock.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Flirts, Take Charge of Your Biological Clock.
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There’s this thing called a biological clock and it’s basically the timer of a bunch of things that your body does. It controls when you go to sleep, when you shoot out an egg, when your energy is high and when it crashes.

People who work third shift or whose shifts change have biological clocks that get all scattered. This happens to people who travel big distances too, right? We call it jet lag.

But even in a normal day we sometimes are more energetic and sometimes we are dragging and just want to find a couch and flop on it.

That clock though? It controls a lot. It also controls how alert you are, when you’re hungry or more easily stressed. It can even impact your immunity and hormones and temperature.

When you understand how it works? That’s when you can figure out how to optimize your life.

According to JE Driskell and B Mullen who co-authored “The efficacy of naps as a fatigue countermeasure: a meta-analytic integration” for Hum Factors, our energy levels decrease a bit when early afternoon hits. So, if you want a nap? And you can take one? That’s the time to do it.

Or, it’s an okay time to text your crush or sigfig if you know they aren’t super busy. Never text when you know someone is super busy.

And if you can’t take a real nap, if you can change up your work for a bit or take a break? It can really help your energy levels and focus and mood for the rest of the day. Cool, right?

That is the same time of day (noon to four) when concentration becomes a long lost friend. Thinking and focusing right after meals is also a bit hard. Most of us are able to think best during the late morning. But those times when focusing is hard are actually times when creativity is kick-butt. Wild, right?

Again, a good time to flirt text.

Not a good time? When you know someone is starting work, hanging out with their friends, running a marathon.

Understanding your own clock is a lot like understanding the clock and schedule of people you want to text. You’ll notice that there are times when you have long flirty conversations and times when it takes an hour for a response. Our bodies are like that, too.

Very Well Mind suggests that you can make your schedule more productive by not just knowing these facts, but also using them to establish a new daily pattern and also creating a steady sleep schedule where you go to bed and wake up at set times.

Gasp!

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Be smart. Text your fave in a way that doesn’t make you annoying.

LINKS WE MENTION

Johnny Cash’s Water Tower Peeing Incident

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

AND we are transitioning to a new writer podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW! You’ll be able to check it out here starting in 2022!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

Here’s the link.

best writing podcast WRITE BETTER NOW
Write Better Now – Writing Tips podcast for authors and writers
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird
best poetry podcast by poet
Carrie Does Poems

Loneliness

Carrie Does Poems
Carrie Does Poems
Loneliness
/

Hi! This year (2022), I’ve decided to share a poem on my blog and podcast and read it aloud. It’s all a part of my quest to be brave and apparently the things that I’m scared about still include:

  1. My spoken voice
  2. My raw poems.

Thanks for being here with me and cheering me on, and I hope that you can become braver this year, too!


Loneliness

He is known as he enters the emergency room, jeans sagging off his waist as an orderly ambles

To meet him. He is hunching at the precipice between lobby and hall, intake and bathroom, and

Ready to be seen. It is hard to be seen these days in a little Maine town full of tourists

If you are Old. It is only easy right here, right now, in the liminal space before becoming

A patient. We watch him totter, trying to decide. Go in? Stay out? Become

Or remain. Before we arrived here ourselves for broken bones; children who gulped down

Their own therapies in too many numbers; corneas scratched by tree limbs; we had to make

Those decisions, too. Did we want to save ourselves or should we just embrace

That all we are is pain and numbness and pain? We came, but others didn’t.

We sought help. And waited and waited for it, looking at our origins in heart beats

And blood levels, skeletons pinned and set straight again, stomachs pumped,

Eyes numbed with drops we are told not to get addicted to. In his room now, just curtains

For walls, the hunched man yells, Hello. No answer to his polite entreaty. Hello. Hello.

There is no easy cure for him. Hello. He gives up, changes tactics, and bellows. I have to pee.


WordPress won’t really allow me to format this the way I’d like so I’ll show you a screenshot of how it is meant to be.


Hey, thanks for listening to Carrie Does Poems. These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in Carrie, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Eric Van der Westen and the track is called “A Feather” and off the album The Crown Lobster Trilogy.

