TOP SIX REASONS YOU SHOULD DESTROY YOUR WHITEY-TIGHTIE UNDERWEAR

LISTEN UP MEN!!!

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

TOP REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD TOSS THOSE WHITEY-TIGHTIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Wearing a cape doesn’t help either:

Thank you, Mr. Pilkey for the cartoon evidence.

Now, Men. I’m begging you.

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



WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

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

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

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

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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




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Taco Bell Leaks, Rainbow Unicorn Golf Carts and How to Spend Your Book Release Day

What to do when your book launches.

I don’t know. 

Seriously. Some writers get tattoos, a piece of jewelry, a new charm for a charm bracelet. Some hold book release parties. Some go out to dinner. 

As you’ll hear, Carrie did none of those things. Instead, she ran, made a whiny video from the campground shower stall, had a Taco Bell incident, bought Shaun a new outfit, tried to raise money for ShelterBox and finally got a copy of her own book.

Plus, rainbow-unicorn golf carts.

The point here is that you have to create your own life and your own celebrations. Do what feels right to you when you achieve a freaking amazing goal like releasing a book, graduating, sobriety, whatever it is that makes you realize you achieved something.

Writer Tip of the Pod 

Try to make it memorable for you. You did something pretty darn cool. You created something. 

Dog Tip for Life

Don’t forget to be happy. It isn’t all about stress and anxiety all the time. Let go. Wag your tail. 


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, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

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

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

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

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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


Taco Bell Leaks, Rainbow Unicorn Golf Carts and How to Spend Your Book Release Day

 
 
00:00 / 00:21:55
 
1X
 

What Was the Book That Made You a Reader

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I was thinking lately about books that turned people into readers. 

My father-in-law brought back the first Harry Potter from Scotland before it became the big smashing American success. 

My daughter, Em, had just turned four. 

She insisted that we had to read it to her straight, all day, for two days.


She didn’t care about the adverbs that drove her Honors English teacher grandpa crazy. She didn’t care about giant purple dinosaurs on television. She didn’t care about eating. She only cared about Harry. 

The next month she decided to read it again herself. It was pretty amazing watching this tiny little girl reading her first big girl book. It was so heavy in her hands.


Em has always been a reader, a great reader, but I think her joy over that Harry Potter book that came all the way from Scotland is what has probably made her a reader for life. I’ll always be grateful to JK Rowling and Harry and my English-teacher father-in-law for that.

For me that book was either the Wrinkle in Time or The Hobbit or Where the Red Fern Grows

How about you? Was there one book that made you a reader? As a writer, the best moments in my whole damn career are the moments where people write me and say, “I never read a whole book until I read NEED” or “I never wanted to read a whole book until I read NEED.” 

I want all my writer friends to have those moments, too. There is nothing better. 


WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

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

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

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

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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


Grilled Potatoes with Cheese


Print Recipe


Grilled Potatoes With Cheese

This is for one Carrie or four people

Cuisine american, vegetarian

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 75 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes

Servings
Carrie


Ingredients

Cuisine american, vegetarian

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 75 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes

Servings
Carrie


Ingredients


Instructions
  1. Put the grill on high

  2. Cut those potatoes into 12 slices, but don't cut all the way through like a critic's opinion of your new book.

  3. Put those potatoes on a plate and cheat. Think of it as giving yourself a little boost. Drink some wine. Put the potato plate in the microwave and nuke them for five minutes.

  4. Think that your next book should feature potatoes, microwaves, and wine.

  5. Celebrate yourself and your idea.

  6. Get aluminum foil and tear it into four big pieces of awesome. Think of each piece as a happy section of your book. Vow to write your next book in sections as you put a potato on the center of each piece of aluminum foil.

  7. Brush the garlic and butter in between the potato slices. DO NOT THINK OF THESE HOLES AS PLOT HOLES! Do not realize suddenly that there are plot holes in your book that just came out today. There aren't. You are just being neurotic, writer!

  8. Step away from your cell phone. Do not call anyone. Big breaths. Focus on potatoes.

  9. Encase those potatoes in the foil so they are all tightly closed in. Look at that! It's a nicely tight plot. No holes! See? Aren't you glad you didn't call or email or panic or anything?

