There are certain reasons why I don’t usually leave the house in super baggy pants, a gray fleece jacket, and super wild, frizzed-out hair.
The main reason I don’t?
Because every time I do, something bad happens, like public spectacle bad.
So near the end of one Ellsworth Middle School basketball game, I slinked in and sat down on the bleachers hoping nobody would see me in my Yeti-state.
I put my cellphone and car keys on the bleacher in front of me so they wouldn’t fall out of my slanty pockets.
Oh, I thought. I am soooo smart.
My daughter Em came over in her cheering uniform, flew up the bleachers, plopped on my lap and hugged me.
Ah, I thought. I love my kid.
She opened up her cheerleading-coach-approved healthy cheer snack and her foot shot out knocking something under the bleachers.
“What was that?” asked my friend who was sitting next to me.
“Popcorn?” Em suggested.
“Your cell phone,” said another nice guy nearby.
“Oh,” I said. “Oh . . . no!”
Em and I started looking for it. The nice man started looking. Another nice man started looking. Em and I walked down the bleachers. Everyone stared at us more than the stared at the seventh-grade ball players hustling back and forth on the court. Em and I search under the bleachers. People peek under the bleachers to see what we’re doing down there.
“Lost my cellphone,” I say in an apologetic way. “Not being creepy! Promise!”
“Oh no!” people said
Ah, I though. I am wearing super baggy pants, have Yeti-hair, a pimple on my forehead and everyone is staring.
(Yes. I had a pimple. A real pimple. It was above my left eyebrow. This was soooo wrong. It was obvious I had been evil and the karmic payback had been declared by the god of facial imperfections. Why? Why?? What hath I done to deserveth this?)
We couldn’t find the stupid cellphone. We eventually give up and returned to the Land Above the Bleachers. More people were definitely now watching us than the game. To be fair, the score was 46-5 in the third quarter.
Someone brilliant gave me their cellphone to call my cellphone. Everyone listened. Everyone stared. Or, well, at least it seemed that way. It was like we were moose waiting for a mating call after a really long, really boring winter.
Please, I thought. Pleaasseeeeeeeeee.
And then. we heard it, the siren call of a nation.
We finally spotted the ugly thing, pushed up against the front bleachers. Em crawled under again, bringing it to me. I made my way up the bleachers thinking, I hate my pimple. I hate my cellphone. I hate my baggy pants.
Then someone kind of clapped. The clapping became bigger.
Someone else says, “Thank God.”
Someone else says, “That’s a good kid you have there, helping you out.”
And they were all right. But the cool thing was that everyone was helping me out, or else, maybe using that as an excuse to check out the Yeti hair. I don’t know.
There is something beautiful when people help each other over big things and small even when you look like a Yeti. All those people helping us look for that cellphone chose altruism and kindness. They did the right thing, supporting us and problem solving as a community so that there was a positive outcome.
How cool is that?
I wish some of the people in power could do that too.
Dog Love for the Day
Sometimes our fears are more alive than our dreams, more real.
Don’t let your failure become your truth.
Be a manatee if you want. Wear a goofy hat. Write. Do. Make a difference in this world.
It may be Monday, but you’ve got this. Go make your dreams live.
I’m about to publish a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up?
Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.
But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor.
As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.
You can preorder it here. Please, please, preorder it.
DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE PODCAST
This week’s episode is here and it’s all about how to tell a good story (aloud or on paper). And last week’s episode is here and it’s all about how to be happy, Big Foot, and statues that pee, so basically Shaun’s head.
WHERE TO FIND US
LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!
The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here!
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IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!
My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!
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!
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?
Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site.