When Good Dogs Go Bad

So, a long time ago Carrie had a dog named Scotty, and she used to fill in at the police department as a dispatcher. For those of you who don’t know, she dispatched part-time because even though she made enough money writing (right then) she got worried that:

Carrie’s Worries

1. I will suddenly make no money at all

2. I need to build up social security benefits

3. I will forget how to interact with other humans if I’m always at home. 

ONE DAY HER GOOD DOGS WENT BAD

So, she worked from 3:30 to 11:30 pm and when she came home Tala and Scotty, her dogs, greeted her at the door, all doggy happy.

Scotty was her new dog and he was a rescue dog from Alabama who was in a kill shelter, and for a long time we have thought that he was perhaps a grandpa who liked crawfish and Bud Lite a lot and was somehow caught in a dog’s body – like he was a shapeshifter who got stuck.  He had a puncture wound in his neck when he got to Maine, two small holes. So, a vampire with a shapeshifting virus was possibly to blame. 

Carrie had decided this was a true possibility. Already, she’d witnessed him:

1. Get ice out of the refrigerator.
2. Use his paw on a door handle to open a door.

And then when Carrie came home late, she saw a drawer that had been COMPLETELY shut when she left the house, and it was now open. Food was strewn everywhere. This meant Scotty grabbed the drawer with his mouth and got it open at least a little bit and then he either wedged his nose in or something and opened it more. 

Why would he do that? Oh, he was probably sick of dog food and bored because she was gone. Which is doggy behaviour, we know,

Side note: Dog saliva combined with powdered sugar on a wood floor creates a glue-like paste that is impossible to vacuum or mop up. It must be attacked with Clorox bleach wipes. Carrie swears. She did not know this until that night. 

And finally, though they ate peanut butter chips and brown sugar and confectioner’s sugar and Crisco shortening and Shepard’s pie mix and Italian seasoning mix, they did NOT eat chocolate!

Chocolate KILLS dogs. 

And the dogs left it, only tearing open the end.

Carrie sort of imagined Scotty holding Tala back and saying, “Baby. It smells good, but it’s poison. It will kill us. Lets go lick up the sugar.”

He’s totally human

You know it, baby. Now go get me a beer while I lick the sugar off this here rug.

Writing Tip OF THE POD

What does all this have to do with writing? It’s like what we were talking about in our Random Thought in the Car (you have to listen to hear that and about Carrie’s accident). All stories aren’t good ones. All people aren’t perfect. The best writing is when those little imperfections about character or people peek through.

And use everything for your stories. Mine your lives and your dogs’ lives, too.

Dog Tip For Life

Dude. Do not eat the chocolate. Have some self control.

SHOUT OUT

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.

WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

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

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

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

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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

When Good Dogs Go Bad

 
 
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Shoving it to the Mean People

So when good writing things happen or podcasting or art things happen, I sometimes have a little moment where the word “HA!” snarks out of my lips.

I really know that I have so much to learn still as a writer and as a person, I really do, but part of the reason that I am so ultra-psyched is that back in seventh grade one of my teachers actually told me: 

“CARRIE BARNARD , YOU WILL NEVER MAKE ANYTHING OF YOUR LIFE.”

(Note: Real teacher’s chest was not that nice.)

The reason he said I would never make anything of my life was:

“NOBODY WILL EVER TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY WITH THAT VOICE. YOU WILL NEVER GET A JOB. YOU PROBABLY WON’T EVEN GET INTO COLLEGE.” 

This is because I slurred my s’s. And I have an all-around goofy voice. 

Not like the teacher or most humans.

But still my voice isn’t quite normal, but it is normal enough for me to be an emergency dispatcher, and sing, and talk to other humans, and nobody’s really made fun of it that much since college, which I totally got into EVERY DARN ONE I APPLIED TO by the way and they were kick-butt colleges. So YAY! 

The thing is that I believed that MEanie HEad Teacher. I believed that there was no hope for me to do anything that I wanted to do. 

And there are sooooooo many MEanie HEads out there (or people who have MEanie HEad moments – Trademark me). They might post an Amazon review. They might be grumping through your house or totally diss your outfit at school or steal your chair at lunch (NOTE: I HATE THAT!). They might not believe you have what it takes about writing, or about singing, or about being a good person, or about acing your SATs, or about finding true love, or whatever! 

Remember: They are being MEanie HEads.
 

You can do whatever the heck you want! You just make up your own internal cheerleader (I use the Muppet Grover) and find cool friends and you blow them off and believe in yourself. Right Grover? 