  10. Cook 30 minutes.

  11. Take the potatoes off the grill. Be careful. Open up the packages and put pieces of cheese in between the slices. Your potato will not adhere to itself like a beautiful book narrative.

  12. Wrap them back up.

  13. Put them back on the grill for another five minutes or so.

  14. Celebrate. You've created something great! Season that greatness if you feel like it.

Your Book Came Out Gluttony Recipe!

Here on Cooking with a Writer, we like to try to inspire the other members of my family to be vegetarians, or at least to eat less meat. We aren’t pushy because we believe in free will and all that, but we do try to lay out the reasons for eating a more plant-based diet.

And then comes the day when that veggie-pusher’s book comes out.

And what did I do?

I ate so many potatoes. SO MANY POTATOES! Like, I’ve lost 40 pounds since March? I ate 40 pounds of potatoes on my book’s birthday.

Print Recipe
Grilled Potatoes With Cheese
This is for one Carrie or four people
Cuisine american, vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 75 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
Carrie
Ingredients
Cuisine american, vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 75 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
Carrie
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Put the grill on high
  2. Cut those potatoes into 12 slices, but don't cut all the way through like a critic's opinion of your new book.
  3. Put those potatoes on a plate and cheat. Think of it as giving yourself a little boost. Drink some wine. Put the potato plate in the microwave and nuke them for five minutes.
  4. Think that your next book should feature potatoes, microwaves, and wine.
  5. Celebrate yourself and your idea.
  6. Get aluminum foil and tear it into four big pieces of awesome. Think of each piece as a happy section of your book. Vow to write your next book in sections as you put a potato on the center of each piece of aluminum foil.
  7. Brush the garlic and butter in between the potato slices. DO NOT THINK OF THESE HOLES AS PLOT HOLES! Do not realize suddenly that there are plot holes in your book that just came out today. There aren't. You are just being neurotic, writer!
  8. Step away from your cell phone. Do not call anyone. Big breaths. Focus on potatoes.
  9. Encase those potatoes in the foil so they are all tightly closed in. Look at that! It's a nicely tight plot. No holes! See? Aren't you glad you didn't call or email or panic or anything?
  10. Cook 30 minutes.
  11. Take the potatoes off the grill. Be careful. Open up the packages and put pieces of cheese in between the slices. Your potato will not adhere to itself like a beautiful book narrative.
  12. Wrap them back up.
  13. Put them back on the grill for another five minutes or so.
  14. Celebrate. You've created something great! Season that greatness if you feel like it.

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

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Join over 96,000 other quirky people who know what a podcast is and download our latest weirdness! Also, please like and subscribe and review it on whatever service you use for podcasts! It’s super good energy to be nice, man.


WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My next book, IN THE WOODS, was born this week!

THIS WEEK!

Gasp!

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

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

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

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

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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

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

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

First Kisses

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

The Story

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

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

The cut is still there, lying beneath.

 He moves his finger from the Band-Aid.

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

 “Okay,” she’d said then.

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

“Okay,” she says.

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

“Sorry, my mom.”

“Yeah, right.”

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

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

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

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

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

Just like grown-ups.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A moan comes from behind it.

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


WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

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

YESTERDAY!

Gasp!

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

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

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

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

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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

Gauntlets, Last Books, and Being Poor Doesn’t Leave You

My book comes out tomorrow. It’s the last book I have under contract and I’m never sure if I’ll sell another one.

That’s a hard truth for me. But I’ve had a pretty amazing run and hopefully it will continue.

Last night I had all these anxiety dreams about picking the wrong test option at school and not being able to find the page that I’m supposed to be on.

It reminded me of this post that I had a couple of years ago about growing up poor, expectations, and helping others.

I grew up poor. 

There’s no getting around that. 

My mom tried really hard to pretend we weren’t poor. She tried to hide it from everyone, including my much older brother and sister who grew up 15 years earlier than me in a much nicer working class reality. But when I came around we were poor. 

