BE BRAVE FRIDAY — THE GUY WHO SANG

He was walking next to me, one step ahead, turning to face me, pausing so I could keep up. “You’re going to a bar? Off campus? With people who aren’t students?”

“I am.”

When I was in college, I got to get out of my college bubble because I dispatched as part of my work-study. I was poor, so I had work-study, grants, aid, and a small loan. Being a security dispatcher meant that I talked to and hung out with people who weren’t students, professors or staff. My college was pretty great. But honestly? Between that dispatching job and interning for Janet T. Millsfor two summers when she was the Androscoggin County District Attorney? It’s where I learned the most about the world and people.

The other student stopped, turned to face me and said, face full of raised eyebrows and slack lips. “Why?”

“Your face is a question mark,” I told him.

“You are devastatingly weird,” he huffed and walked on. A second later, he said, “You didn’t answer my question.”

“Why not?” I liked the people at work and at my internship.

“Because it’s unsafe,” he said. “You don’t—They are older than you.”

“Not all of them.”

“They aren’t students.”

I stopped now, right on the edge of the campus where the student housing ended and the Lewiston apartment buildings began. “So, students are safe, but regular people aren’t?”

He didn’t have a real answer. I went out to that bar because I was always doing things back then that made me uncomfortable, that made me learn, and I watched a coworker sing “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” with a skinny, pale guy on the fiberglass karaoke floor in a bar that smelled like 90s cops’ thick deodorant, chewing tobacco, and beer. Half the bar was cops and people from the DA’s office, though not the DA, and the other half were people that the cops had arrested before, that I’d seen in the courthouse. They all mingled together. Or at least they did that night.

The guy my coworker was singing with had a criminal record and a frame that barely held up his skin; brown hair leaked past the ridge of his t-shirt. She sang a song she hated, but she knew her voice sounded good when she crooned out Streisand, even when she had too many.

“Thank you,” she said to the totally inebriated guy and to the drunk audience. She thanked the guy out of professional courtesy not because he sang well. He didn’t.

“Welcome,” he replied so loudly that it came over the microphone and we all laughed. He took a bow.

He didn’t leave her side when she walked back to our table. He ordered two margaritas and paid.

“I might sleep with him later,” she told me, leaning in, all alcohol breath.

He said to her, still so loudly, “You’re beautiful singer.”

“Thank you.” She flipped through the book of karaoke songs and the guy was off to the john. She looked at me. “You never go up there and sing.”

“Can’t do it,” I said.

“Why not?”

“Too scared.”

“Of singing?”

“Of sucking.”

On the way back, he-who-was-not-afraid-of-sucking clapped along and took the microphone away from a man serenading some fishnet wearing girl with a country song I didn’t recognize. He strained to wiggle his hips to the rhythm while he sang. He couldn’t. He tried some pseudo sexy pelvic thrusts.

“Carrie is afraid of singing,” Jessie announced.

my art that I’m always so afraid to share.

He eyeballed me and his hand clung to the curve of Jessie’s back. “Carrie looks like she’s afraid of a lot of things.” He leaned forward so all I could smell was him; beer sour, tobacco stained-breath. “You are afraid of your own damn voice, aren’t you?”

I was. Jessie wasn’t. He obviously wasn’t. But I was and I still kind of am, but I’m working on it.

Every week, I’m trying to learn that it’s not the end of the world to get a small detail wrong and that you can correct that detail and that it’s way more important to focus on the act of speaking, writing, singing, reporting, doing. It’s way more important to enjoy and be a part of the process.

But it’s so hard sometimes.

How about you? Are you finding ways to be brave, to put your voice out there, to sing and not worried that you might not sound awesome? I hope so. I hope you do.

Also, I made a QR code for my art place. How cool is that?

Be Brave Friday – Becoming

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

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


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


But there was nothing there.


Blank canvas mostly.


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


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


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


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


XO

Carrie


Be Brave Friday- The Overwhelm

I am not feeling terribly brave today.

I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed. My work load these past two weeks (and until Tuesday) has been huge. A lovely writer that I work with in Write Submit Support at the Writing Barn (and who only knows what I do there) said, “I don’t know how you get done all you do.”

Sometimes I’m not sure either. And weeks like these, where I will have read about 700,000 or more words and written well over 1,000 pages of feedback, working from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Plus, my own story, sandwiched in between deadlines, makes me not terribly balanced in this thing called life.

