Sometimes You Should Not Click On The Link

So because I am ridiculously nostalgic person and I like to remember when I was pre-published, I have a tendency to go back and look at old blog posts.

This is mostly to remind myself that:

  1. I have always been a wee bit anxious and goal driven.
  2. That I existed before 2020.

I just found one from August in another decade and it had a link that said, WHY AN MFA?

For those of you who aren’t musicians, writers, and artists and filmmakers, an MFA is a master’s in fine arts degree. My daughter, Em, is not getting an MFA. She’s getting an MBA and that means she has to do math. MFA is a better choice.

That was totally off topic because the point here is that when I thought, Hmm… Why MFA? and clicked the link it went to porn! Yes. Porn!

Now, because I am:

  1. Super anxious now that it’s 2020
  2. A wee bit paranoid now that it’s 2020

I screamed.

I screamed so loudly that the kitten vaulted out of the window and the other kitten ran in to see if there was a bug to attack and I stood up and jumped away from my computer proving once again that I would be the worst criminal in existence. Seriously. If you ever try to see me lie about a birthday present or tell someone that they look fan-freaking-tastic in that cowboy-hobo-outfit from Thredup that’s two sizes too small so they look like they are wearing Howdy Doody puppet clothes? Well, you would know.

After I finished screaming, I clicked out and slammed my laptop shut and sprayed it with Lysol (a sacrifice during Covid-19 times) and then gasped again while the kittens snubbed me for making them think there was a real threat like a squirrel, spider, dust-ball of dog hair, or dangling thread off a piece of clothing.

I had a couple questions once I calmed down:

  1. Why did a WHY MFA link going to a porn site now?
  2. Was this a message from the universe?
  3. Was the universe telling me that the alternative to an MFA was porn?

Yes. Actually. I think it was. And we should all be thankful I got that MFA.

Continue reading “Sometimes You Should Not Click On The Link”

The Dog Peed on My Bridesmaid Dress

Sometimes things happen that you can’t control. We call this chaos, usually. But chaos is a part of our lives and our societies and sometimes? It comes in the form of a small dog.

The set-uP

  • I was in seventh grade.
  • My stepfather had just died. It was my brother’s wedding. 
  • I was totally in love with Tim, my much older (22) step-cousin. He had nice hair. It was silver. Plus, he always tried to make sure I didn’t fall off boats. You’ve got to respect that.

The dress

  • Was two sizes too big. That’s because I lost a lot of weight because my dad died. 
  • Was this Pepto-Bismol pink
  • Required a hoop skirt.
  • Had fake flowers for shoulder straps.
  • Was tiered like a wedding cake.

What happened


Right before the wedding, at the house of the parents of the bride, I put on my horrible gown.

This mauve gown sagged everywhere including where my breasts were (still are, actually. My breasts have not. I repeat: HAVE NOT moved) and the head maid of honor lady was trying to duct tape the sides in because you could see right down it.

The attempt to keep my dress from gaping didn’t really work and the tape was scratching. I was super paranoid that everyone was going to be looking down my dress and my mental state? It was like super anxiety blow-out.

Then when we were heading out to the car, I picked up the bride’s family’s dog, Midge. It turns out you are not supposed to pick up Midge. Why?

Midge pees when you pick her up. Apparently, Midge also had anxiety.

I did not know this.

Midge peed all over my dress. Yes, this happened while I was wearing it. There was this dark stain, going down the mauve. It hit the duct tape. It hit everything.

Hell Breaks Loose

Cue: Mother of the bride swearing.


Cue: Maid of Honor yelling, “CARRIE!!! YOU PICKED UP MIDGE! JESUS! JESUS! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?”

They rushed me inside, dabbed at me with a face cloth, and then dried me with a hair dryer. 

Me: I smell like pee.
Bride: YOU. SMELL. FINE.
Father of the Bride: She smells like piss. 

Cue: Maid of Honor spraying lilac perfume all over me. I associate lilacs with pee now.

So, I went to the wedding smelling like lilac and pee. My super cute cousin asked me to a pity dance. I was in Heaven. He leaned in. I was in super Heaven. I was ready to die of bliss. 

