TIPS ON RIDING A MECHANICAL BULL

ACT NICE

1. Act nice to the short man with the white mustache who runs the gears for the mechanical bull. This is important once you get on said bull.

WONDER AND TOUCH

2. Wonder why the bull looks SO much bigger in person. Touch its horns but not too much, this annoys the bull driver man with the mustache.

WAVE GOODBYE

3. Wave to your friends. Who knows if you will ever see them again?

BOUNCE. TRY TO GET ON. BOUNCE MORE.

4. Bounce on your toes (if you are short, like me) and leap onto the bull, which is chest high if you are short. This is the WORST part of riding the mechanical bull for many people. If you are drunk this is hard. If you are an older man with a big belly and a good golf swing this is hard. If you weigh more than 110 pounds this is hard, unless you are a super athletic guy, or short (like me) and have no qualms about bouncing up and down to get enough momentum to sit astride the bull.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are even slightly cute and slightly female a lot of nice men who are more than slightly drunk will try to help you onto the bull. This is not because they are really nice. This is because they want to touch your butt.

SIT ON THE BULL

5. Look triumphant as people cheer the fact that you are able to actually sit on the bull.

PANT

6. Look shocked as you realize you’re already panting and THE BULL HASN’T STARTED MOVING YET.

CONSIDER PRAYER

7. Pray if you are the type to pray. Convert if you are the type not to pray.

HOLD ON

8. Hold on to rope.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are a man from Maine and you pull on your bicycling gloves, this will NOT help you stay on the bull. This is because millions of people in the audience (Maine’s entire population) will start yelling WUSS! WUSS! WUSS! at you and you will laugh so hard you’ll fall off before it starts.

pray for real

9. Pray again. PRAY FOR REAL THIS TIME unless you’re super-anti prayer and then maybe mumble mantras, look for Universe energy and drink some kombucha? Or vodka? Maybe just swig down some vodka.

DO NOT SCREAM

10. Ride the bull. It is okay to look stupid. It is not okay to scream. The bull-driver man with the mustache will MAKE you fall off if you scream. If you are a cute girl you will stay on the bull MUCH longer than anyone else even if you have no balance. Accept this. Bull-driver man doesn’t have that twinkle in his eye for nothing.

LEAN INTO IT,

11. Try to lean forward, back, and balance. Comment on how it seems as if they’ve put furniture polish (perhaps Pledge? It is a lemony smell) on the bull to make it slippery. Wonder if the bull likes it.

HOLD ON

12. Hold on to whatever you can hold onto, even bull-driving man.

spout cliches without the accent mark

13. Grab horns as you fall off. Hoist yourself back up by the bulls. You get bonus points for this AND you get to brag after by announcing to all,  YES, I TOOK THE BULL BY THE HORNS!

WINK

14. Wink at bull-driving mustache man. Do NOT do this if you are a boy, unless you think bull-driving mustache man is a big Brokeback Mountain fan, which he probably isn’t because only the ladies are staying on the bull for more than two seconds. 

GET COCKY LIKE AN ACTOR ON A YACHT OFF CANNES.

15. Get cocky. You’re on a bull. You’ve been on there for 40 seconds. Wave to your friends. Bow to your fans. Scream, I RULE THE WORLD. Look in mustached bull driver’s eyes. Uh-oh. You got cocky. His twinkling eyes turn evil. That bull is bucking a lot harder. You’re going to…

REGRET YOUR LIFE CHOICES.

16. FALL. Try to do this gracefully. It is impossible. So laugh and bounce back up. Thank God that you weren’t wearing a skirt. If you are wearing a skirt, thank God you’re wearing nice underwear. You are, aren’t you? 

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 JULY 16 with Steve Wedel.

It’s scary. It’s romantic and it’s 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. 

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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. 


WE’VE BEEN MARRIED TOO LONG AND POOP TEXTS

We’ve Been Married Too Long and Poop Texts

Sometimes you get married and you’ve been married for a long time and you remember that the beginning of your marriage is like a poem and there’s white space and new discovery in every line. 

