Remembering the Good Even on September 11th

This is what I post around Sept. 11 of every year. I am so sorry if you’ve read it before. A lot of things have changed in my life in eighteen years. I went from being a newspaper reporter and city councilor to a newspaper editor to unemployed to a New York Times (and internationally) bestselling novelist. My baby girl grew up into a butt-kicking, brilliant Harvard graduate and field artillery officer in the army.

But how I feel about heroes will never change.

Ben died in 2016, after years and years of being a hero to the people of Shelter Island, New York, years and years of being a paramedic (one of the oldest in the country) and not only just saving people, but being the last one to comfort and touch the living.

The picture here is the one that ran with his obituary. I am not sure who took it and if you did and you want me to take the photo down, I will! Just let me know. It’s a great photo.

++++ +++++++ ++++++++ ++++++++

It’s hard not to think about September 11 without thinking about loss.

That’s how it should be. But I do know that so many heroes that we never hear about worked hard on that day. It’s important to remember them too, because they are, I think, what it truly means to be an ideal American and an ideal person.

My former uncle, Charlie, who lives in Maplewood, NJ was just across the shore when he saw the plane go into one of the tall towers in New York City. He was over 80 and a doctor. He was in World War II. He hates war.

He told me when he saw that plane full of people go into that tower full of people he said, “Jesus Christ … Jesus Christ …”

He mumbled it for a second, a prayer, a plea, a name, a hope. He said his heart sank right into the bottom of his feet as he stood there watching. He said like he felt like he stood there on the shore forever. He didn’t. He moved after a second. He went right over towards the towers, towards the death and the hurt and the terror and the screaming, and the whole time in his head he kept repeating those words, that name …. Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ.

He started to help people. He was over 80 breathing in all kinds of horrible things into lungs that were already tired and aged, but that didn’t stop him. He’d helped people all his life. He had served his country all his life. Nobody would have thought anything if he had turned around, walked away, got in his car and drove back to Maplewood.

But Charlie would have thought something though if he did that.
He could have never done that.

My former father-in-law, Ben, also over eighty, is an EMT. He became one when he was sixty-five. After years of being an executive, he wanted to feel like he did something good in his life, something helpful. He was part of the Red Cross disaster team. He went over to the site too, got grit out of people’s eyes, helped them breathe, helped them cope.


You ask him what it was like and he shakes his head slowly and says in his deep/hoarse voice, “God, that was an awful scene. Just an awful scene.”

Charlie and Ben weren’t firemen on duty or police officers like so many heroes that day were. They weren’t official first responders.

What I love about them is that they made the choice. They chose to go. They chose to help and they didn’t give a poop about how old they were, about how many people they’d already helped. They didn’t care about the ache in their bones or the fact that both their hearts were starting to fail. They cared about something else. They cared about people. So they went.

They will always be my heroes. They are just two of many, many stories that happened on that day and on other days. People can do awful things. We can hurt our loves, bomb each other, scream words of hate, glorify ignorance with bats and cars, ignore a smile of a cashier, be too busy to pay attention to a child.

But we can do beautiful things, too. We can love, and heal; we can put others first, rush to a scene of mayhem, put ourselves in peril on the off chance that we might be able to save a life, get grit out of an eye, give comfort, give a hug. And that… that is what makes people worth it. That is what makes people magic. That is what makes people heroes over and over again.

So, I will remember Ben and Charlie and so many others today. I won’t ignore the hate and pain and sorrow that happens on Sept. 11 or on any day of war or violence, but I choose to remember the good, too. I choose to remember the heroes. And it’s their names that I will say over and over again. Ben Jones. Charles Crandall. Ben. Charlie. And so many others.

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You Matter. What I did when I felt forgotten.

When I was a little kid, my dad would sometimes to pick me up on Sundays, which was the day he was supposed to see me according to court papers. *

Back then I was one of a handful of kids whose parents were divorced and we’d sort of cluster together in Bedford, New Hampshire, surrounded by McMansions filled with parents where there were two parents and normalcy. This was made super obvious during an assembly in seventh grade where the counselor made all of us kids with divorced parents stand up in front of everyone else.

