Why Do You Write?

A few years ago in our Vermont College MFA blog, someone wrote about why they write when they know they’ll never get enough money to pay bills, etc….

Her reasons were interesting and somewhat inspiring, but had nothing to do with why I write.

Making Sense

I write to make sense of things, because I want to believe that lives are part of a bigger picture, a bigger connection, and because it’s the only way I can dig deep into the meaning of the stuff that goes on.

I guess I think of all writing like a poem, a way to get to the universal through the specific.

That same time as the Vermont College blog, two people I knew and liked died. One was a little, old lady named Mrs. Blanche Clark who used to live next door to me.

On 9/11 she and her husband and all the neighborhood families gathered outside with candles. She had a lung disease and couldn’t be near the candles and she kept moving so she could be down wind. She wanted so badly to be there and she was. She was beautiful.

The other person, was a boy really, Benny . He was in his early 20s. He used to be a high school star athlete, got addicted to heroin, then recovered, straightened out and got engaged, got religion, got a lot of things really.

He was a spark plug boy, always lighting up rooms. His dad works at an assisted living center on the third shift. Benny was keeping him company until 2 a.m. and then headed home.

He hadn’t put his seatbelt on yet, just turned out of the center onto the main road when a lady with a super high blood alcohol content smashed into him. His body was in the backseat when the firefighters came and cut him out. I hate that. I hate the thought that his body went backwards when Benny had finally gotten his life to go forwards.

Sometimes Things Don’t Make Sense

I can’t make super sense of it all. But that’s why I write. Because I’m trying to, I guess. Although, then I write such stupid things occasionally like Children’s Author Picture Book Porn Collaborative Workshop, that maybe that isn’t the reason I write at all.

Why do you guys write?


Fun? Spite? Boredom? Love? Because you are chained to your laptop? Because someone once told you that you were a good writer (and I am sure you are)?

Why?


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

Keep Your Cat Out Of Tinder and Other Sucky Advice

Generalizations can be so inspiring and they can have truth in them for some people and sometimes even for most people, but they’re never going to work for everyone.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Keep Your Cat Out Of Tinder and Other Sucky Advice
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In our Random Thought section of the podcast (Notes not transcribed), we talk about how straight men aren’t supposed to let the world know they like/have cats on social media. Shaun has thoughts.


The rest of the podcast follows.

Every weekday Carrie posts on her personal Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin, inspiring quotes from our dogs and cats.

Sometimes they are just about bacon and naps because bacon and naps can be inspiring.

But it made us think of famous writing quotes and whether or not they are kind of b.s. And how very privileged some quotes are.

Like Marianne Williamson, who we are sure is an incredibly lovely person wrote this:

“Nothing binds you except your thoughts, nothing limits you except your fear; and nothing controls you except your beliefs.”

Which is lovely and partially true, but it comes from the perspective of a really lucky person who is white, who is good looking, who had a lot of advantages as a white American, right? It’s hard to say nothing binds you except your thoughts to a political prisoner who is legit in chains, to a Black man or woman in the U.S. who is jail for pot, for someone who has paralyzing fear because of trauma that’s happened to her or him or them, right?

Generalizations can be so inspiring and they can have truth in them for some people and sometimes even for most people, but it’s never going to work for everyone.

Writing advice and quotes are like that, too.

Like even the most amazing Ray Bradbury wrote

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

That’s a good quote, right? Us writers are easily destroyed. But being drunk on anything all the time usually means for most of us that we’re not helping create a solution to problems. Instead, we’re being drunk, putting lampshades on our head and saying, “Nah. Nah. Nah. I can’t hear you.”

It’s not the best look, really.

But sometimes the advice is pretty cool.

