Because (a poem)

Carrie Does Poems
Carrie Does Poems
Because (a poem)
/

Because she’s not some drugged up doper or anything like that, but shivers have taken control of her whole entire body because it’s cold, cold, cold in Bar Harbor, Maine and it isn’t even winter yet.

Because she’s huddled behind the dumpster outside of Geddy’s. There’s a giant lobster claw at the front part of the restaurant and a massive moose on top of the ceiling because that’s what gets the tourists. Fake moose. Broiled monster lobster claws, red with death and sprinkled with white Christmas lights.

Because it gets to be too much, huddling there against the cold and the sun’s rising over the Porcupine Islands, so she gets up. She gets up and she heads out to the wharf where all the lobstermen tie up their skiffs, so they can get out to their moorings. The wharf’s not much of anything really, just a lot of pilings holding up a parking lot and then there’s some docks holding the skiffs. WE get

Because she runs out there because sometimes no matter how cold you are, running makes you warmer.  It only works until you stop, though. When you stop running, the sweat against your skin turns you even colder. That’s why she usually don’t stop running.

Because she does today. She does today because today she is cold, cold, cold all the way into her capillaries. Today she is cold, cold, cold all the way into the roots of her teeth.

Because it’s not winter.

Because it will only get colder.


Hey, thanks for listening to Carrie Does Poems. These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in Carrie, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Eric Van der Westen and the track is called “A Feather” and off the album The Crown Lobster Trilogy.

While Carrie only posts poems weekly here, she has them (in written form) almost every other weekday over on Medium. You should check it out!

https://freemusicarchive.org/music/eric-van-der-westen/the-crown-lobster-trilogy-selection

Strange Ancient Coming of Age Rituals

Loving the Strange
Loving the Strange
Strange Ancient Coming of Age Rituals
/

Everyone, the podcast kind of sucked this week, because Carrie was all a-flutter, but here it is.

LINKS REFERENCED

https://listverse.com/2019/02/22/10-ancient-coming-of-age-rituals/

https://www.roughguides.com/articles/in-pictures-the-worlds-most-unusual-ancient-rituals/

https://www.intimina.com/blog/period-parties/

https://list25.com/25-insane-coming-of-age-ceremonies-and-traditions/

Fill Your Setting With Farts

Write Better Now
Write Better Now
Fill Your Setting With Farts
/

Hi, welcome to Write Better Now, a podcast of quick, weekly writing tips meant to help you become a better writer. We’re your hosts with NYT bestselling author Carrie Jones and copyeditor extraordinaire Shaun Farrar. Thank you for joining us.


A quick ramble about setting.

Writers, you need it. You might not want it. You might not be good at it, but setting is like a good fart. Sometimes you have to expel a little gas out of your rectum in order to be your best.

Similarly, you want to have some setting in your story to make that story be its best.

If you are a pretentious writer, you might want to say, “I want readers to be able to imagine the story is in their town or city or part of the world,” but that’s not going to work at all.

Just by defining a tree you are telling the reader something about the setting.

Like if you write:

She stared up at the palm tree.

You’re giving the reader clues. A palm tree will not be in Iceland. They are somewhere comparatively warm.

If you write:

She got out of bed.

You’re giving the reader a clue that she is wealthy enough to have a bed and in a culture or world where people sleep in beds.

And the thing is that clues are needed. Specific clues. Real clues. Without a setting, without a place where the story happens and a time where the story happens, the reader floats there in the sky, ungrounded, unanchored.

And you know what happens when a reader floats in the sky? The reader drifts away. So you want to fart in some specific setting to help the reader sniff out and remember where they are.

Being specific anchors the reader. It ties them to your story and its characters. You will remember a fart that smells like eggs mixed with tuna mixed with a McDonald’s french-fry. So be specific.

More than that though? Setting anchors your characters and your plot. Place makes us (and our characters) who they are. It gives a story atmosphere. It gives the character a world to interact with.