My nana stood in food lines to get us commodity cheese because my mom wouldn’t do it herself because she was too ashamed. Credit card companies and collection agencies would call constantly. I was taught early on to lie on the phone when I answered it and say my mom wasn’t home if it wasn’t my sister or one of my aunts calling. 

We didn’t have things our neighbors had

We had a type writer, not a word processor, not a computer. Every time I had to get clothes, I’d feel full of guilt. It didn’t help when one of my older siblings taunted me for my quirky style. Goodwill sometimes makes you have a quirky style. 

In a New York Times article, David Brooks wrote of class structure and how the upper middle class is consciously and subconsciously prevents others from upward economic mobility, writing, 

“Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.

American upper-middle-class culture (where the opportunities are) is now laced with cultural signifiers that are completely illegible unless you happen to have grown up in this class. They play on the normal human fear of humiliation and exclusion. Their chief message is, “You are not welcome here.”

David Brooks

There are class barriers that aren’t just about goods you own and how you show them off, but also certain ways of doing things.

Have you ever had the chance to learn to play golf? Do you listen to NPR? The right podcasts? Which food truck do you frequent? Do you have the middle-class prescribed ‘right attitude’ about things?

Who I am

As a child, we would go to my wealthy uncle and aunt’s house for gatherings with their friends. Their friends were senators and doctors, people who worked for the World Health Organization, people who helped create the measles vaccine, documentary filmmakers who headed AIDS awareness efforts. I remember looking at their fancy clothes and listening to them and being both inspired and terrified. They placed napkins in their laps. They kissed people on both cheeks. They made eye contact when they talked, and they used different forks for different parts of their dinner.

They were all kind to me. That wasn’t it. But I knew that I didn’t know how to play by their rules. 

Learning the rules

I went to a window seat that looked out on Lake Winnipesaukee. There was a bookshelf at the end of the seat and in that bookshelf was an etiquette book full of how to eat at the table, what manners were, how to write ‘thank you cards,’ exchange greetings, and so on.

It was a beautiful summer day. All the other kids were swimming and playing tag. I was reading and memorizing and trying to learn how to be like the others. 

Eventually my Aunt Maxine noticed that I was sitting there, reading. 

“Carrie. What are you doing? Go out and play, Carrie,” she said. She liked to use people’s names a lot. She also was sort of bossy in a nice way. 

I was afraid of bossy, but I also loved my aunt so I said as bravely as possible, “I’m reading.”

“Don’t you want to go swim with the other children? They’re all outside getting sun, having fun.” 

They were. They were splashing around in the water, doing cannonballs off the dock, or perfect dives. They had perfect bathing suits from L.L. Bean and every single one of them seemed to know how to play tennis and were learning golf.

She took the book from me and read the title. After a second, she sat down on the bench next to me. “What are you reading this for, Carrie?” 

And I said, “Because I want to be better.”

“Be better! That’s ridiculous. You’re wonderful as who you are.”

“I want… I want to fit in.” I looked her right in the eyes and she got it. I knew she got it. She understood all the things that I couldn’t figure out how to say. 

She handed me back the book. “I will make a deal with you. You read this for another half hour and I’ll set the kitchen timer. When it goes off, you go play with the other children and get some exercise.” 

Nodding, I thought this was okay. “But I might not finish the book.”

“You can finish it after dinner and games.” She pet me on the top of the head. “I’ll bring you the timer.” 

I was five. 

That book changed my life and so did my aunt and uncle. 

They realized that there was a social code and a way of being that wasn’t easily accessible for me no matter how hard my mom tried. I was a poor kid in a wealthy town. I was a latchkey kid who was awkward and driven and terrified of failure. Paying for acting lessons, to play on the soccer team, to play piano were huge stretches for us. Sometimes they happened. Sometimes they didn’t. 

My aunt and uncle understood my situation and my want because my uncle was the same way. He was the oldest son of a single mom. He pushed himself hard to succeed, to learn the social code of success and wealth. He went to UNH because it was the only place he could afford and he was valedictorian there, desegregating the fraternity system while he was class president. He eventually went to Harvard Law, married Maxine who had so much intellectual stock and prowess, it was just ridiculous. He ended up being the head of an international law association, head of a law firm, chairman of the board of trustees at UNH and so many other things.