“Be strategic and resilient in the pursuit of your dreams. That sounds like a cheesy quote, right? But nah, I’m serious. Resilience is one hell of a quality to master and not many have the skin for it.” —Tiffany D. Jackson

“People are going to judge you all the time no matter what you do. . . . Don’t worry about other people. Worry about you.” —Jacqueline Woodson

 “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” — Henry David Thoreau

“Write what should not be forgotten.” — Isabel Allende

“Healing begins where the wound was made.” -Alice Walker (The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart)

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Blow off the b.s. And realize where it’s coming from. Sometimes it’s coming from people whose lives and brains are nothing like yours and sometimes it’s just coming from people who want to make a butt ton of money selling their advice to you.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Cats are okay. They’re good to snuggle with, too.

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 new 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.

Here’s the link. This week’s podcast is all about loving places and feeling called to them when you have never been there before.

best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

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

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

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

Thanks so much for being one of the 256,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

What Makes Someone Great? Sometimes It’s Just Love

hat’s the way love should be. It should be something that solids you up, that makes you throw your arms open, makes your eyes sparkle, something that spreads and spreads and stays in the present tense.

 

I’ve been lucky enough to be a fill in dog walker for someone who has A.L.S. this week and it made me think of my friend, Jerry Kauffman, who died of A.L.S. in February 2008.

I still think of Jerry in the present tense even though it’s been years, but I still adore him and that is the sort of thing that doesn’t go from present tense to past tense because of something like death.

            That’s what Jerry Kaufman taught me. He taught me that the good things – love, adoration – they endure.

            Jerry was not a perfect man. He could be almost too loud sometimes. He could be brash some other times. That was part of his enthusiasm, his style. He always knew what he believed and sometimes what he believed struck people in a bad way. That’s not why I adore him, but it’s part of why I admire him. It takes an immense amount of courage to always loudly and bravely state what you believe and what you think is right even when no other person agrees with you. And then to sometimes change your opinion after you’ve done that.

It’s something I wish more people could do, could feel safe to do, that their egos could allow them to do.

            But the reason that I adore Jerry is because he adores his wife, Jacqui.

            Jerry’s adoration of Jacqui stays in the present tense, too. Something like death never changes that.

            The first time I met them I was doing an article for WERU’s newspaper/bulletin. I drove down to their house in Surry. I was in my twenties.

I was really, really shy.

I parked my Subaru, listened to the sounds of dogs yipping and stared through the darkness at a house lit up from inside with absolutely golden light, trying to brave myself up enough to go inside.

            Then Jerry flung open the door.

            The first thing I noticed was his hair. There was all this hair, wild, dark, curly, like a lion’s mane. 

            I may have stepped back.

            But Jerry wasn’t good about letting people step back. He stepped forward bellowing, “Hello! Hello!” and pulled me into a hug.

            Then I noticed Jacqui, his wife. She too had amazing hair, amazing in a beautiful way. But the best thing was her eyes.

            Writers always talk about people’s eyes sparkling, but Jacqui’s really did. They sparkled brilliantly reminding me of the warm golden lights of their house. Then I looked at Jerry’s eyes. They were sparkling too.

            “The great love of my life,” he said, gesturing towards her.

            I knew right then, absolutely, without a doubt, that what they were sparkling about was each other. They loved each other more than any couple I have ever met. It made me sigh with happiness. It made me smile. It made me want to be just like them.

            It’s about twenty years later and now I am a lot closer.

            It’s about twenty years later and now I love a man more than I could ever imagine. It’s the kind of love that Jerry and Jacqui have.

            It’s about twenty years later and Jerry has died so many years ago already.

            I know, I know absolutely without a doubt that a lot of people think Jerry is a hero for dealing with A.L.S., for making himself into Stem Cell Man (his adopted superhero name) and approaching illness with a vitality and humor that most people never show when they are healthy.

            But for me, Jerry and Jacqui Kaufmann are heroes for loving. It’s rare that you find people so willing to put all of their hearts, all of their souls, out there for the world to see. Every time Jerry saw my little girl, which was about once a year, he would throw his arms open, wrap her in a hug and tell her how beautiful and brilliant she was. That’s the way love should be. It should be something that solids you up, that makes you throw your arms open, makes your eyes sparkle, something that spreads and spreads and stays in the present tense.

