This podcast isn’t about writing. It isn’t about life tips. It’s really inspired by how Shaun and I are such opposites about so many things and yet we still love each other. There’s got to be a lesson somewhere in there, right?
It’s unscripted and fun and just meant to make you feel like you’re hanging out with two weird people talking about strange things.
Please like and share and subscribe, it totally helps us out!
Very soon a little ghost story that I wrote will be performed and available via the magic of the InterHell (I mean internet) via the Penobscot Theater and I’ll post about that as soon as it happens because I’m super excited about it!
But it made me think of all the random ghost stories that have happened in my life that I tend to be pretty chill about. I’ve mentioned some here, but not a ton because I don’t want to be known as CARRIE JONES, THE AUTHOR WHO HAS TOO MANY GHOST STORIES.
Anyway, the quick one I want to talk about was when Em and I were in the living room gathering up her stuff for school and the TV just switched on all by itself. Seriously. Both the remotes were in full view. Nobody was anywhere near the TV or the remotes. No cats. No dog. No humans.
And it flipped onto this video of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley all in black and white singing a duet . I’ve embedded it here. But to make it even freakier these were the lyrics they were on:
FOR MY DARLING, I LOVE YOU AND I ALWAYS WILL.
Share this if you want and also because it would be super nice of you!
As you know (hopefully) BE BRAVE FRIDAY started over on my Facebook and it’s because I am afraid to share my art because (cough) I have issues. I know! Stunning revelation right there, right?
Anyways, I had an epiphany last night that so many of my paintings have ghost women in them. And I realized that they have ghost women in them is because I waffle all the time between:
Afraid of being seen.
Tired of not being seen.
If you are a woman or a member of an oppressed group, you probably know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about:
Going into a conference as a speaker and everyone assuming the guy with you is the talent.
Being at a board meeting and saying something and everyone ignores your suggestion until Chad says the exact same thing two minutes later and everyone is like, “Wow. Right, Chad. Good idea, Chad.”
Trying to talk in a Zoom meeting and everyone just talking over you. Actually that goes for everyone.
And then there are the times you don’t want to be seen because it feels dangerous to be seen, to be known, to be noticed, in a society that can be full of trolls and drama and violence. If you have never felt that way, I am so happy for you.
But anyways. I think I am tired of being a ghost but sometimes it’s just so hard to be brave and materialize.
I hope you are brave today and all days and seen when you want to be seen.
WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE
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!
Share this if you want and also because it would be super nice of you!
Okay. I know the title of our podcast this week sounds mean, but it’s truth. You want to be a good writer or good liver, right?
Digression: Not a liver like an organ, but a liver like someone who is alive.
Anyway, digression over.
You want to be good. So that means what? You guessed it. It means that you can’t be lazy.
What’s a lazy writer?
It’s someone who babbles and has a lot of words that really say nothing. So here are hot tips about that.
PROBLEM #1: USING WAY TOO MANY TO-BE VERBS.
TIP #1: Don’t.
A to-be verb is: is, are, was, were, has been, had been,
A to-be verb hides the real importance of your sentence in a layer of whatever.
How about an example?
Lazy to-be sentence:
Being thrilled to be snowboarding is such a real feeling.
So the subject up there is so dull. It’s being thrilled.
How about we switch it up to having a real concrete subject:
The yeti is thrilled to be snowboarding today.
Whoa, way better, right? We now know the yeti is thrilled and that’s more concrete, but we still have that ‘to be’ verb with ‘is.’
One more try:
The yeti snowboards, pumping his hairy fist in the air, screaming, “Yee-haw!”
We now have a much better image of the yeti and his joy. Also we just all have an image of a yeti, which is always a bonus.
PROBLEM #2: WRITING LIKE YOU’RE TRYING TO HIT A TEACHER-INSPIRED WORD COUNT ON A U.S. HISTORY PAPER ABOUT THE ANTEBELLUM AND YOU ARE JUST PUTTING IN WORDS TO FILL UP SPACE.
TIP #2: Don’t babble.
You know what we mean, right?
We’re talking about the never-ending sentence. Something like this:
If this economic crisis is able to be adjudicated with both the president and Congress’s approval, there will likely be an increased number of regulatory-relief provisions that will also be passed, which should make a resulting impact on the home-owner’s monetary status.
And all you hear is blah-blah-blah-BLAH-blah.
Don’t do that in your fiction.
Writing Tip of the Pod
Don’t babble. Don’t pad your thoughts down with meaningless words
Dog Tip for Life
Meandering with purpose is the best. Don’t bark for no reason because then people won’t listen to your important growls.
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.