“There is nothing to be ashamed of,” she told us while everyone else stared.

It was the first time I felt ashamed of my parents being divorced. A kid named Erik stood next to me and muttered the f-word under his breath. This made him ridiculously cool, but it also made me feel better because he thought it was ridiculous, too.

But even compared to them, I knew I stood out because everyone else went to their dad’s for the whole weekend and their dads never actually forgot about them. Not like my dad.

I’d stare out the bedroom window at the long driveway. He was always supposed to pick me up at 10. He rarely picked me up at 10. Sometimes Mom would have to call to remind him. 

“He’s a forgetful man,” she’d say.

He was. He rarely knew the day of the week or people’s phone numbers. But their stories? He would remember those perfectly. 

I’d climb into his beige Ford Escort, horrified that my rich friends might see me in such an uncool car, and he’d hand me the check for my mom and apologize for being late. 

“I didn’t forget you,” he’d say, tearing up. “I’m so sorry. Time got away from me.”

Or sometimes it was, “I didn’t forget you. I forgot it was Sunday!”

Or sometimes it was, “I didn’t forget you. I got to talking to Uncle Kilton.”

My almost-always response was, “Mm. Hm.”

“I don’t want you to feel forgotten.”

He always said this and I knew he meant it, but I did feel forgotten a lot of the time, my poor dad. He tried so hard.

The thing is that it’s pretty normal to feel forgotten or looked over sometimes. 

And there are ways to fight that. I want you to fight that. I want you to realize how awesome you are, which is why I’m blogging this again. It’s not because I’m being lazy – I don’t think – it’s because I really want you to feel okay.

So here’s how to fight that forgotten feeling.

Expand Your Social Circle

If your friends fail to invite you to things enough to feel forgotten. Find new ones. They are missing out on your fabulousness.

Honestly, my poor dad, when this kept happening to me when I was little I found about 800 father figures to fill in. I had teacher-fathers, cousin-fathers, theater-director-fathers, piano-playing-fathers, random-family-friends-fathers, boating-neighbor-fathers, uncle-fathers. So many.

Tell People You Miss Them

Seriously, if you’re missing your friends, tell them. They might be clueless. They might even be feeling forgotten, too.

Realize That Your Important in This World

Yep. You are. You matter to your dog, to your cat, to your ferret. You matter and it’s good to remember that, but sometimes it’s so hard.

What do you do to make a difference in this world? Do you volunteer? Help your parents? Help your kids?

I bet there are more ways that you matter than you realize and when you remember those ways? It’s easier to not feel so forgotten.

Be kind to yourself. The worst is when YOU forget you.

WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

Don’t Text The Wrong Person LOVEY DOVEY Things

 I used to be an emergency dispatcher. I just sort of filled in shifts. This was good because:


1. It got me away from the computer and talking to real people not just Grover and my characters.

Grover: Am I not good to talk to, Cawwie? 

You are AMAZING Grover, but I also need to talk to people who can say the r’s in my name. 

2. I felt like I was helping the community and like I was this tiny part of this cool town team that helped keep people and kids safe and that was tremendously cool.

However, I’dbeen working midnights and basically getting three-hours of sleep.

Why was this bad? 



Well, one day I got a text saying: 

HOW DO I KNOW IF YOU’RE ASLEEP OR NOT? 


And I thought it was from my main man, so I sent him back something all scintilating like: 

BABY, I AM AWAKE. I AM SO SORRY. I LOVE YOU! XOXOXO YOU CAN TEXT ME

Yeah. Only that text about whether I was asleep?? It wasn’t from my main man. It was from a Internet friend who was getting a transfusion and it didn’t stop there.

I think I possibly told him:

 I miss YOU!

Only it was worse than that. I actually wrote:

HONEY I MISS YOU xoxoxoXO

Yeah. And I probably told him he was hot

I THINK YOU ARE SO SEXALICIOUS. GROWL> 

Because when I screw things up I screw them up some good. 

