My Mom’s Eulogy

I have a weird fear of June. It’s because one of my dad’s died in June, my first cat died in June, one of my grandmothers died in June and my mom died in June. To me June equals death even as summer blossoms and becomes abundant.

I go through the month holding my breath, waiting for something terrible to happen instead of rejoicing in the fact that I am still here, that so many of us are still here. Birds grace the boughs of trees. Seedlings break through the dirt stretching for light. Dogs rejoice in walks. June is beautiful.

But I’m super imperfect and I tend to go back around to death again. And to remember my mom, I’m going to put the eulogy I wrote for her here. I miss her terribly much.

Eulogy Of BEtty Morse, MY Mom.

Our mom, Betty, was propped up in a hospital bed in Manchester, NH just about a week ago today, and if she saw herself then she would have had a fit. Believe me. She didn’t like to be out of the house if her hair wasn’t combed or her lipstick wasn’t perfectly applied. I can not begin to tell you how many times I sat in her car, waiting to go to the grocery store, the library, a birthday party or even the dump and counted the seconds while she reapplied her lipstick in that painstaking way that mothers have.  Let’s just say that she took her time, and I was a very impatient kid. But there was a reason she wanted to put that lipstick on: She wanted to make sure she looked beautiful.

And in the hospital last week, ravaged from illness, with her heart trying so hard to beat, with her lungs trying so hard to breathe, my mother wouldn’t have thought she was beautiful. But she was.

She sat up in that hospital bed and Bruce and Debbie used a plastic spoon to feed her some chocolate and vanilla ice cream from a tiny Styrofoam cup. The moment that first spoonful of ice cream hit her lips, our mother, with her eyes closed and her heart failing, broke into a smile that lit up her entire face with a joy so sheer and absolute that it brought tears to everyone’s eyes.       She was beautiful.     She was always beautiful, but that beauty didn’t come from her lipstick, or even from her smile. That beauty came from her soul. That beauty came from her love.

Our mother was an expert in love. “I love you with every ounce of my being,” she would write on birthday cards, Easter cards, those little tags that go on Christmas presents and emails.

And proud? She was brilliant at proud. Every grandchild was a trophy to her – shiny and gleaming full of light and importance. She polished them with her love and words and pride in their deeds. Keith, her firefighting hero boy, her handy man, the first of her grandbabies. Kevin, the one she thought looked the most like her – so smart and now a hero boy police officer who helped bring her the great grandbabies that she thought were so beautiful. Kayla. She would tell me sooo many soccer stories about Kayla but her favorite story was how when Kayla was in first grade or something like that she learned sign language because a little girl in her grade didn’t have anyone to talk to. She was so proud of Kayla’s kindness and intelligence. Brooks, the grandson who made her laugh with his quick wit and indomitable spirit and zest for life that matched her own. She was always hugging on him when he was a baby, and when he was a toddler, and talking about how neat he was. And Emily, the youngest of them, who she saw the moment she was born and declared, “She’s so smart. Look at her eyes. She’s taking everything in. Oh… she’s so beautiful. She looks like a Morse.”  Nana was so proud of you, Em, proud of the love you gave her, your goofiness, and your accomplishments.

My mom’s pride didn’t just extend to her grandchildren. She was so proud of her children and friends as well. I remember one day after one of the 80,000 holiday or birthday parties that Debbie hosted so effortlessly, I got in the car with my mom and she started to tear up. She was always tearing up. Deb and Bruce take after her. We are weepy sort of people given to strong love, strong sorrow, and strong joy.

Anyways, I asked her why she was crying. I was probably impatient about it again, but she said, “I am just so proud of my Debbie. She works so hard. She is so good. She is such a good mother.” It was her highest praise. And then she wiped away her tears and reapplied her lipstick.

She recognized the beauty in Debbie and rejoiced in it so much it made her cry like she’d just read a Hallmark card with the word love in it.

One time we were at a wedding and Bruce was in the wedding party and these women in the pew behind us were gossiping about the gorgeous usher with the dimples and my mom turned around and proudly announced to those women, “That’s my son! He has my dimples.”