Think of a creepy Stephen King novel. It’s creepy because he takes certain aspects of Maine and creepifies them. Think of Crazy Rich Asians or The Bridgerton novels. They are luxurious because of the places where they take place AND the places where they take place help inform the novels.

A rabid dog cornering you in a car isn’t as scary when you are in Boston. That’s because there are a ton of cops there and animal control officers, unlike a small town in Maine. 

Meeting a super-wealthy potential mother-in-law in her mansion isn’t as scary when she’s just the mom next door in her split-level.

You want to anchor your readers in that setting every time it changes. So, yes, you’ll want to fart out that setting multiple times in your story. You can have a big city for your story—Bar Harbor, Maine—and a smaller setting—Carrie’s office. And once you show us readers where we are, you want to make sure to slowly reveal aspects of setting rather than shoving it all down our throats at once in the first paragraph. Too much gas at once often pushes the modern reader far, far away, holding their noses and writing reviews that say, “THIS STINKS!”

There is a balance here.

To recap:

Setting is like a fart. Even if you don’t like to write it, it has to happen.

Without setting, your readers float away or are just in the dark, confused, lost, untethered.

Setting is important for the characters in your story. It gives them something to play off of, interact with, it informs who they are, it shows who they are, it creates who they are (I am currently a woman of the comma splice), and it gives your story atmosphere.

Ground your characters whenever the setting changes.

Reveal that setting slowly.


Hey, thanks for listening to Write Better Now.

These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in us, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Mr.ruiz and the track is Arctic Air and the album is Winter Haze Summer Daze.

For exclusive paid content, check out Carrie’s substack, LIVING HAPPY and WRITE BETTER NOW. It’s basically like a blog, but better.

Myths About Presidents

Carrie Does Poems
Carrie Does Poems
Myths About Presidents
/

Myths About Presidents

26.

He didn’t

Ride

A moose.

The photo is fake

Like a lot

Of presidential

things.


16.

He dreamt

His death,

Found himself

Waking in a coffin

And asked who

Was dead

In the White

House.

Dream mourners said,

“The president.”

He denied the dream.

Nobody listened.

The story was too good.


9.

He stood

At the podium,

Sworn in

And speechifying

For 8,445 words

In the cold

Of March.

He died

A month later

Of pneumonia

Linked to

His pontification

It was actually bad water

At the White House.

He’d been drinking shit.


1.

His teeth were made of wood.

But really they were just so old

And stained they looked that way.


27.

He did not get stuck in the tub and need

Six men to yank and yank and yank him free.


35

He didn’t call himself

A jelly donut in German.


45.

His toilet

Is not

Gold.

He is not

Christ. Or

Even the

Opposite.


46.

He is

Poor.


1.

He apparently

Could not

Tell

A lie

Unlike

All the others

Who could

Not

Tell

The truth.


Hey, thanks for listening to Carrie Does Poems. These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in Carrie, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Eric Van der Westen and the track is called “A Feather” and off the album The Crown Lobster Trilogy.

While Carrie only posts poems weekly here, she has them (in written form) almost every other weekday over on Medium. You should check it out!

https://freemusicarchive.org/music/eric-van-der-westen/the-crown-lobster-trilogy-selection

Weird Parenting Things

This week we talk about weird things parents used to do and still do, and ended up talking a lot about getting smacked. But funny stuff, too. I promise!

Sources

https://www.purewow.com/family/parenting-trends

https://www.parent.com/blogs/conversations/8-vintage-parenting-trends-that-boggle-the-mind

https://www.babygaga.com/15-millennial-parenting-trends-that-seem-new-but-are-actually-from-the-past/

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/parenting/g4223/weird-parenting-trends-100-years/

https://www.buzzfeed.com/kristatorres/weird-parenting-hacks

Show More Details, Writers

Write Better Now
Write Better Now
Show More Details, Writers
/

Showing details in your writing isn’t just some annoying comment that agents, editors, and writing coaches and teachers paste into every student’s work.

You can see it now, right?

Big red letters. Loopy script. Maybe an exclamation point:

SHOW MORE DETAILS!