I’m lucky because I have work and work equals money to support my family, and that’s important.

I’m lucky because I really love story and helping people make their best ones.

I’m lucky because I have work. And yes, I’m already stressed about making enough money in May because that’s the way my anxiety rolls.

And Tuesday will come. And I’ll get to rest soon. And I am so lucky to be a part in other writers’ journeys as they forge ahead creating this brilliant stories out of their amazing brains.

Gosh though, right now, I’m so tired.

But Tuesday will come.

And I will jump into its arms, grateful and tired, but mostly grateful.

This is an old painting because I’m not quite brave enough to share thanks to:

1. Money anxiety

2. My tiredness

3. Not having a new painting, mostly because I haven’t had time to work on any.

Allowing People To Be Kind Is Being Brave

Today, I made my first GOFUNDME that was for a person and not a nonprofit and that was a little scary.

I don’t know how to express how important and lovely it is to help others, especially when there are people like my friend who spend so much time helping to create things like playgrounds and events and keeping theaters alive.

And this guy? He’s worked so hard to build up his career and he’s a yoyng dad and now he’s already piled up $16,000 in medical debt and that just hurts my heart so much.

And yes, he’s one of my best friends.

Here we are.
And here he is with his cutie.

It feels like so much of our lives is about reaching out and doing things that make us anxious or vulnerable, which is why I made the new newsletter LIVING HAPPY about our trials and life at home and how we keep on keeping on and hope that you will, too. I hope you’ll check it out.

This one is about the kiddo lying that they slept on a couch (a hard, hard couch) at Disney

Some people make kindness feel and seem so effortless. When our dog, Gabby died, the amazing and talented Rebecca Van Slyke sent us this beautiful art that she created of Gabby. It’s gorgeous. She’s gorgeous and talented. It’s below. Look at it! Isn’t it amazing? ❤

People being kind? It’s really people being brave. So, don’t be afraid to reach out and be kind today, okay?

And also don’t forget to let people reach out and be kind to you, too.

No More Hiding Who We Are

Having a kid who isn’t doing well

Shaun and the kiddo a couple of years ago

This week the psychologist for the school system looked at my spouse (Shaun) and me across the island in our kitchen and said, “You two are really very grounded.”

            He is lovely and kind.

            But as we’ve dealt with crisis after crisis with our kiddo, I’ve noticed how other people are surprised when they come into our house to talk to our thirteen-year-old. They say things like, “Oh, it’s so peaceful here.”

            “Your house is so clean.”

            “You have such a lovely, quirky decorating style.”

            “You both are so . . . responsive.”

            “ . . . intelligent.”

            “ . . . kind.”

            “ . . . receptive.”

            “ . . . caring.”

            “ . . . well-balanced.”

            “ . . . supportive . . . together.”

            The kindness is wonderful, obviously. But it’s really got me thinking about the surprise in people’s voices when they give these compliments. All these people have been lovely, but what they’ve taught me these past few weeks is that when you have a child who is having a significantly hard time either mentally or developmentally, people seem to expect you to be that way as well.

            One of the reasons I’m writing about this is that I don’t talk a lot about our kiddo. There are a lot of reasons for that.

Reason 1

            When their adopted mother (I am just the bonus mom married to the adopted dad, complicated, I know) was still parenting all the time, she really didn’t like it when I even posted a photo of our kiddo with a friend’s child. It made her sad. But we’ve had this kiddo for two years now and I’m done with worrying about what someone who rarely sees their child thinks.

            So that isn’t what is holding me back any longer.

Reason 2

            I was thinking that I wanted to protect the kiddo’s privacy, but I never did that with my older biological daughter as she was growing up.

So why would I be protecting this kiddo’s privacy.

I think it’s not because of internet bad guys.

I think that it would be because of stigma. And you know what? I’m done with stigma.


Stigma

It’s okay to have a kid who breaks your heart and that you worry for, and who you want to magically be able to control their temper and make the right decisions and be able to socialize in a way that they themselves want to.

            We have a kid like this.

            We don’t hide it in real life. We don’t need to hide it online either. Our kid knows that they are getting special programs (or were) and a different educational experience.


The Other Side Of Not Hiding

But it’s preconceived notions of us as parents, even by professionals, that is the real reason we’re going to be super open about this part of our journey and other parts, too.