Super Cute Cousin: Does it smell like urine?

Me:

Super Cute Cousin:

Me: Lilacs. I smell lilacs.

So smooth.


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 251,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


This week’s episode about poop, dentists, surgery, flavored alcohol and Jung.

LAST WEEK’S EPISODE about slug bait, sages and archetypes. 

Last week’s bonus podcast with Jessica Burkhart! 

A link to our podcast about fatal errors, scenes, and ghost reaper sauce


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.

One Time My Kid Got On the Wrong Plane

I am and always will be one of those moms who wants their kids to be independent and have adventures and not be coddled. But I am also one of those worst-case-scenario moms who stresses the heck out whenever I am not with them. So, apparently because of this, my daughter, Em, does super stressful things throughout her life:

Be the flyer for cheerleading

Jump off buildings in stunt camps

Go to Israel to study Krav Maga when there are missiles

Be female.

Join the Army.

There’s a trend here, right? Almost always, Em is okay because she is smart and competent and most of the time my mommy fears do not happen, but one of my biggest mommy fears happened on this date.

My daughter got on the wrong plane at a NY airport and I was not there. She was fourteen. FOURTEEN!

It happened.

So the Emster was done with this super cool Fresh Film Program in New York City (more about that in another blog) and she was flying home. She did everything right:

1. She got a car and had money to pay it. She got in the car at 8 a.m.
2. She told the driver she wanted to go to US Airways at Laguardia Airport.
3. She buckled her seat belt. Gold star, Em! Gold star!

But then things went wrong. There was an accident. Traffic stalled. She was stuck there for about an hour. But finally they moved again. The driver dropped her off at the airport, but wait — He dropped her off at the United terminal. Em realized this once she gets inside because she was/is brilliant.

She asked for help. Twice. She ran to the shuttle for the other terminal. The shuttle bus doors had just closed. She looked hopeless. 

 Em is the one smiling with teeth. 😉

Hopeless didn’t work as a look. What could she do?

So, instead she goes into Looking Cute mode. The shuttle bus doors magically opened.  She asked the driver for help. He told her to hop on. She did.

There were a MILLION stops but they finally arrive at the terminal. She rushed to the kiosk to get her boarding pass but she didn’t have a credit card because she is a kid and she can’t pay the $20 for her luggage. Someone else helps. She gave them cash. How cool is that person? Super cool, honestly.

The airport people didn’t even make her weigh her suitcase. Score! (Note: Shoes are heavy. Em likes shoes). 

She found the Security Screening all by herself. She made it through. She found her gate all by herself.

It was 9:30. Her plane was supposed to leave at 10.

There was nobody milling around like normal. Em, being the astute little camper that she is, went to the woman at the little podium/counter thing and asked if this was the gate for the Bangor, Maine flight.

Woman: That flight is closed.

Em: !!!!!

She decided to look cute again.


Woman (speaks into walkie-talkie): MUMBLE MUMBLE.

Em: ?????!!!!

Woman (to Em):
 Okay. You can go out. The plane is on the tarmac.

They let her through the doors. She is rushed to the airplane, and she climbed up the stairs, got on, looked at her ticket and then said to the flight attendant: 
Is this the plane to Bangor, Maine?

Flight attendant person: No. This is the plane to Buffalo.

Em:

Flight attendant person:
 The Bangor plane is behind us, I think.

So Em ran down the stairs, across the tarmac and towards a plane that was completely obscured by the Buffalo plane. She dropped things on the tarmac. She picked things up. She ran. She scrambled up the flight of stairs and said, “Is this the plane to Bangor?”

It was.

But wait! 

Her seat was gone. 

“NO!!!!!!!!” Em screamed.

But they let her sit in the exit row all by herself. She buckled up and made it. Nobody kidnapped her. She did not fly to Buffalo. She flew home. 

She is amazing.

And cute.


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 250,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


LAST WEEK’S EPISODE about slug bait, sages and archetypes. 

Last week’s bonus podcast with Jessica Burkhart! 

A link to our podcast about fatal errors, scenes, and ghost reaper sauce

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.


 

My Dog Is A Skunk Killer AND I Had No Clue!