“He’s so handsome,” the girls said.

“He has a kind heart,” my mom said. “He has a beautiful heart. And beautiful dimples.”

My mom loved deeply and without reservation. She loved her friends, so many of them are here today. Thank you for being here Mel and Steve and Marie and Clem. Two of you both claim to be my mom’s first boyfriend. I’ll let you fight that out amongst yourselves.


My mom also loved her husbands. Her first love and her second husband was my stepdad John, and their love was a beautiful forever thing. Her funeral is exactly 29 years after his on the same date. There’s a symmetry in that, and a beauty to their love. But what really shows how remarkable she is was her relationship with my dad, Lew. They chatted and gossiped pretty much daily, even though they were divorced for decades and decades, they were supporting each other constantly even until the very last days of her life. Once, they came to visit me in Maine and people compared them to the Costanzas on Seinfeld. They talked simultaneously, teasing each other constantly, voices getting louder and louder. When I said they were divorced, people wouldn’t believe me because the link between them was so strong. Their friendship was a forever thing.

My mom was born 77 years ago to a brilliant woman and a talented man, grew up with two brothers that she loved and was proud to call siblings. She was a wife, a homemaker, an office manager, a Welcome Wagon Lady, a town employee, a real estate broker, and then worked for the Bedford school system. But those are just titles, just occupations. Those aren’t about her soul. She could slam doors with great passion for her small frame. She could laugh hysterically over things as silly as saying ‘in bed’ after you read a fortune cookie. When she got mad she would yell, ‘sugar diabetes,’ the disease that would eventually take her body. She would gossip with her friends about the results on Dancing with the Stars and argue her political opinions without reservation. She was a firecracker and a charmer, spunky and sweet, funny and intelligent, and always, always interested in people’s stories.

It is hard to watch someone dying and in the time that Emily and I spent with my mom I noticed something interesting in her murmurings. She called a lot for her brother Richard who she adored. She often said with her eyes closed, “I see you Richard. Richard. Richard, is it okay?”

I imagine he told her that it was okay. I imagine that he took her hand and then gave her a hug, the way she would have hugged anyone at anytime. My mother was the kind of person who hugged her children and grandchildren for ages. We would call it entering the hug-off with Nana and joke that she never let go first.  My mother didn’t let go of people, not of her dear friends, not of her family members. No matter what we did, she held on to us, was proud of us, listened to our stories of joy and pain and goofiness. She hugged you as long as she could physically, and when she couldn’t hug you with her arms any more, she hugged you with her head, loving you no matter how many miles were between you and her.

Her hugs lasted forever. Her love was that way, too.

But one of the other things my mother yelled when she was dying was a little bit different. She yelled for toast. Honestly, she hollered for toast like it was a long lost love. “TOAST! TOAST! TOAST!” And when she got it and took a bite she whispered to me, “So good. Do you want some?”

And it is such a goofy thing, and so sweet, and in a way encapsulates a major aspect of her personality. She liked to feed people toast and roast chicken and chocolate chip cookies and Boston Cream Pie. She liked to give sustenance. She liked to give.  Whether it was food or love or hugs or an ear, my mother was a giver.

We can all learn from a life like that, a life where one woman created a web of love that connects very different people and friends across space and time. It was a life where love trumped all, a life where helping friends and family ruled, where it was important to  listen to the stories of children as they went into a dance studio or teachers calling on the phone asking for subs,  where it was natural for her to smile at nurses and doctors no matter how much pain she was in, a life where she wanted so badly to know everything that went on in the lives of her loved ones because she cared so very much.

And we care about you Mom. And we were proud of you. And you were and are very loved.

So off you go Mom, off you go, holding the hands of the people you have loved you, with those of us who still love you, waving goodbye, singing you songs, telling you stories, making more stories for you to enjoy from your perch in Heaven and eating lots of toast and Boston Cream Pie and chocolate chip cookies in your honor. May the wings of the angels wrap you up as one of their own and may we all live our lives as you did – with love and pride and beauty.