            Having a child in crisis doesn’t make us any less who we were as people before. It doesn’t make us unclean, ungrounded, unintelligent, uncaring, or unbalanced. It gives us stress as we navigate the systems trying to find the best help and options for that child, but it doesn’t change who we inherently are or how we inherently love.

As Yin Paradies, João Luiz Bastos and Naomi Priest write in “Prejudice, Stigma, Bias, Discrimination, and Health from Part III – Prejudice Reduction and Analysis in Applied Contexts,”

Prejudice, stigma, bias, and discrimination are all expressions of oppression, “a concept that describes a relationship between groups or categories of people in which a dominant group benefits from the systematic abuse, exploitation, and injustice directed toward a subordinate group” (Johnson, 2000, p. 293). 

            It’s stigma that makes all the people who have come into our home this last month be surprised. It’s stigma that makes us think we have to protect or hide things about our selves or our lives when they don’t mesh with society’s typical standards.

            Stigma leads to bias. It leads to preconceived notions. It leads to not understanding each other.

            People have always asked me why I am so open about things, why I always want town and nonprofit boards, town councils, other people to feel open too when they’re ready. It’s because this. I don’t think there is anything to hide.

            Hiding makes you feel shame. 

            Hiding also makes you lie. Sometimes. Sometimes a lot. I’ve watched that destroy people.

            Lying often makes you anxious. Anxiety holds you back.

            All of that sucks.


            I’ve never hidden tons of things about myself, which doesn’t mean that I talk about them constantly or even often, and that’s because I don’t want to have those things become all that I am. Because I’m a lot more than being a person who has survived a lot of things, a person with sloshy s’s, with epilepsy, with history, with a bonus kid who needs so much help. And so are you. So are all of us.

            When our kid was upset the other day because of a terrible thing they’d said to their principal about their teachers—a thing that will have huge repercussions—they slumped on their bed and tears formed. For our kid? Tears are a big deal and rare.

            We’d already talked about choice and responsibility. We’d already talked about how once you say or do things, you can’t always take them back, especially if that talk or act is violent. We talked about what happens when you say or do violent things. We talk about this all the time. All. The. Time.

            But this day, it was almost like they’d got it and they said, “I hate who I am. There is nothing good in me.”

            And I listed all the things that were good. How they loved and were so protective of their internet friends. How they could create entire AUs and make people laugh with their droll humor. How they took good care of their cats. How they were amazing at digital art and making animations, and getting better at it all the time.

            It might not be enough that practical list, and it might not be enough for you or me or any of us sometimes, but it’s what you have to hang on to when you’re facing stigma and crisis and self-doubt. You have to remember to try to live the truth of who you are.

            Hiding?

            It only brings us down.


            Shaun and I are starting this Substack called LIVING HAPPY and we’re going to be open and say to hell with stigma. This is who we are. This is what we’re dealing with. This is how we’re still happy.

We’ll have another one for writing tips pretty soon.

And there will be free and $5 a month options. It is basically a newsletter that is helpful and honest and true. It’ll be pretty damn personal and pretty damn real.

There will be posts once or twice a week. Some free. Some only for subscribers.

I hope you’ll come hang out with us there. I hope you’ll be on our living happy journey with us, too, despite everything.

No.

Because of everything.

Be Brave Friday

These last couple weeks have been a bit hard.

So, I went on a quote hunt and I found these bad boys.

Neuroeconomist Paul Zak has found that hearing a story—a narrative with a beginning, middle, and end—causes our brains to release cortisol and oxytocin. These chemicals trigger the uniquely human abilities to connect, empathize, and make meaning. Story is literally in our DNA.”   — Brené Brown

We have to be continually jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way.” — Kurt Vonnegut

And I just gave up trying to be a real painter and threw paint and things around and made a giant scribble this week and those it is not terribly technically adept (especially when I think of my artist friends’ works), I kind of am okay with it because there is joy under all that chaos.

My painting this week.

Right? There can still be joy underneath all the pain and worry, the anxiety and grief. Hope. Sometimes it’s hard to hold onto, but it’s still there, damn it. It’s still there.

In an article for Psychology Today, Karyn Hall writes that when trying to find a path for hope:

 “Find a clear path. Being able to see how the steps you are taking will lead to desired change is critical to having hope. If you don’t logically see how what you are doing can have a positive result, then carrying out the plan will likely be difficult. Write down each step that you need to take to get where you want to be. If someone else is working with you, then push him or her to explain how the steps lead to the results you want.