Cracking the code With books

My little five-year-old self was trying to do the same things as he did. Somehow. I took the first and only step I could think of taking – reading that book, trying to crack the social codes of behavior that made his friends and him so different from my mom and me. 

I was in college when Uncle Dick was dying. 

We had all gathered for one last Thanksgiving. There were tons of people there, the same kind of brilliant, world-changing people that were there when I was five and when I was ten and when I was 15. My mother and my nana were barely able to sit still because they were so overwhelmed with Dick’s impending death. They’d have to leave the room every time someone mentioned his name. 

During dinner, Maxine called them into his bedroom with her. They stayed for about two minutes and left sobbing. 

“He’s too tired,” Maxine said at the threshold of the hallway that led to those bedrooms. “He needed them to go.”

But then, a minute later, she called for me. “Dick wants to see you, Carrie.”

I remember pointing at my chest. “Me?”

“Yes.”

“He’s not too tired?”

“No,” she said. “Not for you.” 

Not for you

There was a bit of a murmur at the table because Uncle Dick wasn’t really calling for anyone to come see him. He was barely holding on. 

She ushered me into a back bedroom that wasn’t their normal place to sleep. The wooden walls were dark because the shades were drawn. There was only one bedside light on. My uncle was thin and his breathing was so heavy. It seemed like there were a million blankets layered on top of him. 

He met my eyes as I came to his bed and sat on the edge of it, ignoring the chair.

“Everyone sits in the chair,” he rasped out.

“I wanted to be close to you.” I grabbed his hand.

“Nobody wants to be close to death.” 

“You aren’t death. You’re my uncle.” 

We were quiet.

The weight of his hand in mine seemed like nothing and everything all at once. I think he might have fallen asleep, but I sat there thinking about how beautiful he was, how elegant, how he changed systems of injustice one at a time, as best he could, how he taught himself Japanese, how to play the organ, how to be wealthy, how to fit in with an entire class of successful people that he wasn’t born into, and how he and Maxine both tried to lift other people up into that class with them. 

He opened his eyes. “Carrie, I’m throwing down the gauntlet. Will you pick it up?” 

There was only one answer. 

“Yes,” I told him. “Yes.” 

It was the last thing he said to me. He fell asleep again. We left for home. I left for college. And since then, I have spent years trying to figure out how to make my words to my uncle not be a lie. How to meet the challenge of his life so well lived.

And I know I’m not doing enough. This David Brooks article reminds me of that. It’s hard to motivate other people. Sometimes it’s hard to even motivate myself. 

I have a friend who recently said to me, “You do so much volunteering. I don’t. I can’t. I’m a selfish person. I want to make money.” 

And I didn’t know what to say. 

I still don’t. 

What is the gauntlet? It’s inclusion

I have only succeeded as much as I have because people were willing to let me read a book, to be examples of goodness, to give me the opportunity to interact with senators, opera singers, doctors who have saved thousands of lives.

Humiliation and exclusion are not what we should aspire to. Inclusion and praise are not things to be afraid of giving to other people. Enjoying other people’s successes and happiness doesn’t make you any less likely to succeed. 

The gauntlet is about being unafraid and allowing other people into your life, your heart, your communities.

Aunt Maxine and Uncle Dick told me throughout my childhood that intelligence was a privilege I was born with. It could be cultivated and expanded on, but what was the most important thing was finding a way (or many ways) of using that privilege (intelligence, class, race, gender, being physically fit, and so on) and using it to better other people’s lives, your own life, the world, not in a way that makes you a hero but in a way that makes you a friend. 

No more bubbles

Yes, we need to take care of ourselves (thus being selfish), but we also need to not live in bubbles – to see where our language and our rules, our so-called ‘cultural norms’ can be a code that even five-year-olds realize doesn’t include them. 

I don’t know how to fix this, but I know we all have to try. I was so lucky to have an Uncle Dick and Aunt Maxine. Not everyone is. And when you feel excluded because of economic, racial, gender, religious codes? How can you not hurt? 

Rotary International and the Gauntlet

I’ve tried to pick up the gauntlet by being friends, writing books, and I’ve even tried to be a politician. I’ve tried by how I raised my daughter. It doesn’t feel like enough.