Sometimes you’ve been married a long time and it’s a routine, a science experiment that can be replicated. There can be beautiful comfort in a rut or a routine. 

Some people want life to be poems. 

Or not.

Some people want life to be expirments. 

Or not.

Some people like patterns to their lives and their books, but some people don’t.  

As writers and people, we have to decide if we want to be science experiments, or do we want poem moments again. Listen to the podcast to hear Shaun talk about poop texts, poop talks, Hallmark-quality texts and makes up brilliant poems and admits to excessive emoji use. Also, we haven’t really been married too long. 🙂

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Random things in your childhood come up in your poems and stories. It’s okay to not realize this until your siblings tell you.Also, poop is funny.  

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Dogs smell their poop. They are proud of it until they kick grass on top of it. Dogs are not afraid of the poopy side of life. Embrace your dark side, but then know that the things you poop away should stay away.  

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.


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. 


Tips on How to Survive The Fourth of July (without permanent psychological trauma)

BIGGEST HINT TO SURVIVAL: JUST SAY NO TO RED WOOL SWEATERS 

1. If you are in fourth grade and bored, do not insist on performing a magic show for your mom, your step-dad, and your nana.

2. Especially do not perform this magic show if you’ve NEVER done ONE SINGLE magic trick ever before.

3. Do NOT put on a red wool sweater that you got in KINDERGARTEN and last wore in FIRST GRADE and even then, it was pretty stretched. It is NOT necessary to wear red, white, and blue on the 4th of July to prove you’re patriotic unless you’re running for president. Then you might also want to wrap yourself up in a flag and have 577 lapel pins of the flag.

4. It is especially not necessary to wear red, white and blue on the 4th of July if the only red item of clothing you own is a WAY TOO SMALL WOOL sweater and it is 102 degrees out and super humid.

5. Did I mention the sweater was wool? Remember: no wool.

6. Did I mention that it is 102 degrees out and there is NO AIR CONDITIONING? Remember: no wool if there’s no air conditioning.

7. If you are going to insist on wearing red wool, a white scrunchy, and blue jeans to your first-ever command performance as magician, make sure to have plenty of fluids with you because eventually you will succumb to audience pressure for GOOD magic tricks and your Nana’s I’m-going-to-be-supportive-and-not-laugh-out-loud face and the INTENSE heat and you will eventually FAINT!

BANG!

Right on the family room floor, on the tiles and cause your mother to scream, “GET AN AMBULANCE!”

8. If you faint due to intense heat and the pressure of saying “Pick a card, any card” over and over again, get ready to have your step-dad throw fluids in your face to wake you up. 

9. You’re mother will hug you and yank off your red wool sweater cursing herself for being a ‘Bad, bad mother’ for letting you insist on wearing it anyways.

SO… if you are a girl, make sure you wear a training bra (white…to go with patriotic ensemble) under your red wool sweater or things will be terribly, terribly embarrassing.

10. Cry.

You will get more ice cream this way.

Running to your room and slamming the door does not get you ice cream (at least it didn’t work for me) it just gets you in trouble because as your nana says, “Doors are made to be shut. Not slammed.”

And your mother will be embarrassed for not raising a child who knows enough not to slam doors or wear wool in July. Then she will ground you because of her failure.

11. Throw away your red wool sweater.

12. Vow never to perform magic again.

13. Sneak out of your room for more ice cream. Do not get any ideas about Sparklers and Mentos and vinegar and baking soda. It is not a good mix. Just stick your head in the freezer and beg to go to the beach.

14. Leave the red sweater at home.


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. 


Sweet Potato Tahini Butter Recipe

Sometimes people are buttheads.

They will mess everything up and then point out your mistakes. They will tell you on social media that you put too many s’s in some word. They will complain to other people that you didn’t invite them to a meeting for a project that your club is doing when they aren’t even in your club.

They will tell you that the world doesn’t need another book about a hamster falling in love with a modem.