2. Look for role models who have found solutions. There are many, many people who have overcome tremendous adversity. Reading their stories and surrounding yourself with supportive messages and people can help you build hope.

“3. Do what you know you can do. When you are in despair, taking one step that is out of your routine can help break the sense of powerlessness you have. Make your bed. Cook dinner. Talk to a friend. Take a step you know you can do and that action can make a difference over time. Keep doing it, and then try to add more actions. Overcoming the inertia of helplessness can help you build hope.

4. Perform an act of kindness. Doing acts of kindness can have a dramatic effect on your mood and outlook. Kindness triggers the release of serotonin, so it has an anti-depressant effect. It also calms stress and helps reduce pain.”

For me those things sometimes help. But what also helps me sometimes is:

Getting outside. Just going outside and seeing the world makes me have hope because trees? Trees are lovely.

Getting exercise. I like endorphins. They are my friends.

Remembering the good. Thinking about victory and kindness. It’s not so much about finding role models for me, but seeing how wars have ended before, how pandemics have been dealt with before, how individuals have been brave and good and triumphant.

Creating something. It might be muffins. It might be a poem or a story. It might even just be creating a cleaner space, but tangible things? They help ground me. Even singing in the shower–if I can force myself to do it–can make a different for me, lean me towards hope.

How about you? How do you find hope?

The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones
The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones (That’s me. If you click the image, it will bring you to the Amazon page!)

The third book in Rosie and Seamus’s story of adventure, mystery, and death is here!

I hope you’ll support me, have a good read, and check it out!

great new mystery
romantic suspense set in Bar Harbor Maine

Sometimes the treasure is not worth the hunt . . . .

When a little boy goes missing on a large Maine island, the community is horrified especially almost-lovers Rosie Jones and Sergeant Seamus Kelley. The duo’s dealt with two gruesome serial killers during their short time together and are finally ready to focus on their romance despite their past history of murders and torment.

Things seem like they’ve gone terribly wrong. Again. Rosie wakes up in the middle of the woods. Is she sleepwalking or is something more sinister going on?

What at first seems like a fun treasure hunt soon turns into something much more terrifying . . . and they learn that things are not yet safe on their island or in their world. If they want to keep more people from going missing, Rosie and Seamus have to crack the puzzle before it’s too late.

To buy it, click here, and let me know! I might send you something!

Be Brave Friday: Losing Gabby Dog

I posted this on social media and Medium last week. Shaun posted about it yesterday. And it still hurts to post it here, but here goes. . .

Most people post about their dogs doing one of a few things: 1) Being sick. 2) Being stupid. 3) Persevering and/or needing love or giving love.

Love, endurance, dorkiness are traits of most dogs. It’s part of why we love them so much. They are faithful companions and almost always give us love no matter how schmucky we are.

Gabby was a love guru despite being tied to a tree and starving for most of her first year. I picked her up from a rescue that dropped off, my Southern, rural girl on the cobbled streets of Cambridge, Massachusetts (right by Harvard). She was trembling, terrified by the cars and the noise and in pain from ear infections and her horrible lack of any muscle (part of the consequences of her abuse).

Em (my daughter) and I loved her instantly.

“Oh, my poor baby,” I said and Gabby’s tail wagged.

Gabby the dog

She leaned up right next to me, something she would do for the next ten years. She leaned. She hugged, pushing her chest into mine, her head on my shoulder. She was always there through heartbreak, through the loss of my parents, through everything.

According to sources every year over 3.3 million dogs are brought into animal shelters. Gabby was one of those dogs. Only 23 percent of those dogs are rescued. Mangy, broken, terrified, unable to grow correctly because she’d been chained and starved. She barked a lot. Had issues about protecting her food. And she and Scotty (our other rescue mixed Pyr) challenged each other a bit for alpha for awhile.

It didn’t matter.

Gabby had only two modes. Love and protection.

A few years ago, when Gabby had her knee operation, a vet’s assistant called me two hours before I was supposed to come pick her up.

“Please come get your dog,” she said.

“Is she alright?”

“She won’t stop howling.”