And the person getting the texts? He’s 19, likes boys not girls ever at all, and was staring at his cell phone thinking: 

HAS SOMEONE KIDNAPPED CARRIE’S PHONE? 

And the main man? He was all like, 

Baby, are you mad at me? Why are you not returning my texts?


Sigh. So if you take a night-shift because you are a writer and want to:

  1. Have actual income
  2. Talk to actual humans

Please remember to check who are texting and get some sleep.

This, my friends, has been today’s Ted Talk.

WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

When Good Dogs Go Bad

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Download file | Play in new window | Duration: 00:22:30

Literary Terms? Who Wants them? Who Needs them?

As you may remember last week we began Carrie’s Anti-Craft Book of Literary Terms, which is also called:

GLOSSARY OF IMPORTANT LITERARY TERMS, WHICH I WOULD (MAYBE) FIND IN A CRAFT BOOK IF I COULD BRING MYSELF TO READ ONE AGAIN, WHICH I CAN NOT, SO NO TRYING TO FORCE ME! I AM NO LONGER IN A MFA PROGRAM, SO JUST STOP IT RIGHT NOW. IT’S MY OWN LIFE DAMNIT:

Today we start with the Letter L.

(Note: the rest of the summer my posts will be much more intelligently done, I promise. Sort of? I sort of promise.) 

Literature

This must be pronounced LIT-er- AHHHHHH-ture with either a wealthy Bostonian or Philadelphian accent (Although if you can become fake British for a moment, please do it. Everything sounds better when you sound like the Queen) or else it doesn’t count as literature and you obviously aren’t writing it. 

There’s been some debate over literature writing vs. genre writing and which is better or if there’s even a difference. 

There are differences.

People who claim to write Literature always say the word with that special accent and they remember to make the word capitalized. It’s that important. And gosh, darn it, so are they.

People who write in specific genres tend to be able to afford to eat dinner, lunch, and breakfast, and occasionally even have snacks. 

(Note: This entry is not written so as to offend the literature writers. It’s just that if there is a penultimate smack-down between the two, I have to side with the genre writers because:

  1. I get hungry when I don’t eat and they can feed me. Angry Irish poets usually only have Guinness available and maybe tea.
  2. Steve Wedel writes genre officially and well, I don’t want to go up against a guy who writes good werewolf horror, you know? Plus, he makes me laugh and he co-wrote the book down there. Do not make your cowriters cranky!

I, of course, would like to wave the flag of happiness and peace and beg both sides to love each other, and say: C’mon, dudes. The two things are not mutually exclusive. Do not tell me that OCTAVIAN NOTHING is not both Literature and genre. It is! All Young Adult novels count as genre. 

M

Money/Moolah/Checks/Dough/Dollars/Quarters

This is something many writers never actually see.  Although, sometimes if you read your poems loudly enough on a street corner and put a hat out, people will throw their hot dog wrappers into that hat, which is almost like money.

Note: Licking the ketchup off used hotdog wrappers and occasionally catching a tiny piece of onion is enough to nourish a starving writer for 10 hours.

Melodrama (this entry is provided by the brilliant fabulousfrock)


Melodrama is something many writers add to spice up their conflicts.   

Beware!  Melodrama is like pepper.  If you must pick up the melodrama grinder, you only want to twist it once or twice!

Melodramatic characters tend to have tragic pasts.  They are often orphans because their parents died, and they did not die of heart disease or cancer, they died in a house fire, car wreck, or, best of all, were murdered in front of the protagonist’s eyes so the protagonist can weep over their dead bodies and slip the wedding ring from their mother’s finger and carry it as a keepsake.  (Not that I  ever wrote a scene like this.  Ahem.)

Watch out if your character description looks anything like this:

“Azadriel is a fallen angel vampire who was cursed to be an assassin by the Dark God Lazmortius.  His parents died when he was six when they were murdered by a demon ghost.  Also, he is missing an eye and wears  an cool-looking eyepatch and he has some awesome scars.  Now he wanders the earth assassinating people…but secretly yearning for the love that will end his curse!”

N

No

Become familiar with this word! You will hear it often from your agent/editor/copy editor/publicist/writing group/critique partners/readers.