And you might want to lose your chill.

Don’t do it.

Eat these instead.

Man Verdict:

DEAR GOD WHY DIDN’T YOU MAKE MORE.

Dog Verdict:

Any sweet potato is a good sweet potato.

My Verdict:

I love these. The end.


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. 

Print Recipe
Sweet Potato, Tahini Butter Recipe and I AM NOT LOSING MY DAMN CHILL
This is adapted from the Bon Appetit version. It's much more chill.
Sweet Potato, Tahini Butter recipe and I AM NOT LOSING MY DAMN CHILL I AM A WRITER AND I AM TOTALLY MELLOW AND CREATIVE AND STUFF.
Cuisine vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 33 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Cuisine vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 33 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Sweet Potato, Tahini Butter recipe and I AM NOT LOSING MY DAMN CHILL I AM A WRITER AND I AM TOTALLY MELLOW AND CREATIVE AND STUFF.
Instructions
  1. Haters got to hate, right? But you can make something delicious and rejoice, writer. Nope. I'm not talking about a subtweet. I'm talking about sweet potatoes.
  2. Let's get started with our Sweet Potato Revenge. Boil water in a pot that can hold a steamer basket big enough to hold sweet potatoes.
  3. Half the sweet potatoes. Imagine they are the heads of your enemies. No. Don't do that. That's gory.
  4. Put the halved potato heads into the steamer. Cover the pot. Lower the heat to medium. STEAM THOSE HEADS!!! Cackle. Steam them until they are tender when stabbed multiple times with a fork.
  5. Try not to stab them multiple times unless you really really really need to.
  6. Okay, when that scary stuff is happening on the stove, take some calming breaths in through your nose. Now rejoice because you get to smash the lime juice with the butter, tahini, sesame oil and soy sauce. SMASH IT! HULK SMASH IT! Smash it until it's smooth.
  7. This should take three minutes. If you are smashing for more than three minutes, you might want to call a friend to vent to or maybe just write a dramatic poem about your hater. That's chill. That's using the emotion for art. You are so cool.
  8. Put a ton of salt (non flaky) and pepper on the butter that is not officially tahini butter.
  9. Think about how your hater doesn't get to eat this deliciousness. Maybe cackle softly again.
  10. Take the potatoes (carefully) out of the steamer. Put those potatoes on a large plate. Let them cool down so you don't get hurt.
  11. Once those potatoes are chilled out enough then cut the sections in half. Spread the butter all over it.
  12. Put sea salt and then sesame seeds on it. Add some lime wedges. You are beautiful. Eat.

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. 

Aw, Ah, Aah, Awe, or Ah is that Underwear?

None of us are perfect with the grammar, especially not us native-English speakers. We’ve got all these words that mean totally different things but sound EXACTLY THE SAME! 

And today, we here on Dogs are Smarter Than People are going to do things.

  1. Prove that dogs are smarter than people because they don’t have to spell.
  2. Help you all out about a five-some of evil. Yes, I’m talking about Aah, ah, ahh, aw, and awe. 

I know you’ve all seen it on Facebook. Someone you love writes, “Awe (a-w-e) that’s so cutie.”

And you’re like, “No! Agh. I don’t want to be evil and tell them but they are using the wrong spelling here.” 

Let’s get started. 

Aah! Is an interjection. It’s like a giant mosquito as big as a velociraptor is hovering in front of your nose. You are afraid. Aah is what we use for those moments. 

It has a super close relative – Ah! 

Ah is an interjection, too. But this time you aren’t expressing fear; this time you are expressing love, surprise, pleasure, a realization. 

“Ah! I now understand that was not a mosquito but was actually an Amazon delivery drone.” 

And then we have their lovely relative, Ahh.

Ahh is when you get something or you accept something. 

Ahh, I do love you and your way with drones. 

Ahh, this is how the world works, you act like a narcissist on social media and you suddenly have a million followers. 

Let’s move on.