* I totally stole the ‘off you go’ line from Kevin Costner.


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

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Last week’s episode  (x2) about archetypes and falling out of cars.

Last week’s episode about archetypes and if your sex life was a hashtag. Cough.

Last week’s bonus episode with a former Mainer and current super mom.

COME WRITE WITH ME! 

I coach, have a class, and edit things. Find out more here. 


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.

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Be Brave Friday

Someone very kind won something from someone else very kind and gave it to my dogs just because I post picture of those dogs here on weekdays.

And that kindness?

That need to help, to grow, to help others, to lift each other up and recognize it when good happens? I

t’s not schmaltzy. It’s brave. It’s beautiful. It’s love. And it’s how us humans are meant to be.

I am so grateful to Jack Russell and Megan Smith and to all of you cool humans who are so kind to me and who try to grow, evolve, love, encourage and change.

Here’s my painting from today. Love to all of you.

Brave towards mountains

WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Join the 235,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


This week’s episode about archetypes and if your sex life was a hashtag. Cough.

This week’s bonus episode with Vivian Garcia Rodriguez about cosplay, book boyfriends, and being brave enough to get rid of people who hurt you.


COME WRITE WITH ME! 

I coach, have a class, and edit things. Find out more here.


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.

Writing Tip Wednesday: Finding Your Big Wonder

The Big Wonder

So, stories tend to need that internal motivator/quest/motivation to keep their plot chugging forward and to keep the reader engaged. As you know, I talk about desire lines way too much, which are all about the emotional through-line for the characters in our stories, but another way to think about the internal motivation is to think of it as the Big Wonder or Big Question. 

Tom French calls this the engine of the story. And it’s these questions that make the readers keep reading.

In a mystery, it’s obvious: Who did it?

In a thriller, it’s usually: Will they survive?

In a romance, it’s often: Will they bang and will they bang forever?

Or it can be a how question. How will Captain America stop Hydra because you know he will.

How will the people in those 50 Shades books hook up now because you know they will. 

Those essential plot questions keep us reading and going because humans like answers. We like winners and losers and to know things in definite ways. That’s why sports are so popular. Almost always, one team loses or one person wins. 

But back to stories. 

When you are writing, not only do you have the big plot, you oftten have subplots and their questions, which are like the baby engines that keep the story edging forward. They are like back-up generators, I guess. I’m not the best with mechanical allusions, honestly. Sorry! 

In each subplot, there has to be something important at stake. If you have a book, divided by two narrators of equal importance, they each need to have a question that happens in their story and a stake. 

So, a good thing to do is to look at your story that you’re working on and ask yourself: 

Is there a big question going on right here? 

Is the answer super obvious? 

If the answer is super obvious, will the how of what happens be a wee bit less super obvious? 

If you have subplots, do those have questions, too? 

Good luck writing, writers! 

And if you think about your life, does it have those big wonders? Are you moving towards the things that motivate you? Do you already hold them in your hands? Do they shine through everything you do? You’re the hero of your own story so make sure that you’re going towards those big wonders, too.


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Join the 233,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.

Last week’s episode.

Last week’s bonus episode with Anne Marie Pace, author of Vampirina Ballerina.

COME WRITE WITH ME! 

I coach, have a class, and edit things. 


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.

Are You a Misfit? What’s Your Archetype, Baby?

Are You a Misfit? What’s Your Archetype, Baby?

 
 
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The Misfits and the Mavericks

A lot of writers use archetypes in their stories. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we’re doing it, actually.

There’s something really compelling about the heroes that don’t quite fit in especially the mavericks. The Huck Finns and Han Solos of the world and/or universe. 

For whatever reason, the mavericks have turned away from civilization. Maybe it’s to find out what happened to their missing mom. Maybe it’s because their own elite family oppressed them and their quirks. Maybe it’s because they are doing a Thoreau and they wanted to see what it was like to be Spartan and nonconformist in a society that stresses conformity above all else.