Examples of the word ‘no’ used in a sentence are as follows:

No, writing about condoms is not a good idea for a picture book.

No, writing about rainbows who fall in love is not a good idea for a young adult horror novel.

No, you did not earn out your advance.

No, you may not sleep over again tonight.

No, I am serious, there is no narrative arch in your book. 

O

Objective Case

According to THE TONGUE UNTIED, “Using the objective case indicates that the pronoun is acting as an object. The object pronouns are: me, you, him, her, them, us, whom and it.”

  • A pronoun is direct object
    • My agent likes me wayyyyyyyyy too much. Wink.
      • Me is the object. Of course, I am. 
    • If you aren’t too busy clipping your toe nails, would you mind telling her to stop stalking me.
      • HER is the direct object.
  • As an indirect object
    • My agent handed me the review from Kirkus.
      • ME is the indirect object.
    • When I opened it up, my agent gave me a hug because I was about to collapse from fear.
      • ME is the indirect object.
    • I wondered whom I could complain to since the reviewers are anonymous.
      •  WHOM is the indirect object.
  • As an object of a preposition
    • For her, no other choice seems reasonable. She must send out a blog post complaining about Kirkus
      • HER is the object 
  • As an object of a verbal 
    • Reprimanding Kirkus and her does little good.
      • HER equals object 
    • I want to murder them.
      • Them is the object.
    • Murdering them over a review, the author tried to get more publicity for her book.
      • THEM is the object.

Opening Sentence

Almost all craft books will tell you that the opening sentence MUST catch the reader’s attention. It must be beyond brilliant. The opening sentence must have hands as strong as the Incredible Hulk so that it can grab the reader by the throat and the reader can not get free, not ever, not even if she/he wanted to, because that opening sentence’s grip is so strong. 

Opening sentence! Opening sentence! Loosen up. The reader needs to breathe. Vessels are popping the reader’s eyes, you’re holding on so tightly.

Whew.

Okay. Reader? Reader? Can you breathe?

Good.

Example of a good opening sentence:

Yikes!

(I know you think this is cheating, but come on. It’s hard to lose a reader’s attention with just one word.)

Example of a bad opening sentence: 

While ornithology may be the study of birds and some people may enjoy studying things with feathers those same people have been know to extol the charms of beaks that are of the yellowish-tint as opposed to the orange-tint of others, which has come to be a major issue in the field causing ornithologists to occasionally have full-throttle pillow fights, the likes of which only rival the throw-downs between writers of the literary vs genre factions.

P

Page Count

What some authors get obsessed about. Others get obsessed about word counts.

Author 1: I only wrote 10 pages today. I am such a slacker.

Author 2: Dude. I only wrote 24,000 words.

Author 1: Oh my God. Why am I so slow?

Author 2: Dude. You think you’re slow. I should’ve at least written 28,000 words today, but I started looking at Facebook.

Author 1: (bangs head on computer keyboard) I can’t believe I suck so bad.

Author 2: Dude ….

Author 1: (screaming)

Author 2: (points at blank screen) Dude, I think you erased your file when you hit your head on the computer.

Author 1: (passes out)

Punctuation

I refuse to talk about this because if I do the comma splices will hear. They hear everything. And then they will come, to get me, I can feel it, oh no, they, are already here.

Periodic Tables

The sexiest of all the table. Seriously. Look at them.

WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

GLOSSARY OF IMPORTANT LITERARY TERMS, WHICH I WOULD FIND IN A CRAFT BOOK IF I COULD BRING MYSELF TO READ ONE

Let me just say this up front: I don’t like craft books.

Yep. You read it, right. 

I don’t like craft books. 

I’m sure there’s a deep-seated reason for this, which probably requires years of counseling; however, I am a writer who has holes in her clothes and I can’t afford years of counseling. So, unless someone decides to cough up the money to take care of my soul, it seems the roots of my craft book dislike may never be discovered. 