While Carrie only posts poems weekly here, she has them (in written form) almost every other weekday over on Medium. You should check it out!

https://freemusicarchive.org/music/eric-van-der-westen/the-crown-lobster-trilogy-selection

Weird Courtship Rituals Throughout History

Sometimes romance is a little weird.

Apples soaked in sweat? So swoony.

Fighting with a pandanus plant? So sexy.

Whipping with pussy willows? Step aside 50 SHADES OF GRAY.

We’ll be talking all about this LIVE at 7 p.m. EST. Come hang out with us. We’ve had a heck of a week and we’d love to see you.

RESOURCES WE MENTION

https://www.dw.com/en/5-weird-courtship-traditions-youve-probably-never-heard-of/a-42563242

https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2016/02/102942/old-fashioned-courtship-rituals

https://www.50plus-club.com/magazine/dating/the-history-of-courtship-dating-fascinating-facts-1774.html

https://www.datingnews.com/daters-pulse/funny-courting-rituals/

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/28950/9-strange-courtship-rituals-around-world

A Couple Tips On How to Write More Engagingly

Write Better Now
Write Better Now
A Couple Tips On How to Write More Engagingly
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Hi, welcome to Write Better Now, a podcast of quick, weekly writing tips meant to help you become a better writer. We’re your hosts with NYT bestselling author Carrie Jones and copyeditor extraordinaire Shaun Farrar. Thank you for joining us.


Here are some fast and dirty writing tips today that’s going to make your writing more intense. Ready?


Think about your tenses

What’s that mean? It means don’t be writing like things are happening now and then shift over to writing like things were happening in the past. If you want the most immediate writing experience, write in the present tense. If you want a little padding? Write it in the past tense.

Here’s a quick example:

I lost feeling on my entire left side of my body during our long run on Friday. I thought I might have been having a stroke.

That’s in the past tense, right? We read this, notice it’s in the first person and figure that the narrator has survived because she’s telling us about this after-the-fact.

Try it out in the present tense:

I lose feeling on my entire left side of my body during our long run. I think I might be having a stroke.

It’s more intense, right?

Let’s make that phrase even more intense.

Take out the distancing words.

In first person especially, it’s really hard to get away from a lot of looking and knowing and words that pull us out of the moment and the immediacy of the character’s experience.

Distancing language tends to be the words like ‘seem,’ and ‘look,’ and ‘heard,’ and ‘know.’ When I revise, I think of these words as placeholders for where I can go back and dig in more deeply in certain places.

So, let’s take that sentence again in the present tense again and make it more immediate.

The original

I lose feeling on my entire left side of my body during our long run. I think I might be having a stroke.

Change that up and it looks like:

My entire left side of my body starts going numb during our long run. My left foot numbs first. Then my left hand and arm. When the left side of my mouth starts going numb, I gasp. I might be having a stroke.

You’re in there a bit more with that character now right. Is she having a stroke? What the heck is she running for? SHE IS BROKEN!

Try not to use the same word too many times too closely together.

In the example above I deliberately use the word ‘numb’ and ‘my left’ over and over again. I’m cool with the repetition of ‘my left,’ but not so much with the numb. There are better, sexier words to mix in there and grab the reader’s attention. Let’s try.

My entire left side of my body starts going numb during our long run. My left foot disappears first. Then my left hand and arm. When the left side of my mouth starts to tingle, I gasp. I might be having a stroke.

Switch up your sentence structures.

This just means don’t have all your sentences always be the same lengths. If you are woman who uses a lot of clauses, try to add a few shorter sentences in there. And vice versa. Simple sentences and compound/complex sentences can be your friends. The same goes for paragraphs. Uniformity makes a lot of readers bored and they start to skim.

Let’s take that example again and mix it up more.

My entire left side of my body starts going numb during our long run. My left foot disappears first. My left hand and arm go next. When the left side of my mouth starts to tingle, I gasp. A stroke. I’m having a stroke.

Pretty cool, right? Five minutes or less of work can really change how immediate, how engaging, and how dynamic your sentences are.


Hey, thanks for listening to Write Better Now. These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in us, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Mr.ruiz and the track is Arctic Air and the album is Winter Haze Summer Daze.