Aw is what most people are meaning when they write ‘awe.’

Aw is when something is super cutie or adorbs. 

Sometimes we use it to show we’re disappointed. Aw! English! You make no sense. 

So, it’s like this: 

Aw, you are the bestest, cutiest Rotary club president ever. 

Aw, your puppy is adorable! 

Aw, that manatee lingere is the best underwear ever! 

Aw, I probably should have realized that I have no chill prior to taking a leadership role and now I’m just sub-tweeting everyone and whining about their underwear. 

And then we have the all-mighty awe. 

Cue God music.

Feeling like you are full of admiration, fear, reverence because of something super big-time like God or manatees swimming nearby or some really amazing underwear? 

This is awe. 

She raised her hands to the sky, overwhelmed with awe as the flying manatee in purple plaid underwear approached. 

At the edge of the Grand Canyon, he grasped her sleeve in awe of the magnificence below them. 

Writer Tip of the Pod

Dictionaries are our friends. Words have meanings. Don’t stress out if you mess up. We all mess up, but try to do the best you can. We’ll be in awe of your mad wordsmithing skills. 

Dog Tip for Life

It’s easy to spell ‘bark.’ Don’t sweat the small stuff. We make mistakes. If you don’t hurt anyone, yourself or end up in jail, it’s probably all good 

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.


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. 


Aw, Ah, Aah, Awe, or Ah is that Underwear?

 
 
00:00 / 00:28:27
 
1X
 

Pride and Family and Death

My family is complicated and large and mostly dead. 

Some of those deaths hit harder than others, which is probably wrong to say, but I’ve never been super worried about saying things right. 

One of those deaths was my uncle Freddie. I was seven when I first met Freddie and Lesley. 

Before they arrived, Mom pulled me aside and made me sit on our yellow couch and announced in her fake-calm-mom voice as she lit a cigarette, “Carrie, you need to understand that Uncle Freddie and Aunt Leslie are unconventional. And we are not going to make them uncomfortable by talking about things that might not make sense to you.”

Unconventional

I had no clue what “unconventional” or any of that meant. I asked. 

“Well, they ride motorcycles,“ Mom started. “And they don’t care about money. Also Leslie’s Jewish like Aunt Maxine.”

Unconventional sounded pretty cool. 

She took in a huge breath, dragging on her Marlboro Light before setting it on our shiny, gold crab ashtray. “They also love people who are boys and girls.”

“Aren’t they married to each other?” I asked. 

“Yes.”

“And isn’t Leslie a girl?”

“Yes.”

“And isn’t Freddie a boy?” 

Mom paused. “Sometimes he is and sometimes he isn’t.”

And that was it; I was only seven, but I got it. I had a cousin who was male and only liked guys. I had another cousin who was a woman and only liked women. This was just people having the potential to like anyone, which didn’t seem like it deserved such a big word as ‘unconventional.’

“Cool,” I said, which was my default answer for everything ever, basically, but especially things that I didn’t want to talk anymore about because I had other important things to do like look for Big Foot in the backyard and stuff. 

Mom wasn’t quite ready to let me go. She took her cigarette again and tapped imaginary ashes into the crab. 

“Plus, they are from Florida. Florida is not New Hampshire,” she said as she kissed my head and finally let me off the couch and back into the woods. 

FLORIDA IS NOT New Hampshire

I didn’t know much about Florida except that it was where all my rich friends went on February vacation and that it was sunny and flat there. I didn’t know anything about LGBT laws and legislation. I know now that in the beginning of the 1970s in Florida people could be prosecuted for having anal or oral sex. I know that by the late 1970s Miami passed legislation saying it was illegal to discriminate against people who loved other people of their own sex.  But back in the 1960s, Florida had a witch hunt. A senator created The Purple Pamphlet, hoping to “shock Floridians into accepting its program.”

People like Freddie and Leslie were riddled with disease, according the pamphlet and the people who made it. Freddie and Leslie had to worry about meeting new people because they didn’t know if the people they were meeting were going to be full of judgement and hate. 