So because I have some sort of death wish (Please do NOT kill me fellow toll writers, especially writers of craft books), I am going to create my own, special GLOSSARY OF IMPORTANT LITERARY TERMS, WHICH I WOULD (MAYBE) FIND IN A CRAFT BOOK IF I COULD BRING MYSELF TO READ ONE AGAIN, WHICH I CAN NOT, SO NO TRYING TO FORCE ME! I AM NO LONGER IN A MFA PROGRAM, SO JUST STOP IT RIGHT NOW. IT’S MY OWN LIFE DAMNIT:

Let’s Begin

A is for

Active Verbs

These are the verbs that everyone wants. These verbs take no prisoners and aren’t all namby-pamby passive like everyone’s complaining Bella in the Twilight series is. These are the Rambo of verbs, the Natural Born Killers of verbs, the Stephen Colbert of verbs. 

Interestingly enough, in the sentence, I WILL LICK YOUR FEET, MR. PRESIDENT, lick is an active verb, not a passive verb. 

See? It makes no sense.

Amazonaddictionitis

The horrifying addiction (not described in most craft books) that happens to authors after their book debuts. Symptoms include:

  1. Obsessive checking of book stats, namely Amazon.com Sales Rank
  2.  Screaming
  3. Massive Depression
  4. Constant murmuring of “It’s #831,051 in books, how can this be? How? CAN? THIS? BE?”
  5. Frantic calls to editor/agent
  6. Consumption of a lot of cosmopolitans (if you write chick lit) and/or rum and Cokes (if you write werewolf horror novels)

B is for

Book contract

This is the ultimate of all goals for most writers, unless of course, you are Stephanie Meyers, J.K. Rowling, or God, then your goal is media domination or at least a multi-book, seven-figure contract.

Here. Let me use it in a paragraph: 

The author claimed to have a book contract, but actually it was a book contact. It’s true. She touched a book. Once.

C is for

Comma 

Oh, the comma. It is the evilest of the punctuation marks. It once made a Kirkus reviewer very mad at me. Who would think that this ,,,, could be so evil? Oh. Right. The Kirkus reviewer.

Comma Curse

This is what happens to writers who do not memorize Diane Hacker’s RULES FOR THE WRITER ( Memorize that fifth edition – it’s the best!!!) and they fail to remember not to “use a comma between compound elements that are not independent clauses.”

You can never be free of the comma curse once you have it. Trust me, you don’t want it. It causes embarrassing itching in between the typing fingers.

D is for

dénouement (IPA:/deˈnuːmɑ̃/)

The hoity-toity word for all the stuff that happens after the climax. The climax in the book. Geesh…

E is for

Evolution. 

According to Evolution 101 at Berkley this is “descent with modification. This definition encompasses small-scale evolution (changes in gene frequency in a population from one generation to the next) and large-scale evolution (the descent of different species from a common ancestor over many generations). Evolution helps us to understand the history of life.”

Try not to write about this. It may make your book banned.

F is for

Foreward

This is what happens when you get super famous and dead and other people (teachers) force students to read your work in high school or college and they (the forward writers) have to explain before the actual text how important you and your writing is to the entire universe or at least to post-colonial New England, specifically Amherst, Massachusetts. It also shows up in those BEST OF AMERICAN SHORT STORY collections. 

Hint: If you have a foreward in your book, you may be dead.

### I will continue with this next week if I don’t get kicked out of the Writers Club of Writerness


Now, I’m going to Revision Land and when I get to page 300 I’m going to reward myself and never think about tan people rubbing basil on their bodies again.

WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 




Actions Create Who You Are

Jean-Paul Satre believed that people are the only objects that create who they are by their actions. A plant is a plant. It doesn’t choose to be a lilac. If he’s poison ivy, he’s poison ivy.

But a person becomes a truck driver because his actions prove him to be a truck driver. A person becomes a lounge singer because he’s singing in a lounge.

It’s all about the actions.

This is something I need to remember while I’m writing, especially when I’m writing middle grade for some reason. Our characters become something by their actions. 

Harry Potter becomes a hero because he does heroic stuff, not because he tells ushe does heroic stuff, or because he wants to doheroic stuff. We believe he’s a hero because we read his actions of being a hero.