            That’s why I adore Jerry Kaufman.

            That’s why I will always adore Jerry Kaufman, because no matter what else he did or what else he was, no matter what fights he faced or opinions he carried, he is someone who taught me all about that kind of love and how that kind of love is truly the essence, the joyous essence of a beautiful, beautiful soul.You can find out more about Jerry at his website. It has a lot of information about A.L.S., a place to donate, and a bit about Jerry and it was made out of love, not just for Jerry, but for the world.


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

Why You Should Write Right Now

After another one of my books was published, a teen wrote me that they’d felt desperate and alone and said, “I finally feel like I’ve been seen. It helped so much. So much.”

I’ve been copyediting an anthology about self-love and it’s an interesting concept in the middle of our second pandemic winter when everything feels a bit impossible for some of us as we deal with the losses of friends, family, and income.

It makes me think a lot about how do we take care of ourselves when so many of our outlets aren’t there any longer.

How do we remember to take care of ourselves when we worry so much about things beyond our control, about a world that seems to need more and more from us while we’re sometimes barely hanging on?

That’s an especially big question for writers. I’ve had so many students and writers this year tell me that it doesn’t feel like they should be writing now because there’s so much pain and loss in the world.

But the thing is?

That’s exactly when you should. Our stories, even when they are fiction, even when they go unpublished, become a document for our time, they are our outlets and our bits of showing the future what it was like for us.

And the thing is? You want all the stories to be out there. Not just stories written by one demographic. All stories. Your story is part of that too. You get to write your own stories and to hell with people who tell you that you shouldn’t.

Silent.

No outlet.

No voice.

Is that what you want to be? During this pandemic stories are even more important. During the times when we confront inequities in our society, stories are even more important.

Your story.

It’s worth being out there.

During times of great distress, many people turn to storytelling or art or creating because that’s how they get through it, process it, and also how they end up influencing the world towards good.

A couple years ago I wrote a book and I got an email where someone told me that my book had saved their life. That’s hard to get my head around. It wasn’t a big, deep book. It was adventurous.

After another one of my books was published, a teen wrote me that they’d felt desperate and alone and said, “I finally feel like I’ve been seen. It helped so much. So much.”

That wasn’t my intention, but oh my gosh what a gift that kid gave me there

You can’t make a difference unless you give yourself permission to act.

You’ve got this. Go write. Go art. Go sing. Go create. The world needs more beauty and more thought in it. You can be a part of that. Channel your fear into passion. Channel your silence into a pursuit. Be true. Be real. And you’ll end up saving someone.


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

What Happens to Your Mom When You Hit the NYT Bestsellers List

So, I thought I should tell this story about what happened with my mom when my books debuted on the NYT Bestseller Kids Lists. This was back when my mom was alive and everything.

First off, I should probably say for the five years or so before this my mom had been super sick with diabetes and all these horrible complications from it. She’d almost died a couple times. She’d been in the hospital a ton. And basically, that stunk.

The point is that she’d been through a lot.  

And when she called me after hearing the news about the whole New York Times thing she screamed into the phone, “Oh my gosh. Ohmygosh. Oh God, Carrie. I’m hyper. I’m hyperventilating. I’m hyperventilating I’m so excited. Oh my gosh, I’m hyperventilating. I am so proud of you. Oh, I am so very very proud of you.”

Which pretty much cracked me up because it was cute!

Anyway, she had to get infusions or transfusions or something that same week.

She talked to the lab tech/nurse lady one day (the day before the NYT thing) and then the lady called back the next day after my mom had learned.

The woman who was super nice said, “Betty? What’s going on? Something happened. Your voice is different.”

At this point my mother had her prou- mom moment and told her. The woman was all excited for her. It was hard not to be excited for my mother. 

My mother’s appointment was the next day and when she walked into the waiting room the receptionist said in a frantic tone, “She’s here! Betty’s here.” 

