Be Brave Friday

While I was working a little, white kid on the sidewalk outside yelled, “I’m going to run you over. Right now!”

A little white girl hurried out of his way, skittering, almost tripping over her feet.

Their daycare provider then announced, looking at my house, “If that was my house, I’d tear down those trees.”

In less than ten seconds, I heard a threat, saw fear, and then judgement and an apparent disregard for our little baby ecosystem in the cedars.

It made me think about my reaction to things and how important it is to not be a Judgy-Pants especially about other people’s property, but also to not always hurry out of the way when someone threatens you and wants to be where you are.

Usually on Be Brave Friday I share art that I’m working on, but I’m not working on any right now. This whole week I haven’t picked up a paint brush. But I have clacked away on my keyboard, so this is the best I have to offer you today.

It’s a random poem I wrote. If you know anything, you’ll know that poems are almost as hard for me to share as art.

I feel my tooth now that it’s gone,

A hole inside my mouth, stuck

Between the survivors, a gap and fuzzy pain

Reminding me of things.

I said I wouldn’t 

Cry. Damn it all to hell. 

I am not a person who sobs. 

Not over a tooth.

I stared at the surgeon as he sewed me up.

I stared at the white light above him, thinking

About out-of-body experiences and how

The people who return always talk about

The white light. I can’t keep staring at it. 

I try not to think about things.

I try to not remember how I’ve become the person I am. 

“Don’t present as insecure,” other women tell me. “You’re strong

And talented.” And I just want to say, “Bitch, those are not mutually exclusive.”

I don’t care about followers.

I don’t care about how I present 

I don’t care about well-natured advice telling me not to be me. I touch

The letters of my soul like they are traps, but they are magical, offerings of 

Hazelnut charms, nine letters encircling themselves meant to be placed on a door

To keep the evil out. If only it were that simple, right? 

I feel my tooth now that it’s gone. 

December is the month of birthdays of the dead I knew. 

Father. Brother. Jesus. Me.

Try not to skitter. Try not to threaten. Try not to judge. We can all share, okay? And leave the damn trees alone.

Continue reading “Be Brave Friday”
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Don’t Force that Rhyme. What exactly even is a forced rhyme?

Forced Rhyme Moments

I was recently helping a poet/author who was worried about forced rhyme moments and then she realized she wasn’t absolutely sure what ‘forced rhyme’ even met.

So, here’s a bit of rundown on ways we can all force our rhymes. 

Weird Phrasing.

The most common way picture book editors balk at forced rhymes is when the author rearranges the phrase or sentence so that the rhyme comes at the end but the whole thing sounds unnatural. Like this: 

            Whenever we go out for a run, 

            With you, I like the sun. 

Look at me! I’m unnatural.

Normally, it would be in natural conversational U.S. English: 

            Whenever we go out for a run, 

            I like the sun.

The ‘with you’ wouldn’t even be there because of the ‘we.’ We just shove that on to make it rhyme, which is why we call it forced. J I love imagining all of us poet-people brandishing our mugs of tea and pens and screaming, “Rhyme, damn it! I force you!” 

Random bits

The other big thing that happens in picture books is we stick random information into the story just to make a rhyme. 

I like manatees. I think they’re great. 

My aunt got sick from a tomato she ate. 

This is pretty cute, actually.

So, if the rest of the book was about manatees, then that line about the aunt wouldn’t make sense, right? That’s another example of a forced rhyme. 

Making a Big Long Line

I did this so much when I was young and I still have to hold my typing hands back because it’s what I ALWAYS WANT TO DO. I would make a really big line to get a rhyme in. 

            I was working over at the Dairy Joy,

            Just minding my own business, scooping the scoops, when I finally scoped out this boy. 

Most of my grade-school poems were about being in love with random imaginary humans

Anyway, if the rest of the couplets are short, then this looks silly and forced. 

Almost But Not Quite

Another big thing people do is the almost but not quite there rhyme. They call this a slant rhyme or a half rhyme. Poets actually use this on purpose all the time. Here’s an example that I pasted from the web. It’s a poem called “To My Wife” by George Wolff 

If love is like a bridge
or maybe like a grudge,
and time is like a river
that kills us with a shiver,
then what have all these mornings meant
but aging into love?
What now is straight must have been bent;
what now is whole must have been rent.
My hand is now your glove.”