I didn’t know that. 

I was seven.

When I met Freddie and Lesley, I just knew they were from Florida; they could love men and/or women, and that my mom and dad loved them both with all their hearts. They burst into our living room to a plethora of squeals and hugs, and cheek kissing. They were wearing leather, younger than the rest of my aunts and uncles, jazzy and full of energy. Freddie lifted me into the air. Leslie kissed my cheeks and we played piano together.

The next day, she gave me all of her sheet music because she said, “That’s what artists do. We share. We encourage. We celebrate each other.”

“I’m not a musician or an artist,” I said because Mom always said I was smart and a good writer, but not an artist. People blood related to us were not meant to be artists. 

Leslie shook her head at me. Her eyes softened. “You already are inside.’ 

We Celebrate Each Other

I’m not sure if I’ve ever loved any relatives as much as I loved them. They brought joy and music and laughter and thought into our house. My dad was constantly cracking up, hugging Freddie, toasting them both, sharing stories. Mom buzzed around making food, smiling. She even had a Black Russian, her favorite drink that she rarely drank, usually just on New Year’s. 

It was so happy.  I am, however, pretty sure that this happiness wasn’t always real for them.  They were staying at Aunt Rosie’s house to get away from Florida life for a bit. Freddie took some illegal drugs. I’m pretty sure that Freddie’s heart hurt and that hurt would expand and expand until it filled up all of him. He was the youngest son of a poor Portuguese family, the baby by , coddled but also forced to be independent way too early.  I’m pretty sure that Leslie wanted to take all that pain away but couldn’t. 

In 1977 a woman in Florida (whose name I will not mention) made legislation that kept gay people from adopting kids. She called it Save Our Children. 

In 2019 most of the best parents I know are gay. No offense to my straight friends. Some of them are great, too.

I remember one night asking Leslie if they were going to have babies. 

“No,” she said. “There’s already too much hate in the world.”

Everyone else in the world except me seemed to want babies, so this was super shocking. Too much hate seemed like a great reason though. 

“If Mommy and Daddy die will you take me though?”

“Oh, sweetie.” Leslie started to cry.

Mom looked panicked. Freddie threw open his arms. He was wearing mascara. He was the first person I’d ever seen with stubble and mascara.

He hauled me into his arms and said, “I would be so honored.”

We’d be honored,” Leslie said, joining the hug and I was smooshed between these two bodies that were so beautiful to me. I didn’t know think of them as boy and girl or maybe-boy and maybe-girl. I thought of them as Freddie and Lesley. I thought of them as love.

I thought of them as love

In the late 1970s, Florida made a task force to stop anti-gay discrimination. One of the things they were trying to stop was the Bush-Trask amendment, which was part of a Florida appropriations bill. The amendment stripped all the state funding to any Florida university or college that allowed/supported LGBT student organizations. It passed, but was eventually deemed unconstitutional. 

There are many LGBTQA people in my family. Back then, not everyone was out. I  can’t even begin to understand how hard it was for Freddie and Leslie to deal with that hate, with gender questioning. Current me still can’t understand their ability to love anyone and everyone and how that ability was met with discrimination and hate so often, far too often. 

One December after they’d gone back to Florida, Dad got a phone call. I’m not sure who it was from, but I remember the house went so silent, too silent. Mom stood there next to him, hand on his shoulder, other hand covering her mouth and while I watched, he crumpled, just bent over at his waist. The phone was still in his hand and he was nodding his head, but not really saying words until finally, “Okay. Okay. Thank you.” 

Mom hung up the phone for him and pulled him into her arms, motioning for me to join their hug. Daddy’s body shook. Mom’s body shook. 

And when I asked, finally, what it was that was making them cry? When I asked them that, my body shook, too. 

Freddie died. 

He had a motorcycle accident that made no sense. Leslie said he’d been very depressed and she tried to get him not to go out. He didn’t listen. He went out. He ran into a tree at a high rate of speed. A single-vehicle accident. Nobody else was hurt. 