Then everyone who worked at the lab came out and started applauding as my mom walked to the check-in desk.

One of them, she said, yelled, “It’s the mother of the New York Times bestselling author.”

So, I have to say three things:

1. I think the best moment in all of this totally belongs to my mom and I am so happy about that.


2. I hope all of you who are trying to be writers or have other awesome goals get a moment like that where you achieve something with someone’s support, and they get to celebrate too. 

3. Even before COVID-19 healthcare workers, grocery store workers, farmers, first responders, teachers? They were making impacts. They were making a difference. They were making people like my mom feel so special. We should make them feel special too.


HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On one of my Patreon sites I read and print chapters of unpublished YA novels. THE LAST GODS and SAINT and now ALMOST DEAD. This is a monthly membership site (Hear the book chapters – $1/month, read them $3-month, plus goodies!). Sometimes I send people art! Art is fun.

On this, my second site, WRITE BETTER NOW, you can do a one-time purchase of a writing class or get two of my books in eBook form or just support our podcast or the dogs. It’s all part of the WRITING CLASS OF AWESOME.

It’s a super fun place to hang out, learn, read, and see my weirdness in its true form.

And I’m starting up a brand new, adult paranormal set at a Maine campground. You can read the first chapter here.

almost dead book by carrie jones
almost dead book by carrie jones

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

Finding a way past fear using love and death

Sometimes, when I am afraid of what might happen, of mistakes I’ve made, of mistakes I might make, I tell that fear that I know it’s there, but that I know I am there, too. And that’s okay. You don’t need to be fearless. You just need to be you.

Who we are is something deeper than the things that have happened to us. It’s an essence that you can feel.

There are two instances that help me describe that feeling—that soul knowledge of myself or someone else.

When our dog, Bethlehem died, she was just under two years old and a giant Komondor/Great Pyrenes mix. My husband (at the time) wouldn’t come with me to the vet for her final moments because he had to work and he said he couldn’t handle it. So I carried her 150-pound mass up these tottering wooden stairs to the vet’s office. Cars zoomed by outside. I struggled until someone pulled into the lot, ran up the stairs and helped me, taking her back legs so we can carry her inside.

            I’m not the physically strongest person and I couldn’t thank him enough for helping.

“My soul wouldn’t have been able not to help,” this random man said.

I’ll always remember that.

My soul wouldn’t have been able not to help.

He didn’t even have an appointment. He just saw us struggling and came.

            Bethy was our first family dog and adorable. Em, our daughter, adored her. She let us dress her fluffy self up as a ballerina, as a firefighter, she let cats sit on her back. She barked at any and all threats.

We all loved her so much.

She grew a cancerous mass the size of a football on her leg. It took two weeks to go from nothing to something massive, something that the vet said had already invaded her system. She faded so quickly.

            We had no choice, they said.

            So I made the appointment and after that man helped us up the stairs, I sat on the floor with her, holding her head as she stayed still on the floor, sideways. I cried silently. The vet’s assistant started to weep. The vet teared up.

And the moment Bethy was gone, the entire room filled with peace. It was as if Bethy’s soul had taken up the entire space.

I will always remember that feeling and cling to it when I doubt about things like souls and essences and life after your body is no longer useful.

            The other instance is a bit more chill. You know how sometimes you are only barely awake and you turn to the person you’re sharing a bed with and your brain can’t even form their name yet or you can’t even remember who they exactly are or look like, but you just recognize them there in the dark next to you?

            It’s like that.

            That’s what our souls are like.

            They are an essence, a recognition, a comfort, a realization. They can fill up an entire room and also speak to half-asleep brains in the dark.

            Sometimes, when I am afraid of what might happen, of mistakes I’ve made, of mistakes I might make, I tell that fear that I know it’s there, but that I know I am there, too. And that’s okay. You don’t need to be fearless. You just need to be you.