Grover: Any of you have issues with Mr. MEanie HEads and I, Grover, your adorable, furry Muppet friend will take them down for you. I am not a pacifist like Cawwie and I will totally jack them. Do not doubt the power of my fine Muppet self, or the power of YOU! See? I have a knife.

Hm. Note to Grover self: Blade should face away from Grover’s neck. 

Um. Okay. Thank you, Grover. 

Hey. If anyone wants to friend me on Facebook I am here

I am here on Twitter, by the way.

Friends are good.

WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

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

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

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

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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

Not All Politicians are the Same

Okay.

As you know I have a big problem with stereotypes.

This isn’t just about stereotypes about gender or race or ability or sexual orientation or religion or class or age or ability or neurodiversion.

Yeah. Those are the hot button ones . . . the big ones that are easy to see and easy to describe.

But the ones that are bothering me right this exact second are the stereotypes people make about professions, particularly politicians.

Yes.  A lot of politicians are greedy.
Yes. A lot of politicians are horn dogs.
Yes. A lot of politicians have teeth that are just too shiny.

But not all of them do.

And to say that all of them do is a stereotype, just like saying all lawyers are wealthy (Assistant DAs in our county are NOT wealthy) or that all doctors are brilliant or that all nurses are good, kind souls.

It’s a stereotype. It’s a generalization.

This past weekend one of my favorite politicians Andrew Yang teared up a little bit after hearing a woman tell the story of how her four-year-old baby girl was accidentally shot and her baby’s twin brother witnessed it. It was at a town hall about gun violence. It was and is a devastating story. The woman (Stephanie) was asking about what Yang would do about unintentional shootings by kids.

You can read about it here.

After he hugged her, Andrew said that he was emotional because he was imagining that happening to his children. Andrew teared up because he had empathy.

Empathy is not weakness.

Empathy is being human at its best.

Feeling for other people doesn’t make you weak.

Feeling for other people motivates you into action, creates policies and pushes change.

“A lot of cheap seats in the arena are filled with people who never venture onto the floor. They just hurl mean-spirited criticisms and put-downs from a safe distance. The problem is, when we stop caring what people think and stop feeling hurt by cruelty, we lose our ability to connect. But when we’re defined by what people think, we lose the courage to be vulnerable. Therefore, we need to be selective about the feedback we let into our lives. For me, if you’re not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.”

Brené Brown

You can’t connect if you don’t feel. You can’t lead without compassion or empathy or else your leadership is tyranny, inauthentic and more about you than your country.

At that meeting Andrew Yang answered Stefanie’s question saying, “If we can convince Americans that personalized guns are a good idea then again, if the child gets ahold of the gun then they can’t do anything with it, then it just becomes a very heavy, expensive prop.”

Yang also said, “If you say (to parents), ‘Hey we’ll upgrade your guns for free? ‘ When we can do that, like you can upgrade the guns for free … that would help make kids safer in our homes.”

How would parents say no to that, he wondered?

But his plan isn’t getting the attention. His tears are. Yang’s humanity breaks our ideas of what politicians should be. Politicians have become ‘other,’ unlike the rest of us. They don’t have emotions, right? They are the automatons that Yang is actually warning about – only he warns about automation in relation to the economy rather than warning us about becoming them, emotionless, ruthless, reading their cue cards and teleprompter and giving pat, conditioned responses.

Back in 1972, Edmund Muskie allegedly cried on the steps of the Manchester Union Leader (a newspaper) during a snow storm in New Hampshire while he was running for president. Muskie said he wasn’t crying and that it was melting snowflake on his face. The news said he cried.

My mom was there that day. She said she cried watching him outside the newspaper as he gave his speech.

Muskie was a frontrunner against Richard Nixon. The paper had slurred his wife as someone who liked her booze a bit too much. It also said she told too many jokes. Scandalous, I know. The paper also printed a piece planted by the Nixon administration that said that Muskie said an ethnic slur against French Canadians.

Whether or not Muskie cried for real while defending himself and his wife didn’t matter. The press latched hold again. Tears are not presidential, they said.

Muskie lost.

In 2008, when I ran for office the second time – the time I lost – the other party said that I was a lovely person but I felt too much and I cried too easily.

How could someone who cared so much be tough enough to battle for her constituents?

Let me tell you a secret: It’s those of us who care too much who battle the hardest.

Back to Stereotypes

Yes, I once ran for office. Twice actually. I won once. I lost once. I’ve never done it again, but that made me officially a politician. So if you put up a post that says all politicians are greedy or selfish or have shiny teeth you are making a generalization that includes me. 