Literary critic, Northrop Frye wrote about mavericks as heroes in novels in the U.S. and said,

“Placed outside the structure of civilization and therefore represents the force of physical nature, amoral or ruthless, yet with a sense of power, and often leadership, that society has impoverished itself by rejecting.” 

Northrop Frye

To conform or to not conform has often been the question. Apologies to Shakespeare. And it’s been a question both in American society and in its books, right? 

How the main character fits into mainstream society is often the subject of some really good and compelling books like Gone With the Wind or To Kill a Mockingbird. They reject conforming. They strike out on their own. 

The maverick is a character archtype. 

Here’s the definition of an archetype from studiobinder.com

“An archetype is a consistent and typical version of a particular thing. It can be human, an object, or a particular set of behaviors, but the point is that it fits into a time-tested mold that embodies a pure form.”

studiobinder.com

Anyways, though that site is about scriptwriting, I think it has a lot of great information about writing characters.

It asks: 

“Why do character archetypes exist?

“Human beings tend to find their place within a group dynamic based around their strongest personality traits.

“You may have a group of friends with similar interests…

“But often one will be the “social butterfly” while another will be the “homebody.”

“Your friends will begin to identify each other by these consistent traits.  

“You’ve now defined yourself by a character archetype.”

studiobinder.com again.

The maverick archetype is obviously one of many, but what of their key motivations is the act of self-preservation. They break the rules to get their goals. Brave. Competent. Sometimes a bit snippy. Their temper is a bit fiery. 

That pull between convention and autonomy has the possibility of making a story truly stick out as something extraordinarily special. Don’t be afraid to lean into it. 

I (Carrie) am not a fan of Gone With The Wind because I couldn’t stand Scarlett and the racial tones that happen throughout, but the characters are iconic and are a good reference point for us writers when we think about maverick characters. 

Are you a maverick? Do you write them?  What’s your archetype? We’ll be looking at different ones the next few months. It’s fun.


Writing Tip of the Pod: 

Don’t make all your characters mavericks, but don’t avoid them either. Have you mixed up the archetypes in your story? 

Dog Tip For Life: 

It’s okay to cultivate your own inner maverick. 

Dog Tweets of Love
Dog Tweets of Love: Gabby and Sparty. Sparty is food focused. We’re sure you can’t tell.

WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Join the 230,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.

Last week’s episode.

This week’s episode link if you can’t see it above.


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.

Dog Inspiration

Every weekday, our dogs have inspirational or motivating tweets on Carrie’s Twitter. Go check it out and be her Twitter friend.


COME WRITE WITH Carrie! 

I coach, have a class, and edit things for you. It’s super fun. I promise.

Eyebrows and Taking Chances

A long time ago, I got new eyebrows.  That’s right. I did the eyebrow shaping thing. If you know me in real life, you will realize that this is stunning news. I’m going to write about that eyebrow event today. 

And yes, I could post something intelligent about the anti-multiple plot point aesthetic in young adult novels, or how discontinuities and detours excite me, but noooo ….

It’s all about eyebrows and taking chances. I have a really hard time doing certain things:

  1. Sitting still
  2. Looking at myself in the mirror.
  3. Spending money on myself.

    Let me tell you, this was a big-deal thing for me at the time because you have to sit still while professionals pluck your eyebrows and they do it in front of a mirror and they charge you, so grooming my eyebrows was hitting all those three things. In good news? I look A LOT better with new eyebrows. 
    And it DID NOT HURT.

    The nice eyebrow professional lady smiled at me as I checked out her lovely eyebrows and avoided looking in the giant mirror.

    I said, “I do not want old lady non-existent eyebrows. I do not want penciled-in eyebrows. Please do not do that to me.”
    She said, “I hate those.”

I whimpered. 

“It’ll be okay,” she said.
“Is it going to hurt?” I asked.

She nodded. “Probably.”

Then she put the goop on and yanked and it was SO ABSOLUTELY FINE! 
“That didn’t hurt,” I said.
“I used the small strips.”
“That’s amazing,” I said as she showed me the hair she yanked off. 