            Fear can protect us from actual dangers (like running into the woods at night when you hear a predator) or stepping in front of a bus. But it also can keep us from taking some more lovely chances and opportunities.

            And sometimes people in power use that fear to twist us into hating other people.

            Fear has got a lot going on.

            But love has got a lot going on, too. And that’s what you’ve got to cling to–the love part–even when the fear is calling to you to sink into its hollow. You’ve got to go for the love and the light and cling to it whenever you can.


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!


If you like what you read, please heart it below or share it, it means the world to this writer. x0- Carrie

Transform Your Character and Make Your Story Rock

Stories help shape how we think and make decisions, provide order via narrative structures that are familiar. There is comfort in that familiarity.

You hear a lot that emotion matters in your novel and that you want to make the reader feel things. There’s even scientific proof that people do this. Paul J. Zak wrote  How Stories Change the Brain and said that character-driven stories with emotional content caused oxytocin synthesis. He backed it up with science.

According to Pamela B. Rutledge in Psychology Today,

“Stories are authentic human experiences. Stories leap-frog the technology and bring us to the core of the experience, as any good storyteller (transmedia or otherwise) knows. There are several psychological reasons why stories are so powerful.”

According to her those reasons are:

  • Stories “connect us to a larger self and universal truths.”
  • Stories connect us and sometimes they are collaborative. “Through stories, we share passions, sadness, hardships, and joys. We share meaning and purpose.
  • Stories are the common ground that allows people to communicate, overcoming our defenses and our differences. Stories allow us to understand ourselves better and to find our commonality with others.”

She also says that stories help shape how we think and make decisions, provide order via narrative structures that are familiar. There is comfort in that familiarity. We know the story will be resolved and that makes us feel safe. And she believes that our brains are wired for them because they engage parts of our brain and spark our own imaginations.

So, we know that stories are meant to move us, but as writers how do we do that?

For a story to be good it needs to create emotion in the reader.

To do that, stories almost always have:

  1. Character (who your story is about. It can be about a condom as long as that condom is a character.
  2. A Big Want. Something that your character wants more than anything else, something that compels your character to action in order to get that big want.
  3. Conflict. Something that keeps the character from getting that want right away (or possibly ever).

That’s super simplistic, right? But those three elements are essential to story. Readers want to cheer on characters and sob with them. They want to feel the character’s transformation as they/he/she meets obstacles as they try to achieve those damn goals.

The best stories (especially in the YA genre) involve a change in the character, a metamorphosis, a transformation.

Who the character is at the beginning of the story often shouldn’t be who they are at the end of the story. There are two main different levels of transformation.

  1. The outside world changes. They have a car or a house now. The villain is gone and they are safe. This is the easy transformation.
  • Their personality changes. They are no longer reactive, but proactive, not a wall flower but an exhibitionist. They are brave now. They are a coward now. This is true for Bilbo Baggins or Harry Potter or Anakin Skywalker. They realize that they were wrong about something (a big lie that ruins their personality/life) and then they transform because of the truth. Sometimes that transformation is negative (Anakin, we’re looking at you!) and sometimes it’s positive.

There are other possibilities for smaller transformation. The character might grow but not change like Nick Carraway in the Great Gatsby. This is called a growth arc usually. They have grown and learned some shit, but they are still their essential selves.

And there are also the no-transformation arc. Sherlock Holmes, Indiana Jones, every sitcom character experience life, but they don’t really transform because of the experience.

RESOURCES

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/positively-media/201101/the-psychological-power-storytelling

(Paul J. Zak. “How Stories Change the Brain.” Greater Good. 27 July 2016).


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

almost dead book by carrie jones
almost dead book by carrie jones

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On one of my Patreon sites I read and print chapters of unpublished YA novels. THE LAST GODS and SAINT and now ALMOST DEAD. This is a monthly membership site (Hear the book chapters – $1/month, read them $3-month, plus goodies!). Sometimes I send people art! Art is fun.