The media likes to perpetuate this image. We hear the stories of the bad — the sex scandals, the corruption, the swamp, the money and favors from lobbyists. We don’t hear the stories of the good — the senator who goes out of her way to read to kids every Friday (no photo ops involved) or the ones who lose friends because they fight so hard for something they believe in.

So please stop generalizing about entire groups of people even politicians.

In Maine there are politicians in the state house who are barely scraping by, who earn $18,000 a year, who are serving because they are trying to make a difference and there are politicians who have millions, family legacies and very shiny teeth. 

They aren’t the same.

There are politicians who had dads who were truck drivers and politicians who had moms who were insurance CEOs. There are politicians who want to shove all special-ed kids in one school and politicians who find that morally reprehensible. 

They are politicians who are the daughters and sons of immigrants and those whose families have been here for centuries. There are politicians who are veterans, nurses, poets. There are politicians whose parents stood in the food line for cheese. There are politicians who have never spent the night in the woods. There are politicians who are gay, straight, female, male, asexual, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, atheist, agnostic.

They aren’t the same.

There are politicians who struggle hard to help. There are politicians who struggle hard to make a little extra cash on the side.

They aren’t the same. 

But here’s the other thing. Should it really be news that a presidential candidate has emotions? Shouldn’t we care about policies and ideas and skill-sets?

Shouldn’t we want our leaders to be human? Strong enough to have empathy? Strong enough to think beyond themselves?

A tiny moment of connection from a presidential candidate should be the norm. It should be the norm for all of us.

The Podcast

WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

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

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

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

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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


Actions Create Who You Are

Jean-Paul Satre believed that people are the only objects that create who they are by their actions. A plant is a plant. It doesn’t choose to be a lilac. If he’s poison ivy, he’s poison ivy.

But a person becomes a truck driver because his actions prove him to be a truck driver. A person becomes a lounge singer because he’s singing in a lounge.

It’s all about the actions.

This is something I need to remember while I’m writing, especially when I’m writing middle grade for some reason. Our characters become something by their actions. 

Harry Potter becomes a hero because he does heroic stuff, not because he tells ushe does heroic stuff, or because he wants to doheroic stuff. We believe he’s a hero because we read his actions of being a hero.

Life is like this, too. A person becomes an artist by creating art. A person becomes a hero by doing something heroic, not by claiming to do something heroic or thinking about it. A person embodies the traits of their office, position or religion by actually embodying those traits, not just talking about it. 

In life like in writing, it’s about showing not telling. It’s about actions not lip-service. 

Okay. I’m going to go revise now.

WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

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

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

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

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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

Author versus Mushrooms

As you know, I am a woman of obsessions.

I am obsessed with mushrooms. Like I legit love them.

I am obsessed with children’s book writing world and lately I’ve become obsessed about my time in a house in Ellsworth, Maine where one of these obsessions was growing in the wood trim outside my shower IN MY OLD HOUSE. 

I repeat: IN MY OLD HOUSE!

Spoiler:

It was not the children’s book writing world that was growing in the wood trim. It was mushrooms.

How wrong was that? 

Yes, I know I am a writer. I know I have some issues with doing certain things, but I swear to Stephen Colbert and all things holy that I did actually clean my bathroom.

Law enforcement officials, please note that I also vow that I awas not growing magic mushrooms for any illegal drug purposes.

Do you know what this meant? It meant that the mushrooms are there for some evil, nefarious purpose. 

It also meant that it was time for a – 

THREAT DOWN FOR CHILDREN’S BOOK WRITERS:

It’s hard to be a children’s writer. And it isn’t just book banners, angry reviewers who don’t like comma splices, or paper cuts we have to worry about, folks. Our very existence is being threatened. Our happy homes are being infiltrated. It’s a dangerous world out there. 

#1 Threat. 

Mushrooms.

We think they are cute. We think Smurfs live under their polka-dotted roof tops, but no … 

Really they are hanging out in our bathrooms waiting to strike, waiting to tell the world: LOOK AN ABSENT MINDED AUTHOR LIVES HERE AND SHE HAS NO CLEANING SKILLS! 

They are directly related to

# 2 Threat.

Spores.

Because let’s face it, mushrooms are releasing these babies possibly causing hallucinations. We could be breathing them in. They could be the true reason behind Green Eggs and Ham, behind Knuffle Bunny, behind my sudden allergy to laptop computers. And they could also be the reason for …

#3 Threat. 

Disembodied Voices in the Night. 

Every night this week, I’ve heard a woman’s voice. 

It’s said things like: Hufflepuffs.