Every writing person ever

We do this not to be annoying (well, most of us), but because it’s important.

The thoughtco article by Richard Nordquist says it well.

Specific details create word pictures that can make your writing easier to understand and more interesting to read.”

And we want readers to understand the world that we’re building on the page and be interested in it.

As Stephen Wilbers says,

“You are more likely to make a definite impression on your reader if you use specific, rather than abstract, words. Rather than ‘We were affected by the news,’ write ‘We were relieved by the news’ or ‘We were devastated by the news.’ Use words that convey precisely and vividly what you are thinking or feeling. Compare ‘Cutting down all those beautiful old trees really changed the appearance of the landscape’ with ‘In two weeks, the loggers transformed a ten thousand-acre forest of old growth red and white pine into a field of ruts and stubble.’

Here, take this example:

The man’s face was happy.

Can you think of ways to make that more specific?

A smile slowly formed on Shaun’s ruddy face, lifting the corners of his eyes with the movement.

There’s a difference there, right?

There’s a great quick MasterClass blog post that tells writers four ways to add those concrete details to our narratives.

They include:

  1. Making the initial sentence abstract and the remainder of the sentences in a paragraph concrete. I’m not into this really.
  2. Use the senses—hearing, sight, touch, smell, taste. Let the reader smell diesel if the scene is on the side of the highway, taste the bitter coffee in the coffee shop, etc.
  3. Be super specific and concrete like I just mentioned.
  4. Remember to describe people and setting and action in a way that your reader can imagine. Don’t just say, “He sat under a tree.” Say, “He folded his legs beneath him, leaning on the gnarled trunk of the willow, its bark rough against the skin of his back, the tendrils flitting down—a perfect place to rest or maybe to hide.”

SOME LINKS

Nordquist, Richard. “Specificity in Writing.” ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/specificity-words-1691983.

Nordquist, Richard. (2020, August 28). Exercise in Writing With Specific Details. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/exercise-in-writing-with-specific-details-1692404

https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-use-concrete-details-to-enhance-your-writing#quiz-0


Hey, thanks for listening to Write Better Now.

These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in us, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Mr.ruiz and the track is Arctic Air and the album is Winter Haze Summer Daze.

For exclusive paid content, check out Carrie’s substack, LIVING HAPPY and WRITE BETTER NOW. It’s basically like a blog, but better.

You are so biased so how do you stop it

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
You are so biased so how do you stop it
/

There’s this guy named Sid who wrote about cognitive biases over on Medium. Sid got me thinking about all the ways we make decisions based on wrong assumptions or biases.

He lays out ten, right?

And I just wanted to talk about the first two this week and maybe make this a series.

Why?

Well, because as Sid says, “Being aware of our cognitive biases helps to recognize their power in shaping our thoughts, opinions, attitudes and the decisions we make. Let’s check out these effects by analyzing ten cognitive biases that shape our world today.”

So, those first two are:

The Availability Heuristic

The Affect Heuristic.

Let’s start with the first one.

The availability heuristic

 According to the Decision Lab, the availability heuristic is a bias that “describes our tendency to use information that comes to mind quickly and easily when making decisions about the future.”

It’s basically memorable moments that are made influence our decisions in ways that they shouldn’t.

The decision lab has a great example.

“Imagine you are considering either John or Jane, two employees at your company, for a promotion. Both have a steady employment record, though Jane has been the highest performer in her department during her tenure. However, in Jane’s first year, she unwittingly deleted a company project when her computer crashed. The vivid memory of having lost that project likely weighs more heavily on the decision to promote Jane than it should. This is due to the availability heuristic, which suggests that singular memorable moments have an outsized influence on decisions.”

And this sucks because bad memories are easier to remember than good ones. And that means we aren’t making our decisions logically.

This happens because our brains need shortcuts. We like shortcuts because it’s less energy. So we recall the strongest facts, the most biggest memories.

The first step to avoid this bias is to know it exists, right, and maybe have a baby pause before we make our decision and think about why we’re making it.