George Wolff

Wrenched rhymes

This happens when the words rhyme, but different syllables are stressed like here where the stress goes on the first syllable of laughing so on the laugh and not on the ing: 

I was laughing

            On the swing.

Random pretend poem

So, there you go. A tiny little lesson (Lesson? It sounds so formal!) about forced rhymes. Remember force is not cool. Talk to your poems, chill with them, let them decide to hang out with you.

Continue reading “Don’t Force that Rhyme. What exactly even is a forced rhyme?”

Torturing Barbie: Archetype, Stereotype, or Cliché?

Torturing Barbie: Archetype, Stereotype, or Cliché?

 
 
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In the past month, we’ve been talking a lot about archetypes and someone asked us what the difference is between an archetype and a stereotype. 

So here you go, listeners! 

First up, archetypes!

According to masterclass.com when it comes to writing an archetype is, 

“An emotion, character type, or event that is notably recurrent across the human experience. In the arts, an archetype creates an immediate sense of familiarity, allowing an audience member to relate to an event or character without having to necessarily ponder why they relate. Thanks to our instincts and life experiences, we’re able to recognize archetypes without any need for explanation.”

Masterclass

So, what’s a stereotype?

It can be positive. It can be negative. But it’s freaking simplistic. 

And even positive stereotypes can be negative like if you say, “Women are good mothers,” it can be harmful because all women don’t want to be mothers and women aren’t unhappy if they aren’t mothers and some women’s biology doesn’t work for mothering and that doesn’t mean they are unhappy either.  If you go one step further, it equates a woman’s value and role to that biological use. It also makes the assumption that all women are more nurturing and have those motherly positive attributes which means that men don’t. 

And what’s a cliché? 

It’s something you see so many times in tv, stories, life, that it becomes ultra banal, ultra boring and ultra predictable. 

The mad scientist.

The nerdy, but secretly sexy librarian.

The rich old cranky lady.

The egotistical warrior.

How do you stay away from clichés or stereotypes? You can parody them. You can deconstruct them. You can think about how to subvert them into something unexpected. Can the old rich lady actually be kind and not wear high heels and have a small dog? Can the egotistical warrior not be egotistical and self-effacing and neurotic? Can the nerdy librarian not be secretly sexy but actually overtly sexy in a glam way? 


Writing Type of the Pod

Think about your main character and the other major ones in your story. Are they normal? Typical? How can you tweak that and surprise the reader? 

Dog Type for Life

How are you a cliché? Are you fulfilling society’s expectations? How can you step out of your role and people’s expectations? 


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Join the 245,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


Last week’s episode link! It’s about dirty feet and archetypes. Sexy! 

Last week’s bonus podcast with writer Holly Schindler!

This week’s link to our podcast about fatal errors, scenes, and ghost reaper sauce

This week’s link to Ronni’s interview.


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 “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.


COME WRITE WITH ME! 

I coach, have a class, and edit things. Find out more here. 


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME- THE PLACES WE HIDE

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.


New Session of Write! Submit! Support!

Write. Submit. Support. for Novelists with Carrie Jones ONLINE

These six-month courses offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions. We offer support whether you’re submitting to agents or, if agented, you’re weathering submissions to editors. We discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, the feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more.

Find out if WSS is right for you at this FREE WEBINAR on Thursday July 23rd, from 7-8:30pm CDT.Founder Bethany Hegedus will share an inspiring talk on the literary life and will be joined by WSS instructors/TA’s, plus past and present WSS writers who will answer all your burning questions!

This is a great opportunity to meet this session’s faculty, talk with previous students about their growth throughout the program and participate in some inspirational activities led by Bethany Hegedus. *If you cannot attend live, no need to worry! All registrants will receive a video playback of the event!
Register Now for the Free Info Session!

So You Want to Be Part of a Writing Community?

So, starting in August, I’m teaching another six-month Write! Submit! Support class at the fantastic Writing Barn.

If you click on the link, you get to the direct info about the program.

Write. Submit. Support. for Novelists with Carrie Jones ONLINE

This six-month course offers structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions. We offer support whether you’re submitting to agents or, if agented, you’re weathering submissions to editors. We discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, the feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more.

Write. Submit. Support. Mission: To empower writers,  pre-published or published, as well as the instructor, to embrace the many joys and challenges of leading a literary life. Scholarship opportunities available! Read more about the history and philosophy of Write. Submit. Support!