You can totally hack into other people’s heads

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
You can totally hack into other people’s heads
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You can totally hack into other people’s heads. It sounds dastardly, right? But you can tweak other people’s memories.

On Mind Hacks, Heather Fishel cites the work of Dr. Jon Lieff and writes:

“Once an event occurs and time moves on, it becomes a part of your memory. Each time you recall that event and its details—smells, sounds, details, and so on—you’re not, in fact, remembering the original moment. Instead, you’re recalling the last time you remembered that memory.”

But it’s more than that. We tweak those memories to make better stories:

Fishel says:

“Wired writer Jonah Lehrer points out, human nature makes us love stories, and the more exciting and engaging a story is, the more we’ll want to share it. As a result, when we recount our memories both internally and to others, we ignore any facts that don’t suit the plot. Our minds allow us to toss aside any information that we dislike, replacing truth with pure fiction. Why? We simply want to fit in, and unless we change what we remember, our stories will suck.”

We will tweak our own memories so we don’t look dumb, so we fit in, so we tell a better story, and we usually don’t even realize that we’re doing it.  And sometimes we have totally false memories.

What is a false memory?

According to VeryWellMind, false memories

“are misremembered, distorted, or fabricated recollections of past events. Such memories can be trivial, such as mistakenly remembering where you put your car keys, but they can also be much more serious.”

The big time consequences of false memories are the stuff of novels and tv shows: false convictions, financial loss, lawsuits, children dying in heated, locked cars.

But it is also a smaller scale thing. You are sure you left your cell phone on the desk. It is not on the desk. It is on the table. You have to wonder how many poltergeist cases are rooted in false memories, right? You think you shut the closet door, but the closet door is open. You are positive you locked the door. The door is unlocked.

You think you saw Bigfoot when you were six, but did you really, Carrie?

Ahem.

I’m the first to admit that I’m no longer sure.

Verywellmind has three strategies culled from researchers to help deal with false memories, which we are quoting here.

Use imagery: Researchers have found that when people use imagery to create a visual representation of information, their memory for that information is better and less susceptible to false memories.10

Search your memory: Experts also suggest that selectively searching memory for mistakes and falsehoods can sometimes be helpful.11

Evaluate and corroborate memories: If you find a memory that you aren’t sure about, evaluating it based on your expectations and then collaborating it using other people’s recollections or other historical data can help verify or disprove it.11

But what’s really wild is that psychiatrists like Elizabeth Loftus have found that there’s a misinformation effect with memories. So, if you witness or experience an event and then talk about it, are questioned about it in a leading way, view tweets or news stories, or are exposed to the wrong information repeatedly? It can change your memory of that same event.

Novelists can use this to help develop plots for novels. Mystery writers do it all the time making a detective call out the inconsistency in a witnesses’ testimony, and sometimes in real life and novels people confess to a crime because of a false memory, believing they have committed a crime even though they haven’t.

But people can do this to each other too, as Fishel writes:

“Try lying to them in a different way: tell them they didn’t complete a task that they, in fact, did. For example, if your roommate can’t seem to understand that doors need to be locked when leaving home, point out the unlocked door every single time you leave. Do this repeatedly over time, and your roommate will start double-checking and questioning himself every time he leaves home. “Did I lock the door? Did I completely forget?”

What are the ethics here? Some people believe that this can be a force for good. But is controlling another person ever a force for good? It’s like gaslighting but tweaked, right? So, use this knowledge wisely, friends.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Only manipulate your humans for good.

LINKS WE REFERENCE

https://nypost.com/2018/09/27/scientists-discover-evil-people-share-a-dark-triad-of-traits/

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/weird-yellow-brick-road-discovered-at-bottom-of-the-ocean/ar-AAX4kJd

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

AND we are transitioning to a new writer podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW! You’ll be able to check it out here starting in 2022!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

Here’s the link.

best writing podcast WRITE BETTER NOW
Write Better Now – Writing Tips podcast for authors and writers
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird
best poetry podcast by poet
Carrie Does Poems

Bored and aching, I just wanted someone to love me.