See this face?

It’s a cute face, right? It is an innocent, adorable, sweet face. This is the dog who lets us hug her for hours and actually leans into it. This is the dog who refuses to take food out of your hand unless you assure her that you really don’t want it. This is a dog that allows kittens to climb through her fur and hitch rides on her back.

But also, apparently, Gabby the Dog has been hiding an entire other side of herself and she is a killer. Not just a hornet killer. She’s really good at swallowing hornets and wasps whole.

No.

She is a skunk killer.

The Scene

We let her and Sparty Dog (our non killer, not even hornets) outside to the backyard before bed. The yard is fenced. She rushed out, running full-tilt, which is hard for her because:

  1. She is old.
  2. She was abused and starved as a puppy and her muscular system and skeletal structure didn’t form correctly do to lack of nutrition and also being tied to a tree in Alabama all day, every day.

But according to He Who Let Her Out, she sprinted, silently to the back corner of the yard where the fence meets the shed.

A Smell Happens

I was at my desk making my to-do list for the next day when I smelled burning.

I jumped up and flipped my laptop over because I’m super paranoid about laptops catching on fire.

It was not my laptop.

“Do you smell burning?” I yelled to Shaun aka the bodyguard aka Person Who Let The Dogs Into The Yard.

“No. I don’t smell any–“

“SKUNK!” I screamed, slamming shut the windows. “Dear God, did you let the dogs out there? Oh no! Oh no!”

Gabby has had a skunk encounter before. She chased it out of the yard and it slid under the gate but first shot its odoriferous defense system straight into her muzzle. It took a lot to make her smell good after that. I did not want a repeat of that event.

But instead, instead…

The Scene Evolves INTO POOPY BUSINESS

We ran to the back mudroom door, flung it open. In the middle of the yard was Sparty the Non Killing Dog doing his poopy business. He was walking across the yard while he did this, head down, doggy posture looking ashamed/horrified and definitely not making any eye contact with us or Gabby the Dog in the back corner.

“Sparty! In here now!” I yelled.

Sparty is a perfect dog and scampered in. I shut us in the mud room. Smelled him. He was good to go.

“You are the best dog ever,” I told him.

He agreed and went into the living room to jump on the couch and wait out the drama.

WHO EVEN IS THIS KILLER?

Meanwhile, Shaun was still out on the back stoop staring into the darkness that is our yard. I could just barely see the white form of Gabby in the corner. She was doing that dog thing she does with her toys where she flails her head rapidly back and forth. Something was in her mouth. That something was not her favorite froggy toy.

“Sweet mother of all things holy,” I whispered. “Is she playing with the skunk?”

“No,” Shaun said. “No, she has killed the skunk and is apparently making sure it’s really dead.”

I gasped. “My baby’s not a killer.”

Shaun said, “Honey, your baby is definitely a killer.”

He had to turn on the hose to get her to drop it. Gabby is a Pyr, not a retriever, not a hunter. And though she knows the command “Drop it,” her stubborn Pyr genes were in full effect.

The Horror

I brought her in the mudroom expecting to see blood and skunk bits. And I cleaned her. There was no blood and she somehow only had skunk smell in her mouth and on her right paw.

“Who even are you?” I asked.

She wagged her tail and breathed skunk smell on me. I managed to not die, too.

What Does This All Mean?

But that’s not why I’m writing about this whole horrific event. I’m writing about it because Gabby reminded me that we never know exactly what other people (or dogs) are capable of. We never know exactly what we are capable of either.

We think we know how we’d react in certain situations, often imagine ourselves the hero of our own stories and other people’s stories, but we have different sides, instincts that sometimes turn into actions and words that we never thought we’d do or save. And that holds true for the people and dogs we love, too.

Gabby reminded me that while I might think of her as a skunk killer now, she thinks she was protecting Sparty and our house. She reminded me that we don’t all have the same motivations and intentions and no matter how much we think we understand people and dogs and ourselves? Well, sometimes surprises happen.

And that’s okay.

my hands smell like dogs
Cutie Dog and Skunk Killer.
Continue reading “My Dog Is A Skunk Killer AND I Had No Clue!”

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?”