Then I started to giggle like I was, um, five years old and just saw the bottom of the cutest kid in kindergarten.

I could not stop giggling the entire time she did it, which was … probably four minutes at the most.

She said, “I love it when you come in.”


I giggled more.


She said, “You just kill me.”


Then she showed me my eyebrows and I bounced up and down.

And for some reason, I never went back again! I know! I know! It’s because I’m cheap. I couldn’t get over that part.

But the thing is. We can’t grow if we don’t take chances, if we don’t rip out our extra, ugly spots and examine them. We can’t grow if we don’t scrutinize ourselves and invest in ourselves.

That’s important because I know we all want to be the best people we can be even if that means checking out our reflection and seeing bits of ourselves we don’t want to see.

Take a chance. Scrutinize. Invest. Love yourself enough to grow yourself, weird eyebrows and all.

WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Join the 233,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.

Last week’s episode.

Last week’s bonus episode with Anne Marie Pace, author of Vampirina Ballerina.

COME WRITE WITH ME! 

I coach, have a class, and edit things. 


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.

Why Do I Smell Like A Dog

Let me preface this by saying that even before Covid-19, I was one of those people who wash their hands all the time and also one of those people who floss.

My flossing at the campground restroom last summer inspired someone to scoff in disbelief. I’ve repressed most of the incident because I repress all bad things, but basically she said something like, “I didn’t think people actually did that.” Or maybe it was, “You’re one of those kind of people.”

Spoiler alert: I am one of those people who are pro dental hygiene and anti bad breath.

That was a heck of a lot of lead up to this.

My point:

I have been awake merely one hour today, washed my hands three times and they still smell like a dog.

Mostly, they smell like this dog:

my hands smell like dogs
She isn’t even that smelly.

Can someone please explain why?

Oh! Also, the wonderful humans at 88 Cups of Tea hosted me for a guest blog about work and life balance. They are all wonderful and you should check them out.


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Join the 222,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.

This week’s episode.

Continue reading “Why Do I Smell Like A Dog”

Why Do Politicians Hug Me and Other Weird Facts & Questions

I’ve been working super hard creating things and helping other people create things and I’ve been ridiculously stressed worrying about people’s health and systemic inequalities in our health care system and even about my income because of Covid-19 and I don’t have it in me for a serious blog post today. I hope that’s cool with everyone. Instead, I’m going to give you random tidbits about me.

  1. My debut novel TIPS ON HAVING A GAY (ex) BOYFRIEND has the word gay in it, which made some people squeamish.

2. That makes me lose my chill, but in a chill-inspiring way my ex-boyfriend from high school has a really lovely, very religious, very Catholic mom who BOUGHT IT. Yes, her son is gay. She proudly showed the book off to all her friends and that? Well, that made my heart sing. I’m so glad he has her for a mom.

3. I used to be the youngest female city councilor ever elected in my city and I never EVER dated any other city councilors, or politicians although ex presidential candidate Gary Hart once winked at me and I’ve been hugged by Jesse Jackson and Jerry Brown and George W. Bush and Mike Michaud and Paul Lepage and Susan Collins and John Glenn and too many NYC mayors to list. Politicians apparently hug across parties. Also, I’ve been hugged by a lot more male politicians than women. This does not seem fair.

4. I have one ex-boyfriend who is now a writer. He published before he was 30 and wrote for the NYT and Village Voice. I try not to hate him. Just kidding! I don’t try. No! No! I don’t actually hate him at all. I’m super happy for him actually.

5. I have one ex-boyfriend who was in TIGER BEAT MAGAZINE because he was on a Nickelodean TV show before college.  And I find this hysterical.

6. I have one ex boyfriend from fifth grade whose name was Bertram, but he wanted to change it to Steve. He was so sad about his name. He also wanted to be a knight. I hope he at least got to change his name.