Success Stories come out of the connections made in WSS.

“I understand that not everyone has buckets of money to put toward workshops and courses, but when I think about my times in WSS I always consider the results: the fact that I received a book deal, with an actual advance, less than a year later…WOW! I understand that not everyone cares about that kind of result, but I did and I achieved it. Carrie, my WSS instructor, understood my goal and gave me a lot of practical help and advice, right down to how to format the manuscript for submission.” -Cathy Carr, now agented with Rachel Orr and 365 Days to Alaska forthcoming with Abrams  

I promise, I did not pay her to say that.

Find out if WSS is right for you at this FREE WEBINAR on Thursday July 23rd, from 7-8:30pm CDT.Founder Bethany Hegedus will share an inspiring talk on the literary life and will be joined by WSS instructors/TA’s, plus past and present WSS writers who will answer all your burning questions!

This is a great opportunity to meet this session’s faculty, talk with previous students about their growth throughout the program and participate in some inspirational activities led by Bethany Hegedus. *If you cannot attend live, no need to worry! All registrants will receive a video playback of the event!
Register Now!

WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Join the 244,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


Last week’s episode link! It’s about dirty feet and archetypes. Sexy! 

Last week’s bonus podcast with writer Holly Schindler!

This week’s link to our podcast about fatal errors, scenes, and ghost reaper sauce

This week’s link to Ronni’s interview.


COME WRITE WITH ME! 

I coach, have a class, and edit things outside of the Writing Barn. Find out more here. 

Imposter Syndrome and Best Night Ever. Writing a Book with Six Other Authors. A bonus podcast with Ronni Arno

Imposter Syndrome and Best Night Ever. Writing a Book with Six Other Authors. A bonus podcast with Ronni Arno

 
 
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Hey! Welcome to a bonus interview episode of Dogs are Smarter Than People, the usually quirky podcast that gives writing tips and life tips.

I’m Carrie Jones and with me today is author and Mainer Ronni Arno. 

Ronni!

Ronni is a MG and YA novelist who thinks cool and her deubt novel RUBY REINVENTED. She likes to kayak, has adorable rescue dogs, and was actually born in Brooklyn, but has somehow become an absolute New Englander. A morning person who likes fuzzy socks, help us welcome her to Dogs are Smarter Than People.

In this podcast, Ronni talks about a ton of helpful things including imposter syndrome and what it’s like to write a book with six other people.

Check out the interview, like and subscribe, but also check out Ronni’s books and super cool website and spread the love!


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Join the 244,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


Last week’s episode link! It’s about dirty feet and archetypes. Sexy! 

Last week’s bonus podcast with writer Holly Schindler!

This week’s link to our podcast about fatal errors, scenes, and ghost reaper sauce

This week’s link to Ronni’s interview.


COME WRITE WITH ME! 

I coach, have a class, and edit things. Find out more here. 


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME- THE PLACES WE HIDE

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.


A NEW SESSION OF WRITE! SUBMIT! SUPPORT!


Write. Submit. Support. for Novelists with Carrie Jones ONLINE

 These six-month courses offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions. We offer support whether you’re submitting to agents or, if agented, you’re weathering submissions to editors. We discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, the feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more.
Why Write. Submit. Support.?
It’s worth the money.

 “WSS was worth the financial investment. It helped me prioritize my writing as I sought to prioritize my bank account. When I chose to skip going out to dinner etc., I would remind myself that I was in hot dream pursuit and, maybe, take that time to write. I found that the investment of money helped me get on track with my writing goals and to the next level on my professional path.” -Rebekah Manley, past WSS Attendee
Write. Submit. Support. Mission: To empower writers,  pre-published or published, as well as the instructor, to embrace the many joys and challenges of leading a literary life. Scholarship opportunities available!Read more about the history and philosophy of Write. Submit. Support!
You’ll gain a like-minded community of writers. 

 “WSS has helped me keep going when all the scary, new parts of the process to publication came about. The community of other writers going through similar or different circumstances is priceless, so is the leadership. I’ve had my many, many questions answered and incredible support as I’ve gone through WSS. It has definitely been worth the investment when you’re fully committed to your writing and where it could lead. My money couldn’t have been spent better than following the dream I’ve had since forever.” -Gloria Amescua, past WSS Attendee

Success Stories come out of the connections made in WSS.