Life is like this, too. A person becomes an artist by creating art. A person becomes a hero by doing something heroic, not by claiming to do something heroic or thinking about it. A person embodies the traits of their office, position or religion by actually embodying those traits, not just talking about it. 

In life like in writing, it’s about showing not telling. It’s about actions not lip-service. 

Okay. I’m going to go revise now.

WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

TOP SIX REASONS YOU SHOULD DESTROY YOUR WHITEY-TIGHTIE UNDERWEAR

LISTEN UP MEN!!!

Here’s the awful truth: Your white briefs are no longer making you sexalicious.

TOP REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD TOSS THOSE WHITEY-TIGHTIES

1. They are no longer white. Do I have to explain the dingy factor? Once-white underwear is always gross.

2. They are drooping more than my gravity heavied earlobes, which is really saying something, because I wore a lot of heavy earrings in the early 1990s.

3. There are gaps where there shouldn’t be gaps!!!!!

4. The elastic is barely holding on and we all really, really, really need the elastic to hold on. Remember there are children at the beach or driving by. They can be scarred. Do you want to be responsible for that? No. No you do not.

5. Wearing a t-shirt with just your white briefs DOES NOT HELP!!! I repeat. This does not help your sexalicious ranking AT ALL. It makes you look like a toddler running around in a diaper and his mommy has put on a t-shirt to make sure he doesn’t get sunburned. If you are going for a sexy look, making women and men think of diapers, mommies, or spit-up DOES NOT HELP!!!

I mean, there are some people who are into that, but in general? Just no.

6. Wearing a cape doesn’t help either:

Thank you, Mr. Pilkey for the cartoon evidence.

Now, Men. I’m begging you.

Please, go reassess your underwear situation right now. You need some new ones. Remember your waist measurement when you were 12 is PROBABLY not your waist measurement today. That’s okay. You’re all grown up. That’s why we love you. Just not your underwear.



WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 




First Kisses, Being “Just Like Grownups,” Contest to win IN THE WOODS (signed)

Contest FOR IN THE WOODS! You can win a signed book, Art for the book, and my unending love!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

First Kisses

I was thinking about first kisses. And one of my first kisses was so traumatic… Like, um, really traumatic… So, traumatic I had to put it in the third person, but here it is ….

The Story

They bumble around a bit on the boat. Their parents party a dozen slips away. They kiss long, slow, the best fifth grade kiss ever and he says, “Let’s go to the back berth and lay down like we’re married. 
 
His thumb runs over a Band-Aid on her hand. Beneath it is a gash from a fish hook that stuck there this morning when she tried to cast. 

“I don’t know what I’m doing,” she said as her dad took the hook out. 

The cut is still there, lying beneath.

 He moves his finger from the Band-Aid.

“Let’s go to the back berth.” He squeezes her hand like he did the first time they met and he’d built a sand castle and said, “I’ll be the knight and you’re the princess and I’m protecting you.”

 “Okay,” she’d said then.

 Now he wants to be the husband and she the wife in the back berth.
It seems a natural progression.

“Okay,” she says.

They get up, hand in hand. She nods at their shoes. Her mom worries about staining the maroon, velour upholstery that covers the boats back berth. Her mom worries about dirt on the carpet too and  she’d forgotten that and their shoes are still on.

“Sorry, my mom.”

“Yeah, right.”

He bends in half and unties her sneakers first like her mom used to when she was little. Back then she’d stomp her feet if it took too long. He takes too long. She doesn’t stomp. His fingers shake. Her fingers touch the top pf his blonde feathered hair.

She decides to marry him, as soon as they are of legal age

Which is what in New Hampshire? It’s thirteen with parental consent. That isn’t too long to wait.

 
He yanks off his own shoes, pulls her into the berth and they flatten themselves, stare at the fiberglass ceiling. His foot hooks around hers. His fingers sweat next to hers. They are just like grown ups, next to each other, next to each other in the night, just the same.
 