On this, my second site, WRITE BETTER NOW, you can do a one-time purchase of a writing class or get two of my books in eBook form or just support our podcast or the dogs. It’s all part of the WRITING CLASS OF AWESOME.

It’s a super fun place to hang out, learn, read, and see my weirdness in its true form.

And I’m starting up a brand new, adult paranormal set at a Maine campground. You can read the first chapter here.

Love Your Way Through It

Compassion and empathy makes you stronger. You don’t need to walk through this world with a big stick, scream from a bully pulpit or sermonize with fear. Empathy and kindness for even those who hurt you—or those who try to hurt you—only makes you stronger.

It’s really easy to get all wrapped up in status and ambition, to fall into the syndrome where you think the grass is always greener everywhere except your lawn, to be jealous at other people’s accolades or family’s or looks or luck.

            Shakespeare said that comparisons are odious. And that long-dead white guy was right.

            Comparisons make you feel like poop.

            I know that a lot of people try to make themselves feel better by comparing themself to others and find the others lesser.

I’ve had people do it to me all my life. I bet you have, too.

My husband before Shaun was a hospital CEO in a small, local hospital. I was volunteering to decorate for one of the hospital’s two annual fundraisers. I was up on a ladder wearing my favorite Snoopy shoes and jeans, hardly hospital CEO wife clothes, but good stuff for climbing ladders, hauling tables and putting out poinsettias.

My hair was its natural color and in a lopsided ponytail. I had no make-up on.

I’ll never forget these two wealthy ladies about two decades older than me loudly saying, “What does he see in her?”

            I tottered on the ladder a bit and the person helping me knew that I heard. It would have been impossible not to hear.

            “Don’t listen to them. They have miserable small lives and they’re jealous. Just jealous shrews,” the helper said.

            She might have been right, but it didn’t matter right that second.

I heard their words and for a moment they hurt me, but then I just felt so sad for them. How lonely their lives must be if they had to say that about me. How sad.

All I could do was love them when I thought about the hurt that they must have had inside of their hearts.

            Neither of those women probably even remember that moment, but I do, and I also remember that I made a choice.

            I could have luxuriated in that hurt instead of acknowledging it, seeing it, and then letting it pass through me.

            I could have lashed out at them and matched their pettiness with my own.

            But instead I chose empathy. I had the luxury and safety of doing that because I’m secretly pretty secure in who I am. I love myself even when I suck. I chose to love them when they sucked, too.

            A translation of Dhammapada verse 223 makes it so that  Buddha once roughly said, “Silence the angry man with love. Silence the ill-natured man with kindness. Silence the miser with generosity. Silence the liar with truth.”

Some translations use ‘overpower’ rather than ‘silence.’

Overpower the angry man with love.

            Love your way through it.

            Compassion and empathy makes you stronger. You don’t need to walk through this world with a big stick, scream from a bully pulpit or sermonize with fear. Empathy and kindness for even those who hurt you—or those who try to hurt you—only makes you stronger.

Let’s all be strong together, okay?


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

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

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

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

Thanks so much for being one of the 256,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

The Battle For Word Count

 I am having a hard time writing today.

John Wayne in My Head: Understatement of the year, right there, Little Lady.

Thanks Mr. Wayne, dead movie star, and inner Carrie Jones critic aka internal editor aka mean voice in my head. Nice of you to show up. Your eyes look VERY blue in that picture.

JW: Well, I was alive then.

True. Anyway. I’m having some issues. What kind of issues? I’m worried about female stereotypes in the middle grade I’m writing. All of a sudden on word 20,667 I’m thinking, “Is Lily strong enough? She likes math. How do I keep her from being a stereotype of a girl who likes math?”

Oh no, am I oppressing my co-women? Crud. 

JW: You’re just supposed to write. It’s your first draft. Don’t make me have to threaten ya.

I know! I am, but it’s hard. I have issues.
JW: Issues don’t bring home the bacon.

Do you mean, bread, Mr. Wayne?
JW: No, I mean bacon.