When I got to the vet’s office three minutes later, I heard Gabby’s bellows, sad and mournful — a calling and a hope. The vet personnel looked haunted and aggrieved and as they saw me they said, “She woke up before any dog has ever. And she’s been like this. We think she is lonely for you.”

“Oh, my poor puppy,” I said.

And the moment I spoke, the howling stopped.

“Apparently, she knows you’re here,” the assistant said and then yelled over her shoulder. “Someone get Gabby!” She turned back to me, gave me all the rules of Gabby’s healing and said, “Good luck with this.”

Gabby staggered out, loopy, but she came right to me, wagged her tail and leaned in. I lifted her seventy pounds into the car, looked at her big bandage, and said, “We can be broken together, baby.”

Gabby with her favorite mouse toy

There are a lot of sources that say that dogs decrease loneliness and anxiety by 60 percent. Gabby decreased it by 99 percent.

I was single when I first got Gabby, and her aftercare wasn’t easy, but we did it. Gabby is a Great Pyrenees and she only trusted our dogs; all others were potential threats. If someone visited who had a past history of cocaine use, she’d bark at them the entire time they were in the house. If they were male and had a certain aggressive energy, she’d bark at them the entire time they were in the house. If they wore a white baseball hat, she’d bark at them the entire time they were in the house.

If I was alone and taking a shower, she’d come upstairs with me and take watch out the bedroom window. Other than when we went to bed, it was the only time she went upstairs.

If Gabby was on walks and children stopped to see her, she would stand there as they pet her, gently wagging her tail, letting them love her. And they would. Gabby understood what love was and sadly she also understood what love wasn’t.

Gabby chilling on the back deck

Gabby was pretty sure her job was to keep her family, the other dogs and cats and people safe. She never stopped loving us. She never stopped being broken. And she never stopped being lonely for me. And she allowed me to be a better person. I wanted to help other people who were feeling down, the way I sometimes felt down, but I couldn’t just post self-affirming wisdom or thoughts in my own voice because I had a wicked amount of imposter syndrome.

Plus, I knew people respond well to images on social media as opposed to words. As an author, I needed to tweet or post, but I couldn’t bring myself to post photos of my food or my own thoughts or the minutiae of the day.

So, I posted daily photos of Gabby and Sparty (my other dog) and Scotty (my other dog who died) and the cats. I would give them thoughts and words that felt like them, but also felt like me. Gabby usually got the posts about love because Gabby was love.

Gabby by the ocean

A lot of times I’ve wanted to stop posting those week-daily animal motivation/inspiration, but then I’d get private message from people. One mom’s son looked forward to seeing Gabby and Sparty every day and shared her photos and messages in a children’s cancer ward. A man told me that sometimes seeing my animals was one of the few things he could hold onto when he thought he couldn’t make it through another day.

Gabby was a light. And she gave people hope. She gave me hope that no matter how badly you’ve suffered, no matter how much pain you have, you can still find great joys and great love in each damn moment that you have.

Gabby loved food. She loved cuddling. She loved the cats. She loved being brushed and then shedding everywhere. She loved barking, her low, rumbling bark. She loved running around despite her broken body, hopping like a bunny, wagging her tail so hard that she broke its tip against the wall of our house. And she loved us.

Gabby chilling with Cloud, her best cat friend.

A couple months ago, Gabby’s back legs stopped being strong. We took her to the vet and he said it was doggy arthritis and put her on some medicine. And two weeks ago, we went on vacation. The day before we did, Gabby romped around the house, back legs shaking a bit, cuddled with Cloud the cat and me, took a neighborhood walk, looked down the street. I posted her photo.

Big, fluffy dog in a sweater turning around rather than walking down a nasty, slushy road that has a car parked in the center of it.
Gabby looking down the wintery street

About nine days into our vacation, the vet called. All he did was say his name.

I said, “Oh no. This is terrible.”

“It is. It is terrible,” he said.

It turns out that Gabby had a doggy neurological disease and that she quickly took a turn for the worse while we were away. The vet said she was still smiling and lovely and not suffering, but there was no hope. We started to drive home — a trip of about twenty-six hours — and cancelled the rest of our vacation.

And Gabby died. Her body, her broken and beautiful body, gave up.

Love doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. You can be broken; you can be afraid of being lonely; but you can still love.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

The Constant Fear of Being Broke

Hey!