She smiles. He moves closer. Then … boom … plops his body on top of hers, weighing her down. His tongue pushes between her smiling teeth. She softens beneath him, heart pushing her on, a boy’s tongue in her mouth

Just like grown-ups.

Her hand reaches towards his hair, but the Band-Aid catches on his watch and rips off, reveals her unhealed cut, her wound.

Her knight, her husband, he doesn’t notice, just slides against he r… and then … and then …

He leaps away… groans. She’s alone on the berth in the night with her shoes off and he runs,

Hands rush to his zipper. He turns frantic, pulls on the zipper as she sits up, watching, mouth open and alone.

 He slams into the head and she creeps out of the back birth, creeps out and looks down on the floor by their shoes at the spiral of white wetness,

A spiral of something that came from him. What? Pee?

She wipes her closed lips with her fingers, steps back, stares at the closed door to the head.

A moan comes from behind it.

The cut on her hand begins to bleed and she wonders, wonders about things, what’s happened, why she’s alone, what’s on the floor, what’s happened. She wonders and wonders … just like grownups.


WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My next book, IN THE WOODS, was born yesterday!

YESTERDAY!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

Writing simple can be complex

So lately I’ve been thinking (Amazing! I know!) about what it is to be an individual, and how as writers we can create individuals who mirror real life truths on our page.

“An individual is someone who cannot be neatly classified or categorized because he or she cannot be easily dissected or analyzed, divided into definable parts. The individual is, first and foremost, a being-unto-itself, a unique whole

Kevin L Stoehr, “You Who Philosophize Dylan” 

The problem is that people are hopefully complex, yet often in writing there’s this overall simplification of story and character that does not mimic that complexity. It seems like corporate media America has decided that people want simple things, which is fine, as long as there are also complex things to balance out literature, particularly children’s literature. And we all buy into it.

M. T. Anderson talks about something pretty similar in an interview with Joel Shoemaker in VOYA back in 1999.

But maybe that drive towards the simple is something that we should make little rebellions against. Maybe instead of following the grade-school description of what a story and genre should be, we should be fiddling around with that description.

Maybe instead of simplifying our characters we could expand them, make them more complex than hairstyles and clothing choices, than ‘good girl,’ ‘good boy,’ ‘bad child.’ And I’m not talking about giving the evil villain one redeeming quality, I’m talking about giving the evil villain a complex identity. 

Making Things Predictable

 When my daughter Em turned 13, she had one major gripe with the books she read. She said that most plots are too predictable. She said that most characters just have one defining trait, and well, that bored her.

 I’m just worrying that maybe we should be putting some emphasis back on complex stories and characters for the big-time readers who are losing their faith in books. I’m not saying to rid ourselves of the simple stories, I’m just saying we should embrace the complex, too. 

I guess, I’m just worried that in our surge to make lots of money by reaching massive audiences we are making out stories too simple, our genre choices too straight forward.

And we fall into traps because we’re so afraid nobody will buy or understand our books. We don’t want to scare off readers with something difficult to read. We want to keep things straight and common, no eccentric teachers, no bizarre-o main characters.  We make sure the character always has a clear want and they go after it. We make sure the main character isn’t too complicated. Some of us follow formulas and plotting rules, and that’s okay. It’s not bad. I just don’t want it to be the only way. And I don’t want the authors who brave themselves up enough to deviate to be blasted.

Someone asked me why I made Belle have seizures in TIPS ON HAVING A GAY (ex) BOYFRIEND and not have those seizures be an active part of her character development. Okay, first off, I did it because that’s how Belle is. Her epilepsy isn’t about her character any more than having thick hair is about her character. It doesn’t have to be.

It’s only by treating epilepsy as a condition rather than a defining character trait that we can:

  1. lessen the stigma of epilepsy
  2. create a character who is an individual

And obviously this doesn’t just apply to epilepsy. It applies to every condition and physical trait that can cause stigma. But we can’t do this is we make our characters too simple, too one dimensional. It’s only when we make complex INDIVIDUALS that we can really battle stigma and stereotyping and all those things that we don’t want to perpetuate. 