He was gone. 

All his fun and passion, his hugs, his dark skin, his leather clothes-cool, his mascara and stubble and thick black hair wasn’t there anymore. For years, until he died, too, my dad’s voice broke when he said Freddie’s name. 

Leslie was gone too.

I never saw her again, never played piano with her again, never hugged her and Freddie’s strong bodies, bodies that they made into what they wanted them to be. 

Uncle Freddie missed the Versace era of Miami Beach, where the city was a mecca that celebrated gender and sexuality diversity. The pain of being different got to Freddie way too early. He made it 38 years into this world, and that was all.  He never had the chance to go to the amazing drag bar, The Palace. He never got to know the era of South Beach Fabulous in the 1990s. And he never had to see an Orlando gay club attacked in the 2010s.  

But, God, I hope he knew that he was loved. I hope he knows now that people are still celebrating and fighting for the ability to be who the hell they are. I hope he knows how hot he looked with that mascara on, so hot that even a seven-year-old noticed, and how much I miss his hugs. 

My family is large and complicated and mostly dead, but it is still full of rainbows and kindness, of magnificent hugs and deep worries. And the ones who are still alive are mostly people who care more about loving than judging. I like that about them. I like that a lot.


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. 

The Horror Writer’s Peanut Butter and Jelly on Fire

We are in the camper in Maine in a campground in Maine and there is a creepy man in a pop-up tent nearby and it is Maine.

Maine is where Stephen King gets inspired.

Maine is also where writers rent out their houses to make money. Cough.

So, scary thoughts are happening, people. Thoughts that can only be cured by peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that are warm. Yes! WARM!

MAN VERDICT

This is not vegetarian! It’s me peanut butter.

MY VERDICT

What?!?!

DOG’S VERDICT

Peanut butter should be a condiment.

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? Paragraph

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. 

Print Recipe
The Horror Writer's Peanut Butter and Jelly on Fire
You haven't seen scary until you grill a PBJ.
The Horror Writer's Peanut Butter and Jelly on Fire
Cuisine american
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes plus eternity in hell and stuff. No big.
Servings
undead
Ingredients
Cuisine american
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes plus eternity in hell and stuff. No big.
Servings
undead
Ingredients
The Horror Writer's Peanut Butter and Jelly on Fire
Instructions
  1. Heat a skillet or griddle to 350-degrees Fahrenheit. Don't use a grill even if you're camping. Really. DO NOT USE A GRILL!
  2. Take bread. Put butter on one slide of each slice. Butter is a kind of lard, isn't it? Does this remind you of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS? Don't let it remind you.
  3. On the side the butter isn't on, spread the peanut butter. On the other slice's naked side, put the jelly. If your jelly is red, do not let that remind you of human blood. Don't let it make you even hungrier if you think of this. BE HUMAN! YOU ARE HUMAN, right?
  4. Promise this writer that you are using a griddle or a skillet because I am imagining terrifying things with peanut butter and jelly dripping on open flames. If you can promise this then go ahead and put a buttered slice on the skillet. Put the other slice on top.
  5. Look, humans. The peanut butter and jelly should be in the middle of the bread slices. Okay? NO MISTAKES HERE!
  6. Cook for about four minutes and flip that bad boy over, spank it with the spatula, and cook it four more minutes.

Guys, I’m giving up today. Here’s a video.

I was super sad last night because I felt like a failure at pretty much all aspects of life. And I felt lonely. And I felt hopeless. And I am still not completely out of this funk despite the fact that I have a lot of lovely things in my life like:

  1. People who love me
  2. Dogs
  3. A cat who tolerates me
  4. Healthy health stuff

But I was still feeling sad and like a big fail.

So, I’m trying to blog despite all this. This is my feeble attempt, a bad video of me talking. Yes, my hair is wet. Yes, I have no make-up on. Yes, I am in a camper.

That’s me.


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? Paragraph

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.