The Poet Who Saw Me

When I was a kid at Bates College, I spent a lot of my time feeling like less. My family had been kind of poor after my stepfather died. My nana would stand in line to get us big orange blocks of commodity cheese for the week to supplement our $30 grocery budget Every  week my mom would yell at her that we didn’t need that. She always took it.

My mom didn’t answer the phone because she was so afraid of credit card companies calling.  She’d make me do it and lie that she wasn’t there.

I still hate answering the phone, even the cell phone, even when it has caller ID.

Then College Happened

Anyway, when I went to college, I wanted to forget all that. I wanted to be an intellectual like everyone else. I wanted to have gone to private school in Manhattan or Conneticut, have a summer home in the Hamptons and clothes that weren’t from K-Mart, which was sort of the WalMart equivalent back then, but worse.

I got over all that because I knew it was pretty shallow. What I had a harder time getting over was class issues that had less to do with materialism and more to do with hatred and intellectual history.

In a Theater Class

In one of my directing classes, one of the sexier straight guys actually announced about Beckett, “People who are not wealthy don’t care about this. A truck driver doesn’t watch public television or listen to NPR. They don’t care, they’re too busy humping and eating and drinking.”

My dad was a truck driver. He watched public television. He listened to NPR. I didn’t want to think about him humping. He ate food. He didn’t drink. His parents had been prohibitionists.

In a Playwriting Class

In one of my playwriting classes the professor announced, “The working people of this country don’t give a shit about nuclear power. They don’t give a shit about a man of color.”

And I wondered if he meant working men couldn’t be BIPOC? Were working men only white?

When I was in elementary school, my dad would bring him with him to protest the same nuclear power plant that my step-dad was helping to build. He helped me try to get New Hampshire to recognize Martin Luther King Day and do a hundred other civil rights things. He cared.

With My Friends

And one of my college friends would love to say in front of me, “Carrie is too poor to be pro intellectual.”

He’s a minister now. That still doesn’t make what he said right.

In a Poetry Class

And one of my female poetry teachers told me over and over again, her voice trilling up with her patrician accent, “Carrie, you have the potential to be a poet, but your voice is too raw, not refined, not artistic enough.”

My voice was poor. My cadence was public school. I was not from rich. Every sentence I spoke showed that.

They still do.

Words are Voice

Those are just four of the incidents that made me both angry and intimidated and focused, but in the back of my head it just inflamed my self doubt. I could never be a poet because I wasn’t wealthy, private-school educated; my parents weren’t intellectuals. I could never move people with words because my words were too stark and my sentences too short. I would never fit in because even though I have the privilege of being white, I didn’t have the background that most of the other students had.

Poets who Changed Me

And then two things happened. I read Sherman Alexie, a not-wealthy Spokane and Coeur d’Alene who despite his issues with women, impacted me positively because of his words and cadence. And maybe because I never met him in person.

And I met Seamus Heaney in real life.

Enter Heaney

Seamus Heaney came to our college at the invitation of Robert Farnsworth, who was an awesome poet and professor. He met with students, he gave a reading and we all got to hang out with him at a reception.

“I can’t go,” I told my boyfriend at the time.

He bit into his pizza. He was always eating pizza. “Why not?”

“Because it’s Seamus Heaney,” I answered staring at the little bits of sausage on the pizza before I plucked them off.

“So?”

“Seamus Heaney!”

“So?”

I didn’t know how to explain. Seamus Heaney was THE poet, the Nobel Prize winner. He was Irish for God’s sake. Those people were gifted with words. They had so many amazing poets … Heaney, Yeats, Wilde, Clarke, Moore.

I was from New Hampshire. We had Robert Frost but pretty much every New England state tried to claim him.

Heaney wrote things like:

“A hunger-striker’s father

stands in the graveyard dumb.

The police widow in veils

faints at the funeral home.

History says, Don’t hope

on this side of the grave.

But then, once in a lifetime

the longed for tidal wave

of justice can rise up,

and hope and history rhyme.”

Seamus Heaney

“You will regret it if you don’t go,” my boyfriend said. “I’m going to just be playing Leisure Suit Larry anyway.”

Are You a poet?