The Affect Heuristic

According to the verywellmind,

“The affect heuristic is a type of mental shortcut in which people make decisions that are heavily influenced by their current emotions.1 Essentially, your affect (a psychological term for emotional response) plays a critical role in the choices and decisions you make.”

It’s another shortcut. And it’s about how good or bad something or someone feels.

They give this example:

“Imagine a situation in which two children arrive at a local park to play. One child has spent a lot of time playing on swings at a neighbor’s house, so he has nothing but positive feelings when he sees the swing set at the park. He immediately makes the decision that the swings will be fun (high benefit, low risk) and runs to play on the swings.

“The other child, however, recently had a negative experience while playing on the swings at a friend’s house. When he sees the swings at the park, he draws on this recent negative memory and decides that the swings are a bad choice (low benefit, high risk).”

Basically, we aren’t relying on facts to make choices; we’re relying on emotions. Politicians and retailers know this and use fear to influence decisions because fear is a really strong emotion.

Jerks, but clever jerks.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE


Don’t just always make automatic decisions. Pause. Sniff. Figure out where those decisions are coming from.

RANDOM THOUGHTS ABOUT PYTHAGORAS


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 “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

Here’s the link.

best writing podcast WRITE BETTER NOW
Write Better Now – Writing Tips podcast for authors and writers
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird
best poetry podcast by poet
Carrie Does Poems

Holes and Vettes

Carrie Does Poems
Carrie Does Poems
Holes and Vettes
/

Hi! This year (2022), I’ve decided to share a poem on my blog and podcast and read it aloud. It’s all a part of my quest to be brave and apparently the things that I’m scared about still include:

  1. My spoken voice
  2. My raw poems.

Thanks for being here with me and cheering me on, and I hope that you can become braver this year, too!


Holes and Vettes

Bar Harbor. Maine. 2022. A baseball field. 
Corvettes line up in rows, engines still
For once and owners preening 
From their folding chairs, legs poking 
Into the same grass that supports Life 
Flight helicopters in emergencies
And soccer cleats. This earth withstands so much.

It’s a yearly gathering that’s paused two years
Thanks to global disease, but now the drivers 
Are all maskless and showing off 
Their cars to locals who wander 
Between the lines, marveling. 

“I will never be rich enough
To own one,” says a man 
in a black t-shirt to a guy 
with a firebird red model. 

“I thought that too,” 
The guy says. “Work hard. 
You’ll get there.” 

The first man moves to run
A finger across the car’s hood. 
The owner flinches like it’s some kind of assault. 
“Try hard,” he repeats. “You’ll get there." 

We all try hard 
To get there,
Inventing monologues
Of worth based on materialism, 
Who owns what, how shiny
Our skins are, our hair, our cars,
Houses. We pretend like any of this
Fills up the holes we dig inside ourselves,
Inside the ozone, inside the earth. 

Darkening faces,
Double visions. Horror. 
The Vettes represent adventure 
And freedom. Not being beholden
Despite the car loans required,
The interest rates. The American Debt. 

“There are eight 
Generations of car here,” 
Says an organizer
With a yellow sunhat 
Perched on her head. 
“This is the car of dreams.”
 
American Dreams.
And that’s the thing.
Have you ever hit your head
On a poem or a wall
Or something else hard
And realized that your dreams
Aren’t actually yours? 

Have you ever felt like you’re falling
Though you are standing still on a field
Surrounded by excess and shiny paint
Jobs and pride, merciless, assaulting, 
And begged for stable ground
Before realizing you’re just making holes, too.
Maybe the holes are in a ball field, 
Or in the Earth or the ozone
Or maybe—just maybe—in your own damn heart. 


Hey, thanks for listening to Carrie Does Poems. These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in Carrie, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Eric Van der Westen and the track is called “A Feather” and off the album The Crown Lobster Trilogy.