7. I have one ex boyfriend who chewed tobacco and spit it into a Pepsi can and thought nobody knew. EVERYBODY knew.

8. I just realized I will never have another new ex-boyfriend, which is weird, just weird…And I also realized that because of Covid-19 politicians won’t be hugging people as much this year, which has a lot of weird ramifications, too.

How about you? Do you have random facts that you never share? It feels weirdly good to remember and share them.

Continue reading “Why Do Politicians Hug Me and Other Weird Facts & Questions”

Super Noses, Stuffed Teddies, and Being Awesome, an Interview with YA Author, Ronni Davis

Super Noses, Stuffed Teddies, and Being Awesome, an Interview with YA Author, Ronni Davis

 
 
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Hey! Welcome to a bonus interview episode of Dogs are Smarter Than People, the usually quirky podcast that gives writing tips and life tips.

With me (Carrie) today is Ronni Davis for our special bonus interview edition.

Ronni is one of the best humans around. She graduated Ohio State with a degree in psychology. And she has an amazing debut novel WHEN THE STARS LEAD TO YOU, which you can buy here at IndieBound.

Ronni’s website states she’s a writer, dreamer, wanderer. Have you met any authors who weren’t who are just buttheads?

We talk about that, fitting in, and super noses. We also talk about how it’s cool to sleep with the teddy bears you had as a child. And do not fight us on this.

When the Stars Lead to You is a powerful debut about reaching for the stars and how to put yourself back together after falling apart. Deftly blending the complications of first love with an exploration of mental illness, Ronni Davis is a bright new voice in YA that readers of today and the future are lucky to have.

Debut author Davis provides a new take on the archetypal first love novel by tackling the impact of mental health, race, and class wars. A moving love story, timely given the pervasiveness of mental health crises.”

KirkusReviews

Check out more about Ronni at her website. Her twitter. Her Instagram. And her Goodreads page.

And here’s a quick link to Ronni’s interview!


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.


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Join the 222,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


And here’s a quick link to Ronni’s interview! Super Noses, Stuffed Teddies, and Being Awesome

Link to Jose’s bonus interview. Jokes, Stuffies, And Using Your Weirdness for Good, An Interview with Jose De La Roca

Link to Caitlyn’s bonus episode. Books, Law School during Covid-19 and just being Kick Butt – Using Law to Create Lasting Change – Interview with Caitlyn Vanover

Link to this week’s episode of awesome.

Last week’s episode. Money Is Not the Enemy and the Habits of the Rich

Continue reading “Super Noses, Stuffed Teddies, and Being Awesome, an Interview with YA Author, Ronni Davis”

Tips on Attending a Writing Conference for Children’s Writers When It Isn’t the Time of Covid-19

I am an optimist and I believe that people will be someday at writing conferences again feeling awkward and so in preparation for that, I’m giving all you all some tips. You ready?

Tips on Attending a Writing Conference for Children’s Writers When It Isn’t the Time of Covid-19

Understand that people will hug you.

A lot. They will hug you a lot. This is cool if you like hugs (I do).

If you don’t like hugs you may want to not use your deodorant that day or wear something prickly around your neck like a porcupine. That’s about all that will dissuade children’s writers set for a hug.

Do not feel like a big loser because everyone else seems like they know everyone else and they are all best friends.

They are just pretending.

Pretend too. Go stand by people. Nod.

Realize that pretending works because they all think you are a social media friend who has an icon or avatar that is not their actual face but a giant toenail or perfected carbonized version of themselves.

If they ask you if you are another writer who is cooler than you are? Nod.

If they catch you because you did not remember that the other author has a dog named Fluffy who tends to bite school bus drivers in the elbow, just nod again and say, “I was pretending. I was doing research on a YA character who is a compulsive liar and adopts the identities of total strangers as a way to deal with weight issues.”

They are writers. They will understand.

Realize that they will possibly hug you again in solidarity over the fact that you are so into your writing that you do compulsive liar reasearch at conferences.

Open your arms. Hug them back.