Why do I think you mean bread?
JW: Because your brain is on strike because you aren’t writing. Now get a move on.

Fine. Fine. It’s all going to be garbage.
JW: True, but it’ll be your garbage.

In a stereotypical heterosexual American relationship, the man takes out the garbage, you know. That’s your role.

JW: What do you think I’m doing right now?
Talking to me?

JW: No, I’m trying to take out the garbage also known as self-doubt in your little writer brain.
Oh! Oh. That’s so nice of you. Stereotypical, but nice.

JW: Little Lady, I aim to please.

For all of you doing, National Novel Writing Month right now, good luck! You’ve got this! Battle for that word count and stomp down the stereotypes and that self doubt. They don’t get to control you, right? You control you.

Cough. Off to listen to my own advice.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

Carrie Jones Books is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

Creators, Dirty Feet, and Archetypes

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Creators, Dirty Feet, and Archetypes
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For the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about writing archetypes for our characters and how they also apply to the real life humans we used to meet and interact with before Covid-19.

There are lists out there all over the place about this. Most have slight variations on the number of archetypes or the names of the archetypes. 

Oh! If you haven’t heard in our past episodes, an archetype is according to MasterClass:  

An archetype is an emotion, character type, or event that is notably recurrent across the human experience. In the arts, an archetype creates an immediate sense of familiarity, allowing an audience member to relate to an event or character without having to necessarily ponder why they relate. Thanks to our instincts and life experiences, we’re able to recognize archetypes without any need for explanation.

MasterClass People

Last week we talked about the seducers, the week before we talked about the misfits and mavericks. This week, we’re going easy on you with the creator. 

According to MasterClass, the creator is, “A motivated visionary who creates art or structures during the narrative.”

They make things! Like writers! They usually have willpower. They are sometimes self-involved. Or they suck at practical things. 

Over on ArielHudnel.com, it says (all bold their emphasis), 

“Also known as the artist, innovator, inventor, architect, musician, and dreamer, the Creator is solely focused on examining the boundaries or our reality and perception. As a character, they often take the position of the well-meaning scientist, or savant artist.

The Creator carries an inexhaustible imagination, often excelling at their chosen vocation. When presenting as a mortal character in a reality-based world, he is often portrayed as a man ahead of his time. There are often better examples of this archetype in the real world (Galileo, Einstein, Mozart, Steve Jobs) than in fiction!

Mediocrity is the Creator’s worst fear. Whether this result comes from concept or execution doesn’t matter. The creator wishes to be an authentic voice in a world of white noise. They gain rivals easily, answering those challenges with innovation in their work, and their personal outlook.”

ArielHudnel

Zeus. Dr. Frankenstein. Iron Man. All creators. 

Phoebe in Friends. Jo in Little Women. Creators. 

The Issue

All of these characters are white. When researching this, we were overwhelmed by the lack of examples of BIPOC. It’s another glaring example of a lack of diversity in books and movies. And it’s super frustrating. 

Over on the Character Therapist, they list the creator’s goals and fears:

LIKELY GOALS

To create things of enduring value
To see a vision realized 
To hone artistic control and skill
To create culture through self-expression  

LIKELY FEARS

To have a mediocre vision 
To only execute a vision half-way
To believe all is an illusion
To remain unchanged/unmoved by beauty 

Writing Tip of the Pod

We need all types of stories. When you create, think about who your archetypes are. If you are creating and expressing yourself, are you doing so in a way that is beautiful, clear, and fair to the rest of the world? 

Dog Tip for Life

Single minded obsession is never good unless it’s about making bacon. 

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.

The kittens felt left 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 239,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


Another episode about archetypes and if your sex life was a hashtag. Cough.

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

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

A bonus episode about being a cop’s daughter in Maine and a dance mom in Pennsylvania with Alyson Pelletier Seegmueller.

And this week’s episode link if you’re reading this via email.


COME WRITE WITH ME! 

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


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME- THE PLACES WE HIDE

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.