Part of why I’m in Rotary International, and even why I decided to be the volunteer Public Image Chair for a huge part of Canada and the United States is because this organization of 1.2 million people is picking up the gauntlet, over and over again. From helping to eradicate polio (one vaccine and one fundraiser at a time) to building a local playground or a creating a book festival, Rotary grabs that gauntlet. The only difference is, they do it together. 

How are you picking up the gauntlet? How do you feel excluded? Included? I’d love to know. 

Being Afraid

Part of why I am so freaked out about this book that comes out tomorrow is because I’m afraid nobody will like it, that nobody will understand the lower middle-class place I write from, that nobody cares about gauntlets. And also because I’m afraid that nobody will buy it and I’ll have to find a new way to earn a living.

Because just like when I was little, I still need to deal with money and economics and how to survive as a writer/artist person in a world where that isn’t the easiest thing.

But also I’m afraid that I won’t ever do enough, that I’m not trying hard enough. Or that it’s like the nightmare I had last night and I picked the wrong test. And I’m running out of time and it’s too late to start over.

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears in July with Steve Wedel. It’s scary. It’s a bit paranormal. It’s a bit 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?

A girl from New York. A farm boy. They’ll come together in this supernatural mystery, connected by whatever’s hiding in the woods. As townsfolk start disappearing and the attacks get ever closer, they must discover the truth before they become targets themselves. Preorder your copy of IN THE WOODS by Maine author Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel today. Preordered copies will be signed by Carrie Jones

bit.ly/jonesinthewoods

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

Paragraph

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. 



Grandmother’s Poems

They are words fading, written in bright blue pen. Ball point.


They are words scrawling across the page, the closer in time they are to me, the messier they become.


They are words about being new, about birds flying across the Ontario sky, the pain and guilt of losing a cat to winter and the streets of Staten Island.


They are words singing upside down and across the paper. 


My father keeps them in his roll top desk and hands them to me in the kitchen where her china sat in shelves on the wall. His hands shake as he passes another journal of words over. I take their case, brown, cracked leather. I open the binding and peer inside at their mystery.


“Your grandmother was a poet,” he says. 


I hold her words in my hands. “I never knew.”


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. It’s a bit paranormal. It’s a bit 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

Paragraph

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. 




Being Extra

So, sometimes Carrie is a little extra.

Carrie: I was looking at people who liked me in college – all the ones that I didn’t like back – and they were all so stable and mellow even in college when it was all about putting dissected sharks on the floor and jello shots. Now they are all grown up and they are stable and mellow and have these beautiful upscale lives. They’re doctors, lawyers, engineers.

Shaun: But you have me.

Carrie: Exactly! And I love you. I love that you are unexpected and funny and occasionally dangerous.

What does this have to do with writing?

Carrie has a new book coming out. It’s called IN THE WOODS. She’s being a little extra about it. She is a little extra about everything.

What exactly is extra? Performingfartist says, “Doing the absolute damn most. For no reason.”

Writing is supposed to be extra. It’s supposed to be big and important even for the quiet books, even for the books nobody notices. It’s all about pouring your heart into it. It’s all about this damn quote right here:

Life is very short and what we have to do must be done in the now.

Audre Lorde

Also, we should add that “extra” like a lot of great words and terms originated in AAVE.

When people call you extra, it’s mocking a bit, but it’s also loving a bit. You’re living large. Extra was a super popular term in 2015 and inspired a lot of memes, but it hasn’t gone away yet.

Salt Bae is a perfect example of the beauty of being extra.

I hope the term never goes away. Because being extra means you’re all in. You aren’t mellow. You aren’t boring. You take risks. You embrace your loves and who you are and what you do.

Writing Tip of the Pod:

Be extra! Shouldn’t you want to be as big as possible, as enthusiastic as possible, as all-in as possible when you create.

Dog Tip for Life :

Go all in. Be authentic. Being extra might involve a fake limp to get some love? Whatever. Be authentic in your need if not your limp.


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. It’s a bit paranormal. It’s a bit 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

Paragraph

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. 




Being Extra

 
 
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1X
 

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.