So, I went, as anxious as if I was going on stage myself. Heaney transfixed me with his amazing baritone and bear-like presence. And his words… Of course his words… And when I met him afterwards, I was terrified until he grabbed my hand in his and said, “So you are a poet?”

And I said, “No.”

And all he did was nod and say, “Oh, yes you are.”

But in his eyes was this knowing, this connection, and maybe it wasn’t really there. Maybe I just saw it because I wanted him to understand me, because I wanted someone to get who I was and who I wanted to be. Or maybe not?

I don’t know, but one second later my professor said, “Oh, yes she is. I told you about her. She is like you.”

And then one of them said something about growing up not wealthy and I can’t remember the exact words, but what I do remember is that I finally felt understood. Later, I looked up Seamus Heaney’s past, about how his dad was a farmer and neither of his parents were big on words really, not in the intellectual way that everyone at my college seemed to be. I found out that he was like me a little bit not because he was a poet and I was trying so desperately hard to write just one decent poem, but because we were both human, that we both came from humble places, that we both looked in people’s eyes when we said hello.

That was Enough

And that was enough for me. That was enough for me to believe in myself.

Seamus Heaney performed a miracle when I met him. He made me believe that I could be whatever the hell I wanted to be and that it didn’t matter how hard I had to fight or work or not fit in. What mattered was that I wanted the miracle of being a writer, of metamorphosis from Carrie the poor neurotic kid from Bedford, New Hampshire into Carrie Jones, the neurotic best-selling author who lives on the coast of Maine.

He gave hope and miracles in his poems and in his person and I am so thankful for his existence and so sorry for the world’s loss when he left.

“The main thing is to write

for the joy of it. Cultivate a work-lust

that imagines its haven like your hands at night

dreaming the sun in the sunspot of a breast.

You are fasted now, light-headed, dangerous.

Take off from here. And don’t be so earnest.”

Heaney

Addendum

I wrote this post back in 2013 when Seamus Heaney died, but in one of my student packet’s this week, I referenced Heaney and the other night I wrote a poem and I realized that though I am a writer, I still don’t put my poems out there. And that is because of fear still. And that is because my poems are raw, trembling things. And that is going to change. I’ve made a big choice and commitment about this and I’m excited. More soon, I promise.

But my point here was always to use your voice, sing your songs, make your stories and especially shout, sing, whisper, and declare if it seems like nobody wants you to, if you feel like you don’t fit in, if you feel like not another soul is listening. That’s when we most need to hear it.

Here’s Seamus Heaney reading his own poem, “Blackberry Picking.”


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.

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.

This week’s episode link!

A Little Inter-Species Romance

So, sometimes I wake up and this is what’s happening, and it has nothing to do with writing, but you’ll forgive me, right?

Marsie the Cat: Shhh! Act like I wasn’t just kissing your muzzle.


Sparty the Dog: Does this look natural?


Marsie the Cat: No! Look like you want to eat me!


Sparty the Dog: Like this?


Marsie the Cat: You are the worst actor ever.


Sparty the Dog: We all can’t be Santa Paws, you know. We all can’t be Lassie.


Marsie the Cat: Santa Paws was hot.


Sparty the Dog: 


Marsie the Cat: You know he was.


Sparty the Dog: Baby, you know how to hurt a dog.

Despite Marise the cat’s totally hot-i-tude for Santa Paws, Sparty the dog sleeps with his paw touching her.

He’s all, “I keep you safe all night long, baby.”

I am starting to feel like the odd-species out. You know? Like when your best friend gets a significant other and you all do stuff like go to the beach or a concert, but they are always kissing and making cutie-faces and you’re just sort of … Um, hey? Anyone want to talk about existentialism?… but nobody does because they are too busy sucking face? 

That’s what it’s like. Only it’s like that in my house on my bed.

And on the couch.

And on the floor.

Pretty much everywhere, honestly. 

And the thing is? All that love is beautiful.

“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.” — Audrey Hepburn


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 235,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


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

This week’s episode about archetypes and if your sex life was a hashtag. Cough.

This week’s bonus episode with Vivian Garcia Rodriguez about cosplay, book boyfriends, and being brave enough to get rid of people who hurt you. 