While Carrie only posts poems weekly here, she has them (in written form) almost every other weekday over on Medium. You should check it out!

https://freemusicarchive.org/music/eric-van-der-westen/the-crown-lobster-trilogy-selection

A Quick Overview About Point of View

Write Better Now
Write Better Now
A Quick Overview About Point of View
/

First, we should define point of view just in case you need a refresher. Truth is, we all often need a refresher even when we don’t want to admit it.

Point of view is all about who is talking and/or telling the story.

YOUR NEXT QUESTION IS:

Is There One Narrator Or Many? And who the heck is it?

That’s really one of the first questions you want to think about. You have to decide if you’re going to have just one point of view in your story or a lot.

A lot of our stories follow one character scene after scene after scene. Things that happen to the story happen to this character. We are invested in that character pretty heavily.

But sometimes, the story is about a person one but not told by that same person. This makes us a little more  worried that Person One might not make it through the story because our subconscious brain thinks, “Um, why isn’t Person One telling the story? DO THEY DIE?!?!”

Or sometimes the events of the story happen to a ton of people. Think of that zombie story that became a movie. We have a lot of different narrators because there we want to show all their stories.

Then, you have to decide which of the main point of views you want to use. They all have good points and bad points, but let’s just set you up with the big three. Each can be determined by the personal pronouns that the narrator uses.

First-Person Point of View.

This is the land of I. It’s all about me. It’s all about my story.

Here’s an example.

I went to the hospital and brought pizza.

Second-Person Point of View.

This is all about you, you, you. Yes, you.

You went to the hospital and brought pizza.

Or to some cooler

You went to the hospital, bringing pizza with you.

Third-Person Point of View

This is all about them and her and him. It can be omniscient or limited omniscient.

Here’s third person limited

Sadie went to the hospital. “I’m bringing pizza,” she thought. I hope they like it.

Or third person omniscient where you aren’t directly in the characters’ heads with internal monologue but know everything about everyone.

Sadie went to the hospital, a pizza box carried in her steady arms, the smell of pepperoni whisking around each person she passed, the orderly, the struggling father, the mother with the heroin-track arms, the gunman. He would kill for that pizza, but how could she know that? To be fair, right now he’d kill for anything and nothing.

There you go! There is also a Fourth Person Point of View, but that one would require its own podcast. So we’ll try to get there next week.


Hey, thanks for listening to Write Better Now.

These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in us, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Mr.ruiz and the track is Arctic Air and the album is Winter Haze Summer Daze.

For exclusive paid content, check out Carrie’s substack, LIVING HAPPY and WRITE BETTER NOW. It’s basically like a blog, but better.

King Kong Trolls

Carrie Does Poems
Carrie Does Poems
King Kong Trolls
/

Hi! This year (2022), I’ve decided to share a poem on my blog and podcast and read it aloud. It’s all a part of my quest to be brave and apparently the things that I’m scared about still include:

  1. My spoken voice
  2. My raw poems.

Thanks for being here with me and cheering me on, and I hope that you can become braver this year, too!

King Kong Trolls

The self-appointed 
writer-guru 
on Substack
with four-
thousand 
devotees
to his biweekly 
missives
has decided 
there are 
no 
more 
geniuses,
really,
not any
more.

Someone
needs 
to tell him
that he 
just doesn’t 
know

where to look.

The geniuses
aren’t banging 
their chests,
King-Kong like
in their glory
despite being
ground dwellers,
telling the world,
“Look at me! Look
at me as I roar
and pontificate.”

They are the 
discarded, 
dreaming,
creating, 
thinking
outside 
the main

streams
of 
plagiarized
discourse, 
unnoticed 
beneath
the giant
feet of 
oversized
apes 
capturing
all the attention 
as our culture
dangles 
from 
their
plump, 
hairy 
digits. 


Hey, thanks for listening to Carrie Does Poems. These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in Carrie, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Eric Van der Westen and the track is called “A Feather” and off the album The Crown Lobster Trilogy.

While Carrie only posts poems weekly here, she has them (in written form) almost every other weekday over on Medium. You should check it out!

https://freemusicarchive.org/music/eric-van-der-westen/the-crown-lobster-trilogy-selection

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