It’s BE BRAVE FRIDAY and I’m trying to reach beyond my comfort zone a bit in writing by working on:

  1. A ROMANCE NOVEL FOR ADULTS!
  2. A revision of a novel of middle graders that I’ve decided isn’t good enough yet. It has a lady of the lake in it, only she’s the last one, and she’s a kid.
  3. Another adult novel that’s um . . . I have no elevator pitch for it yet. But it has magic and firefighters, which is pretty cool mashup, right?

And I’ve been painting.

And trying to think of new ways to make income because I came from poor and going back there worries me sometimes, so that’s not cool, right? That means I’m working from a place of fear and not in a positive way, which makes me think of this quote.

“Bravery is the audacity to be unhindered by failures, and to walk with freedom, strength, and hope, in the face of the things unknown.”

Morgan Harper Nichols

Morgan Harper Nichols is a mixed-media artist that you should check out.

There’s a great post on MEDIUM about the fear of being broke and where it comes from especially when it comes from places that aren’t the same as mine (living in the car for a bit, government cheese, people always calling my mom because of credit card debt, my poor mom crying).

I guess there’s the evolutionary (pop) theory that these are our caveman instincts on display enforcing vigilance in anticipation of the cataclysmic event that knocks us off of our professional pedestals. (But recall that fear inhibits the right side of our brain and hence our creativity and problem solving skills.) Or maybe it’s the way we confuse financial security and meaning? Or that our stress is a perverted relationship with time?

Khe Hy

Wow. Right?

And then Khe goes deeper because he’s a good writer/thinker.

We amplify losses, dismiss wins

There’s a financial concept called negative convexity. In layman’s terms it describes a security that tends to lose more than it can gain. So tails, I lose; heads I win, but not as much. You can see this at play with these flop house predictions. Yes, The losses are amplified, but we’re also too quick to dismiss the wins.

Professor, author, polymath (and longtime RadReader) Adam Grant spoke about this phenomenon on the Farnam Street podcast:

”I don’t think we’re very good at mental time travel. When something goes wrong, we amplify it and catastrophize it — it starts to feel like it’s “the worst thing that ever happened to me” yet in rare cases it is. That’s stiff competition. For something to be the worst thing that ever happened to you of all the bad things that have ever occurred to you in your life — this has to be the worst. The odds are, it’s not the worst thing.

So, obviously, I’m a tiny bit hindered when it comes to my fear of not making an income–or enough of an income–or having it all dry up. And that? Well, it’s probably not too healthy. But I don’t like government cheese and living in a car. And I don’t want to ever be there again.

Khe Hy

Again–wow. Us writers do this all the time, we absolutely let the negative feedback beat the positive, hyper-focusing on one potentially negative word in a glowing review. It’s part of the reason that I give feedback to my clients in the rah-rah empowering (hopefully) way that I do.

But we don’t need to do that focus on the negative word. We don’t need to catastrophize or focus on the worst-case scenario all the time. We don’t need to live in fear.

I have to learn this especially when it comes to earning money because it’s limiting me from taking big risks and trying out new ideas.

But I’m working on it! And speaking of things I’m working on, here’s a painting!

You can see the super messy easel and the basement wall beyond. This painting goes with my magic/firefighters novel. Almost all my paintings have to do with my novels, and lately all of them have an angel hidden somewhere.

In some wild future, I hope to have enough time (where I’m not working) to learn as much about painting as I do about writing, but I’m trying to learn slowly, step by step, you know? And right now, it just brings me joy to work in image instead of always in words.

POSTS AND PODCASTS THIS WEEK

It’s my weekly wrap-up, and it’s been such a week that I almost spelled that rap-up. That kind of would have been cooler, honestly.

Shaun totally forgets to blog, so you might want to check this old one out.

I blog about our poor fence and the poor trees that keep come smashing down.

On Write Better Now, it’s all about backstory.

On Carrie Does Poetry, I read the story of my life, “Everything Makes Us Scared.”

This week’s humorous, but yummy recipe didn’t exist because it was a week. But you can check out Microwave Raspberry Sauce of Wordle and Wine.

On Dogs are Smarter Than People, we talk about how feeling worthy is complete B.S.

And our live podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, we talk about the the strange things people compete about.

And if you haven’t checked it out yet, my author interview with Tony Quintana on Dogs are Smarter Than People’s bonus edition.