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.

Writing Tip Wednesday: Finding Your Big Wonder

The Big Wonder

So, stories tend to need that internal motivator/quest/motivation to keep their plot chugging forward and to keep the reader engaged. As you know, I talk about desire lines way too much, which are all about the emotional through-line for the characters in our stories, but another way to think about the internal motivation is to think of it as the Big Wonder or Big Question. 

Tom French calls this the engine of the story. And it’s these questions that make the readers keep reading.

In a mystery, it’s obvious: Who did it?

In a thriller, it’s usually: Will they survive?

In a romance, it’s often: Will they bang and will they bang forever?

Or it can be a how question. How will Captain America stop Hydra because you know he will.

How will the people in those 50 Shades books hook up now because you know they will. 

Those essential plot questions keep us reading and going because humans like answers. We like winners and losers and to know things in definite ways. That’s why sports are so popular. Almost always, one team loses or one person wins. 

But back to stories. 

When you are writing, not only do you have the big plot, you oftten have subplots and their questions, which are like the baby engines that keep the story edging forward. They are like back-up generators, I guess. I’m not the best with mechanical allusions, honestly. Sorry! 

In each subplot, there has to be something important at stake. If you have a book, divided by two narrators of equal importance, they each need to have a question that happens in their story and a stake. 

So, a good thing to do is to look at your story that you’re working on and ask yourself: 

Is there a big question going on right here? 

Is the answer super obvious? 

If the answer is super obvious, will the how of what happens be a wee bit less super obvious? 

If you have subplots, do those have questions, too? 

Good luck writing, writers! 

And if you think about your life, does it have those big wonders? Are you moving towards the things that motivate you? Do you already hold them in your hands? Do they shine through everything you do? You’re the hero of your own story so make sure that you’re going towards those big wonders, too.


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 233,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.

Last week’s episode.

Last week’s bonus episode with Anne Marie Pace, author of Vampirina Ballerina.

COME WRITE WITH ME! 

I coach, have a class, and edit things. 


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME

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.

Writing Goals

I talk a lot about goals when I talk to the writer-students that I mentor or work with. A lot of time these goals they create are beautiful, concrete, actionable steps.

Write 500 words every day.

Revise two chapters this month.

Submit to five agents before July.

And today I found this post from June 2007 where I had the least specific goals ever.

I’m pasting it in here:

Last night in a massive spasm of insomnia I wrote out my lifetime writing goals in the dark.

The first one is: Write a book that means something to someone other than me.

The second one is: Write a book that’s just fun.

Do you all have writing goals? Are they sales-based (as in selling a book, or making a best-seller list?) Are they different than that?

Sometimes I feel like I’m crouching down at the edge of this great, big cavern, looking, looking, looking for meaning down there, and the clouds are looking with me, trying to figure out where the stories are, where the meaning is, in the world. 

Sometimes I feel like I should get some good sleep. 

Me in 2007 obviously a little depressed

And I realized that my goals haven’t changed. Only now I want to help other people get those goals too.

Also, I still can’t sleep, but that’s because I’m a bit worried about my friends, about the world, about you.


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 233,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.

Last week’s episode.

Why Do I Smell Like A Dog

Let me preface this by saying that even before Covid-19, I was one of those people who wash their hands all the time and also one of those people who floss.

My flossing at the campground restroom last summer inspired someone to scoff in disbelief. I’ve repressed most of the incident because I repress all bad things, but basically she said something like, “I didn’t think people actually did that.” Or maybe it was, “You’re one of those kind of people.”

Spoiler alert: I am one of those people who are pro dental hygiene and anti bad breath.

That was a heck of a lot of lead up to this.

My point:

I have been awake merely one hour today, washed my hands three times and they still smell like a dog.

Mostly, they smell like this dog:

my hands smell like dogs
She isn’t even that smelly.

Can someone please explain why?

Oh! Also, the wonderful humans at 88 Cups of Tea hosted me for a guest blog about work and life balance. They are all wonderful and you should check them out.


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 222,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.

This week’s episode.

Continue reading “Why Do I Smell Like A Dog”