 “I understand that not everyone has buckets of money to put toward workshops and courses, but when I think about my times in WSS I always consider the results: the fact that I received a book deal, with an actual advance, less than a year later…WOW! I understand that not everyone cares about that kind of result, but I did and I achieved it. Carrie, my WSS instructor, understood my goal and gave me a lot of practical help and advice, right down to how to format the manuscript for submission.” -Cathy Carr, now agented with Rachel Orr and 365 Days to Alaska forthcoming with Abrams  
Attend our FREE Info + Inspiration Session
Find out if WSS is right for you at this FREE WEBINAR on Thursday July 23rd, from 7-8:30pm CDT.Founder Bethany Hegedus will share an inspiring talk on the literary life and will be joined by WSS instructors/TA’s, plus past and present WSS writers who will answer all your burning questions!

This is a great opportunity to meet this session’s faculty, talk with previous students about their growth throughout the program and participate in some inspirational activities led by Bethany Hegedus. *If you cannot attend live, no need to worry! All registrants will receive a video playback of the event!
Register Now!

Half Blind, Half Seeing. Powerful and Powerless.

One of my first memories is of darkness, of feeling my way around our textured couch, and not being able to see. Of patches over my eyes and how the tape that held them there itched, but I couldn’t figure out how to get them off.

I was basically a baby and had an eye surgery. According to my mom, when I was born the doctors thought I was blind. They were wrong. And eventually I had an operation and glasses and now my right eye works pretty well. My left? That’s another story.

It seems impossible for me to remember that, being just a bit over one year old, firmly rooted in darkness and itchiness and yearning for light, and the mind is a funny thing, but I remember feeling powerless.

Another memory that came soon after that is of heroes and fire, of a boom outside, Mom screaming into the red phone on our wall and Dad rushing down our driveway’s long hill to see a truck in flames, one of his firefighter friends. He died there in the truck.

Mom and I waited, looking out the picture window at the orange and black flames leaping behind the trees that made a boundary between the road and our property. The firetrucks came. The volunteers came. And then Dad came back up the hill, much later, crying. He couldn’t save him.

Powerless.

I was maybe between three and five because my parents were still married. But my older sister was gone to be married whatever that meant. Then my older brother was gone to college and the house was quiet and dark even when my parents blazed at each other. And then my dad was gone too.

The nest of my family at my little brown house that my dad built decades before I came around had been stripped clean of everyone except Mom and me and I felt powerless to stop it.

The memories of people laughing and fighting of teenagers coming over were gone, just memory flickerings and ghost whispers.

And I grew up and along the way I realized that so often we are powerless to rumors, haters, trolls, systems meant to keep us in check and by the own negative scripts we hear in our brains about how we aren’t enough. We aren’t good enough, strong enough, woke enough yet. We aren’t awake. We aren’t talented. We aren’t… We aren’t.. We aren’t powerful.

But that’s not all we are.

The sparks of insecurity, hate, anger, jealously, rage, anxiety? We don’t have to let them turn into flames and burn ourselves down. But if we do? Then we need to rise up, rise up too, like a phoenix or whatever damn mythological creature you want to be. Sometimes it feels like just to be human is to be myth. Who are we? Do we float up after the fires, curl and moving skywards? Do we sweep our ashes up off the floor?

To be powerful is to understand that we are not all-powerful, all-knowing. To be powerful is to seek truths beyond our own. To be powerful is to watch and wonder and learn and to sometimes be quiet and to sometimes speak up. It’s to know that our place isn’t always with the burning truck. It’s to know that people leave but you can find new people. It’s to wander into your home, your dark home, and find your way around the couch safely.

Powerless.

Powerful.

Power-full.

We are all the myths that are humans, the reality of our own makings and it’s time to make those realities, those myths, those stories — all of it — into good ones.


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Join the 241,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


Last week’s episode link! It’s about dirty feet and archetypes. Sexy!

Last week’s bonus podcast with writer Holly Schindler!


COME WRITE WITH ME! 

I coach, have a class, and edit things. Find out more here. 


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME- THE PLACES WE HIDE

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.

Ghost Reaper Hot Sauce Fatal Errors and Scenes Heck Yeah

Ghost Reaper Hot Sauce Fatal Errors and Scenes Heck Yeah

 
 
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The Scene

To read the text, you’ll want to click on the box where it says “The Scene.”