So what I want to know is what happens if we keep making narrative more and more simple. What happens to our minds? What happens to our books? Do we become numb? Do we look sideways at books that aren’t simple? Do we become so used to simple that we start believing it’s complex? And has that already happened? I hope not. I really, really hope not. 

Writing simple can be complex

But there’s another side to things. By making the choice to have a character have hobbies that aren’t necessary to the plot, to quote philosophers occasionally in a romance/horror novel? By making a science fiction origin story, clean and easy to read and focusing on a girl? To make a character have epilepsy but not be defined by it? Those are simple writing choices that can have complex ripples.

Don’t be afraid of the ripples.

Things Referenced

Joel Shoemaker, “Hungry . . . for M.T. Anderson: An Interview with M.T. Anderson,” VOYA 27, 2 (June 2004) 98-102.

“Bob Dylan and Philosphy.” Edited by Peter Vernezze and Car J. Porter. Chicago: Open Court Press, 2006 182-193.

PODCAST

To follow that up, I give you a podcast that talks about writing and poop texts.


WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears in July with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

You can preorder this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site.

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps).

Check it out here.

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 


My Last Rotary Club Meeting is Today

It’s my last meeting as the Bar Harbor (MDI) Rotary Club president and I’m pretty psyched and sad all at once. 

There’s nothing sweeter than being part of something bigger than yourself. Rotary gives all of us that whether we’re presidents or not. Rotary clubs transform lives for good. That’s a big mission that happens in small and large ways throughout our local community and in the world. 

One Little Club

Last week, our club donated $1,000 to the Trenton Elementary School in honor of its amazing librarian-advocate-volunteer-local to help get new books to kids next year. Books had been mostly cut out of the school budget. Books, as all Rotarians and writers and librarians know, make a huge difference in kids lives. 

When I was sad and scared and lonely, when I thought I might not survive the sorrow in my little life, when I thought I had no hope? It was stories of other girls becoming that gave me hope. Books saved me. 

Trenton’s librarian broke down when we gave her that check because she knew the money made a huge difference to the kids in her rural school. 

Making a difference

This year our club members raised money to fight polio, travelled to different countries to fit wheelchairs. We gave out scholarships, supported local nonprofits, helped fire victims in California, wrote letters and sent care packages to struggling soldiers and veterans, created an anti-bullying resource (still waiting on the video) after an amazing pro-empathy workshop led by one of our own. We made blankets for rescued shelter animals. We helped displaced families find temporary homes. We started Little Free Libraries 

And that barely scratches the surface of what one little club in rural Maine has done.  

Rotary is also about building peace. When we make friends, when we work together to solve problems, when we think about more than just ourselves, we’re actively part of the peace-building process even when we don’t realize it. We’re transforming our connections and our lives, meeting neighbors we never knew before, solidifying acquaintances into friends. 

I’ve loved being able to watch that happen this year. I can’t wait to see it happen next year under Susy Del Cid Papadopoli’s turn as our president. 

mdi marathon
mdi marathon

It’s bigger than Rotary

What you do in Rotary, how you’re involved, your passion is like what you do in life. That’s up to you, but let me remind you that If you’ve missed a bunch of meetings? We still love you and want to thank you. If you’ve had a hard year? We still love you and appreciate you. If you’ve had a love-hate relationship with the club or its members or me or the board? We still love you. 

Being in Rotary, being human, caring, promoting Rotary and talking about the good it does gives hope to people who might not have hope. It shows people that the only stories aren’t the bad ones, that there are people out there in the world, giving time, giving money, trying to do good. 

I’m so glad that Rotary International continues to exist and can create more and more good stories in a world that often feels like it’s too full of bad epics. Your kindness, your action, makes a difference whether you’re in Rotary or not. 

That’s made me a really lucky Rotary club president. I’ve gone to places I never thought I’d get to go to, visited countries, helped locally, made so many friends, built a playground, been hugged a lot.

All of those stories and experiences make my writing better, but they also make my life better. Rotary does that. It makes your life better (with your help) so that you can not only create better stories for others, but become one yourself.

WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears in July with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

You can preorder this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you.