Carrie Does Poems
Carrie Does Poems
Bored and aching, I just wanted someone to love me.
/

Hi! This year (2022), I’ve decided to share a poem on my blog and podcast and read it aloud. It’s all a part of my quest to be brave and apparently the things that I’m scared about still include:

  1. My spoken voice
  2. My raw poems.

Thanks for being here with me and cheering me on, and I hope that you can become braver this year, too!


"Bored and aching, I just wanted someone to love me."


We were visiting Mom’s best friend,
	An aunt who wasn’t an aunt,

She taught school, the job my mother dreamed of
	Before unplanned babies and rushed marriage

Turned her life into breaths clutching
	At meaning. The ladies stayed inside with coffee

Laced with Kahlua and words steaming
	At the edges of truths while I walked to the lake,

My body lurching forward. Last child by so many years
	Made me a lonely only and I started singing

To the waves and the trees. The water-stained boards 
       Of their dock made me think of mermaids and tears. 

Bored and aching, I just wanted someone to love me.
	This is why I am a poet. 

The dog emerged from the woods to the right, 
	A Doberman. One of Mom’s men friends

Had a dog like this. I reached my arms open, hugging the air
	And the dog bounded into them. From the deck of the house,

My mother screamed, Carrie! No! 

Bored and aching, I just wanted someone to love me.
	This is why I exist. 

What are you? I whispered to the dog as her tail wagged
	And tongue lapped my face. 

When the grown-ups came running out, the dog shifted,
	Guarding me from their strange worries about credit and affairs,

Husbands who might find things out, children they left
	Behind them, coughing and clinging to life.

They implored me to come with them. My hand ran
	Along the dog’s fur and for the first time,

I felt powerful. I found a dog, I yelled, but she really found me. 
	The water clung to her fur the way I wanted to cling on

To that moment. Could she have really heard me wanting,
	Singing need and loneliness into the waves and trunks

Of crooked spruce trees, my sadness hooking lines into the granite
	That gave our state its name? Someone’s husband

Convinced them the dog meant me no harm. She didn’t. 
	Dogs never did. They still never do. 

Bored and aching, I just wanted someone to love me.
	This is why.


Hey, thanks for listening to Carrie Does Poems. These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in Carrie, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Eric Van der Westen and the track is called “A Feather” and off the album The Crown Lobster Trilogy.

While Carrie only posts poems weekly here, she has them (in written form) almost every other weekday over on Medium. You should check it out!

https://freemusicarchive.org/music/eric-van-der-westen/the-crown-lobster-trilogy-selection

Maine is Strange

Loving the Strange
Loving the Strange
Maine is Strange
/

It isn’t just because Stephen King lives here, Maine can be a bit on the strange side. And that’s not because we live here either.

Come hang out with us as we delve into pilots hanging out of airplanes, weird Maine sayings and some goofy laws.

https://kidadl.com/articles/fun-facts-about-maine-how-much-do-you-know-about-the-pine-tree-state

https://matadornetwork.com/pulse/mini-guide-maine-english/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Thomas_Knight

Be Brave Friday – Becoming

It’s BE BRAVE FRIDAY, and so many of you are being brave in really big ways every single day. Dealing with cancer. Dealing with kids. Dealing with justice issues and war or work things. Dealing and dealing and dealing.

My offering today isn’t all that much. Not in the big scheme of people’s lives.
I think part of this painting was originally inspired by something, but it’s been so long now that I can’t remember.


For years it was just this girl on a blank canvas. She was made of blobs. The blobs connected to make a person. Each blob a moment, a memory, a joy, a pain. She had one hand lifted like she was ready to create something.


But there was nothing there.


Blank canvas mostly.


I took the painting into the basement and because it was so old and so raw and I couldn’t remember what inspired it, I just started filling in the blankness.


And she started to become something else. A dreamer? Definitely. But maybe also a creator? Maybe someone who didn’t care that she was made of blobs because she could recreate who she wanted to be, who she dreamed of being, and it could explode out of her fingertips.


I hope you can recreate yourself if that’s what you want, that you can put all those blobs together and become. Not necessarily become something more, but just become.


And no, I don’t think this is done yet. I think it’s still becoming. Just like me. Maybe just like you?


XO

Carrie


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