Writing Tip of the Pod

Think about what kind of scene you’re building in your story. Do you have too many character or theme scenes in a row?


Dog Tip for Life

Think about your life. Do you have too many plot scenes going on? Is it all drama? Is there some theme in there too?


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 “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.


DOG INSPIRATION

Every weekday, our dogs have inspirational or motivating tweets on Carrie’s Twitter. Go check it out and be her Twitter friend.

Continue reading “Ghost Reaper Hot Sauce Fatal Errors and Scenes Heck Yeah”

Porches and Last Lines

I closed my eyes, head drooping, like a person drunk for so long she no longer knows she’s drunk, and then, drunk, awoke to the world which lay before me.’

Kathy Acker, Don Quixote (1986)

Most of my friends know that I have some hermit tendencies. I am socially anxious before I go anywhere. I’m fine once I actually get there, but sweet mother of big foots, you do not want to see me right before an event. I am a pacing, fast-talking bundle of angst with stage fight. It never stops me, but it’s a pain and I’m pretty positive it’s the reason I never went into the performing arts even though I adore the performing arts.

Anyways, the weird thing about Covid-19 in Maine where we are all still pretty good about wearing our masks and socially distancing is that our front porch is now cool. 

No Anxiety

And I don’t have time to get social anxiety and stage fright because people are suddenly there.

Seriously. We have a big-ass front porch and people are stopping by and talking. We maintain more than the six-foot distance, but we are hosting people in a way that we have never hosted people before. 

On our porch. And sometimes in our driveway, honestly.

This is not the scene I dreamed of. Like much else nowadays I leave it feeling stupid, like a man who lost his way long ago but presses on along a road that may lead nowhere.

J. M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians (1980)

And every time people leave, I want to hug them goodbye, memorize their faces, make sure that I have them ingrained inside of me, their stories, the sound of their voices, their laughs, just in case I lose them. I memorize the things they say as they leave. What I say. Our last lines.

Every moment, every line, feels like a gift.

About ten years ago, The American Book Review, published what it determined were the 100 best last lines from novels. And the books are mostly adult novels, written mostly by white men. It made me think about that dominance in the industry, but also about all the last lines out there. Do you have a favorite? Please share it with me. The Review’s list is here if you want to check it out.  

It was a fine cry—loud and long—but it had no bottom and it had no top, just circles and circles of sorrow.

Toni Morrison, Sula (1973) 
Continue reading “Porches and Last Lines”

Be Brave Friday

This week is always the week of loss for me. My mother and bonus dad both died this week in June. My first cat. I expect death to show up.

When people you love die? It hurts. It resonates and it ripples and you can sometimes associate love with loss.

But you still have to love.

People are beautiful and broken, flawed and therefore perfect. They might hurt you or uplift you or do it simultaneously, but it’s so important to love. That goes for yourself too. Nobody knows your flaws better than you do, but you have to be brave enough to not dwell on them, to love yourself despite them or even because of them.

You deserve to be loved. You deserve to love. Yes, it’s scary. But you’ve got this.

Here’s my random painting. It’s still so hard to show these! Some day I hope it will be easier. Thanks for bearing with me!

Continue reading “Be Brave Friday”

Holly Schindler! Lit Junkie and the Rhythm to A Story

Holly Schindler! Lit Junkie and the Rhythm to A Story

 
 
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Hey! Welcome to a bonus interview episode of Dogs are Smarter Than People, the usually quirky podcast that gives writing tips and life tips. I’m Carrie Jones and with me today is 

Holly!

Holly Schindler. Holly’s an award-winning, cross-genre author, dog lover, coffee addict and I’m pretty sure she has a ph’d. She likes to write under Missouri shade trees.

Holly’s been writing since she was a little girl, right? We talk about the rhythm to a story, beats, plot points and all sorts of sexy stuff. And we also talk about the magic of moms who make writers out of us.

Holly’s blog has a ton of resources and links and projects. Helping potential writers is so important to her. Check out her advice! Holly’s website!

Holly’s INVENT YOUR OWN SUPERHERO!

And her shorts! FUNNY MEETING YOU HERE!

And Holly’s awesome adult books in a nice group.

WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Join the 240,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


Last week’s episode about archetypes and falling out of cars.

This week’s episode about creators, dirty feet and archetypes.