Seriously though, when you are at a conference or convention, remember to embrace and include other people. Don’t talk over them. Listen to their words. Make sure everyone has a chance to speak, to interact, to be included. When you don’t? You’re oppressing them and you’re losing the possibility of meeting a new friend or at least hearing a new take on things, or a perspective from someone’s mouth that isn’t yours. That’s what writing and communication is all about. It goes both ways.

Continue reading “Tips on Attending a Writing Conference for Children’s Writers When It Isn’t the Time of Covid-19”

We dogs smell poop the way sommeliers smell wine. It’s about nuance.

We dogs smell poop the way sommeliers smell wine. It’s about nuance.

 
 
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RANDOM THINGS YOU LEARN ABOUT EACH OTHER DURING LOCKDOWN

So, in this house we’ve learned a few random things that we didn’t know before we had to isolate ourselves because of the Covid-19 pandemic and these things include some things that were mentioned on Buzzfeed and some that weren’t including: 

  • Treasure Hunting For Gray Hair In Other People’s Hair Is Fun.
  • People Hook Up on the Scrabble app and Words With Friends. 
  • Sometimes Your Relatives Don’t Close Cabinets.
  • How Much Noise Your Fellow Family Members Including Dogs Make. 
  • Your Husband Is More Southern Than You Thought.

So, while we were checking that out we also saw that Buzzfeed had this other article called, “17 Delicious Cookout Recipes That Will Impress Your Southern Friends” and the first thing we thought was, “Do I have southern friends?” And then we remembered we have an entire Southern family and then we were ashamed. 

But the article was not all that Southern and it confused us.

Did the writer think Northern people don’t have BBQ pulled pork, buttermilk fried chicken, BBQ baby back ribs, corn on the cob, fried fish, burgers, baked mac and cheese normally? And why would Southern people be more impressed by that than Northerners? 

Like where did this regionally specific food divide even come from? The only southern thing that was on there that Carrie (from the North) didn’t grow up with were collard greens. She even had peach ice tea. Albeit, it was the Snapple kind.

They had baked beans on there. Dudes, they are called Boston Baked Beans for a reason. They had potato salad on there! It made no sense!  

And someone in the comments actually wrote: “This post should probably be changed to the perfect SOUTHERN cookout. Most of these things aren’t gonna fly at a cookout in Maine!”

And Carrie lost her chill.

All you all, don’t talk about Maine if you’ve never been here. Similarly, give shout-outs to the origins and history of the foods that you’re blogging about because erasure isn’t a cool thing and that goes for socio-economic erasure and ethnic erasure. The foods of different cultures sustain us, build us, bind us, and also reflect our histories–the good and horrible parts. 

What does this have to do with writing?

When you write about regions, think about it from more than your perspective. When you want to add some authenticity into your stories, think about the strange things you learn about your own house and family during lockdowns. Those details and nuance? That’s what makes a story authentic, not a bullshit blog post about how to impress your Southern friends at a cookout or a food post about Kimchi that never mentions it’s a Korean food. 

Writing Tip of the Pod

Be smart. Be detailed. Be full of empathy, but don’t be so full of yourself that you forget the backs and lives and hearts of the people who came before you. That goes not just for writers, but for regular humans, too. 

Dog Tip for Life

Dogs are all about origins and details. According to Sparrty, our dog, “We dogs smell poop the way sommeliers smell wine.” 

It’s all about the nuance. Be about the nuance not the generalization. That’s true about writing and thinking. Smell the bouquet, appreciate the differences. 

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.

Come Write With Me!

I coach, have a class, and edit things.


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Join the 222,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


Link to Jose’s bonus interview. Jokes, Stuffies, And Using Your Weirdness for Good, An Interview with Jose De La Roca

Link to Caitlyn’s bonus episode. Books, Law School during Covid-19 and just being Kick Butt – Using Law to Create Lasting Change – Interview with Caitlyn Vanover

Link to this week’s episode of awesome.

Last week’s episode. Money Is Not the Enemy and the Habits of the Rich

NEW BOOK OF AWESOME

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.


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!