When I first saw her, she stood on a granite walk that jutted out into the Atlantic Ocean, holding onto a railing that tourists lean against in better weather. They stand, listening to the calmer waves sweep into a carved-out place in the rock called Thunder Hole. The ocean was crashing over her, obscuring her from my vision.
People had stopped their cars to watch the waves the storm made, but instead they saw a woman standing on the roped-off platform, her back to them, facing the sea as it smashed itself against her. I was one of those people, the people who watches.
She survived the wave that swept over her head and waited for another to come, to engulf her and the platform. The waves were so large, they splashed over my hiking boots and I was standing above her by fifteen feet. The echoes they made as the crashed against rocks hurt some of the children’s ears. One little boy stood near me with his hands pressed against his head, crying.
“She’s going to get swept right in,” a man next to me yelled to anyone and everyone. “She’s crazy. She’s going to get swept right in an bashed against those ledges.”
People murmured their agreement.
“It’s not going to be pretty,” he added.
This was true.
“You going to get her?” He asked me, zipping up his LL Bean anorak to his neck.
I looked around for a park ranger, a cop, someone official. There wasn’t anyone there. Just tourists in expensive cars with their kids and dogs beside them. And of course her, the woman in the waves, standing there, defying one of the strongest forces of nature.
Just then the woman buckled as another wave crashed against her. I expected when the crest dropped to see her gone, to just view the soaked granite of the platform and a vacant place where she used to be.
And then it hit me – the guilt of the bystander, the one who watches and witnesses. The guilt overwhelmed me.
She made it through. Her back was bent as if she was ancient.
“Jesus! She made it!” someone yelled. A few people cheered.
“What a freak,” some college-aged guy standing on the other side of me said. “She must be totally psycho.”
They didn’t know her. They didn’t know why she was there, what she’d done, who she was, what she’d been through, or even what emotions she was feeling right then. They just stood there watching, judging, not helping. And just like that, I knew… I didn’t want to be one of them.
“Okay,” I grumbled aloud and started down the wet rock steps, trying to pump myself up for what I was about to do. “Okay.”
Lifting one leg over the rope with the “closed” sign shining on it, I slipped a bit, heading down, but somehow she knew and turned herself, facing me now, grabbing onto the railing with both hands, she pulled her way back up towards me before the next wave hit. Her eyes were brilliant. The gray Maine ocean was so dull in comparison.
I reached my hand out for her.
She took it, smile, and came up to where I was.
“Thank you,” she said, laughing, alive, still holding my hand as she hopped over the rope and glided from one granite step towards the land, towards the bystanders, judging, watching.
And that’s when I realized where she was…? Down there in the waves? It was a less dangerous place then where we were heading back to. You know the violence to expect from the sea, from nature. You brace yourself for it. You move with it. But people? We expect more from each other. We expect hands and help, guidance and love. But too often, what we get is inaction, judgement.
When we got back up, most of the people had left. She survived. They weren’t interested any longer. The moment for them had passed, a story to tell, even though they didn’t know her, her motivation, or her name.
Sometimes I think that woman is all of us. Sometimes when things go down in this country that are just ridiculously bad, I think about that woman, standing there, a force in herself, bending but not breaking, refusing to be swept away, silently taking it as everyone watches. And when I think about her, I’m amazed.
“Are you okay?” I asked her as she shook out her hair and started to actually wring out the sleeves of her shirt.
“I am,” she said. “I am now.”
She took four steps forward and disappeared.
This happened when I first came to the island and a long time before the accident that took a child’s life close to this area. I was working dispatch at the police department when they recovered that little girl and this story has absolutely nothing to do with that horrible event.
Next and Last Time Stoppers Book
It’s out! You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.
People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.
The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?
It’s awesome and quirky and fun.
OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.
Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. 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!
I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.
Ebook on Sale for October!
And finally, for the month of July, my book NEEDis on sale in ebook version on Amazon. It’s a cheap way to have an awesome read in a book that’s basically about human-sized pixies trying to start an apocalypse.
I’m WRITING BARN FACULTY AND THERE’S A COURSE YOU CAN TAKE!
I am super psyched to be teaching the six-month long Write. Submit. Support. class at the Writing Barn!
Are you looking for a group to support you in your writing process and help set achievable goals? Are you looking for the feedback and connections that could potentially lead you to that book deal you’ve been working towards?
Our Write. Submit. Support. (WSS) six-month ONLINE course offers structure and support not only to your writing lives and the manuscripts at hand, but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors.
Past Write. Submit. Support. students have gone on to receive representation from literary agents across the country. View one of our most recent success stories here.