STUBHY

One of the writers I’m working with is Stubhy Pandav and he’s got a great video right here that you all should check out. He’s a phenomenal singer and artist.

Stubhy

POEMS EVERYWHERE!

Over on Medium and my social media, I post motivating daily thoughts from my animals. On Medium (and only on Medium), I post poems that I’ve written (usually) twice a week. You should check it out! And clap or something so I can make $1 over there this month. 🙂 I actually made $12 this month. Woot!

How About You?

There you go! And how are you doing? Are you hanging in? Being brave? Thinking thoughts? Sharing new things?

NEW BOOK OUT

https://read.amazon.com/kp/card?preview=inline&linkCode=kpd&ref_=k4w_oembed_FKEYfvdrmdcTox&asin=B09Q6CTWN5&tag=kpembed-20

It’s called THE PEOPLE WHO LEAVE and it’s the latest installment of the Dude series. Shaun (the husband) and I are currently arguing about whether it’s the last installment. I say yes. He says no. Feel free to weigh in if you’ve been reading it.

Be Brave Friday! It’s a New Book Baby, Art, and a Weekly Round-Up

Hey! It’s BE BRAVE FRIDAY and um . . . I’m not sure what I’m being brave about right now.

No. No, that’s a lie.

I’m going to be brave by sharing a huge painting that I’m working on and I’m going to be brave by telling you that I have a book coming out tomorrow, which I’ve done absolutely nothing to promote because I suck, and I’ve been working too much on OTHER people’s books.

Curving towards hope.

But here is the book . . .

It’s called THE PEOPLE WHO LEAVE and it’s the latest installment of the Dude series. Shaun (the husband) and I are currently arguing about whether it’s the last installment. I say yes. He says no. Feel free to weigh in if you’ve been reading it.

WHAT IT IS ABOUT

A heartbreaking and romantic must-read thriller from New York Times and internationally bestselling author Carrie Jones brings a Maine teen’s past into a terrifying present.

Jessica “Dude” Goodfeather’s mother walked off and left her and her kind stoner dad when she was just a little girl, but after a mysterious email leads to some serious questions, Dude and her friends realize that her mother might not have willingly abandoned them after all.

The third book in Carrie Jones’s exciting Maine mystery series forces Dude to grapple with the ghosts of her family’s past so that she can finally head towards a hopefully brighter future.

Join New York Times and internationally bestselling author Carrie Jones in the third book of the Dude Mystery Series as it combines the excitement of a thriller with the first-hand immediacy and quirky heroines that Jones is known for.

POSTS AND PODCASTS THIS WEEK

And just to catch up, here are the posts from this week!

My author interview with Tony Quintana on Dogs are Smarter Than People’s bonus edition.

On Write Better Now, we talk about the biggest thing holding back you and your writing.

On Carrie Does Poetry, I read the aptly titled poem, “Mean People Suck.”

This week’s humorous, but yummy recipe was WHIP THAT SEXY FETA, HONEY.

On Dogs are Smarter Than People, we talk about toxic masculinity. Yowza.

And our live podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, we talk about the strange reasons people have called 9-1-1.

POEMS EVERYWHERE!

Over on Medium and my social media, I post motivating daily thoughts from my animals. On Medium (and only on Medium), I post poems that I’ve written (usually) every weekday. You should check it out! And clap or something so I can make $1 over there this month. 🙂

This scandalous photo didn’t make it into the week day motivating thoughts. I was too afraid to post this on Twitter. Plus, so much fur on the blanket.

How About You?

There you go! And how are you doing? Are you hanging in? Being brave? Thinking thoughts? Sharing new things?

Be Brave Friday

It’s Be Brave Friday and I’ve not had the bravest of days, really. That changes now with this post, right?

Here’s a painting on wood (a board from a bookshelf originally from a wonderful woman’s house, which was previously owned by a family of other friends of me).

It’s raw like my feelings right now. It’s a bit haunted like the world right now.

But it’s there–created. And like me, probably not done.

As most of you know, sharing anything I’ve painted is really hard. But I’m all about rewriting those negative scripts and rewriting new ones and cheering each other on while we do. If you are trying, thriving, grieving, becoming, celebrating, evolving? I’m rooting so hard for you, for all of us.

And if you want to support me, please buy one of my books (links above in the BOOKS category) or join my Patreon, it’s really fun! <3

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