Or maybe it was: Huff and puff. 

I’m not sure. But it’s waking me up and creeping me out. 

#4 Threat. 

Other children’s authors. 

Who other than other authors have obviously fed lines to the disembodied voice of the night. J.K. Rowling I’m talking to you! What am I going to hear next ? 

Can I ever sleep again? Soon I’ll be seeing Lisa Yee’s giant Peep floating across the room.

Enough is enough guys! Do you hear me? Enough is enough!

5. Mosquitos 

Colbert used to have a bear that was his big threat, but for me, it’s got to be the mosquitos behind this whole threat down. 

I’m covered in welts. 

I’m obsessing about past mushroom-home incidents. 

I’m actually blogging about it all.

Could someone just come over and sedate me now? Please…? That way I don’t have to work on this revision. 

WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

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

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

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

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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

What Was the Book That Made You a Reader

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

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

My daughter, Em, had just turned four. 

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

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

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

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

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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


Being Extra

So, sometimes Carrie is a little extra.

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

Shaun: But you have me.

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

What does this have to do with writing?

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

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

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

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

Audre Lorde

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

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

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

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

Writing Tip of the Pod:

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

Dog Tip for Life :

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


SHOUT OUT

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.


WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears in July with Steve Wedel. It’s scary. It’s a bit paranormal. It’s a bit romantic. And it’s one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019.

There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

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

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

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

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

Paragraph

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

Check it out here.

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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




Being Extra

 
 
00:00 / 00:24:47
 
1X
 

TIPS ON RIDING A MECHANICAL BULL

ACT NICE

1. Act nice to the short man with the white mustache who runs the gears for the mechanical bull. This is important once you get on said bull.

WONDER AND TOUCH

2. Wonder why the bull looks SO much bigger in person. Touch its horns but not too much, this annoys the bull driver man with the mustache.

WAVE GOODBYE

3. Wave to your friends. Who knows if you will ever see them again?

BOUNCE. TRY TO GET ON. BOUNCE MORE.

4. Bounce on your toes (if you are short, like me) and leap onto the bull, which is chest high if you are short. This is the WORST part of riding the mechanical bull for many people. If you are drunk this is hard. If you are an older man with a big belly and a good golf swing this is hard. If you weigh more than 110 pounds this is hard, unless you are a super athletic guy, or short (like me) and have no qualms about bouncing up and down to get enough momentum to sit astride the bull.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are even slightly cute and slightly female a lot of nice men who are more than slightly drunk will try to help you onto the bull. This is not because they are really nice. This is because they want to touch your butt.

SIT ON THE BULL

5. Look triumphant as people cheer the fact that you are able to actually sit on the bull.

PANT

6. Look shocked as you realize you’re already panting and THE BULL HASN’T STARTED MOVING YET.

CONSIDER PRAYER

7. Pray if you are the type to pray. Convert if you are the type not to pray.

HOLD ON

8. Hold on to rope.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are a man from Maine and you pull on your bicycling gloves, this will NOT help you stay on the bull. This is because millions of people in the audience (Maine’s entire population) will start yelling WUSS! WUSS! WUSS! at you and you will laugh so hard you’ll fall off before it starts.

pray for real

9. Pray again. PRAY FOR REAL THIS TIME unless you’re super-anti prayer and then maybe mumble mantras, look for Universe energy and drink some kombucha? Or vodka? Maybe just swig down some vodka.

DO NOT SCREAM

10. Ride the bull. It is okay to look stupid. It is not okay to scream. The bull-driver man with the mustache will MAKE you fall off if you scream. If you are a cute girl you will stay on the bull MUCH longer than anyone else even if you have no balance. Accept this. Bull-driver man doesn’t have that twinkle in his eye for nothing.

LEAN INTO IT,

11. Try to lean forward, back, and balance. Comment on how it seems as if they’ve put furniture polish (perhaps Pledge? It is a lemony smell) on the bull to make it slippery. Wonder if the bull likes it.

HOLD ON

12. Hold on to whatever you can hold onto, even bull-driving man.

spout cliches without the accent mark

13. Grab horns as you fall off. Hoist yourself back up by the bulls. You get bonus points for this AND you get to brag after by announcing to all,  YES, I TOOK THE BULL BY THE HORNS!

WINK

14. Wink at bull-driving mustache man. Do NOT do this if you are a boy, unless you think bull-driving mustache man is a big Brokeback Mountain fan, which he probably isn’t because only the ladies are staying on the bull for more than two seconds. 

GET COCKY LIKE AN ACTOR ON A YACHT OFF CANNES.

15. Get cocky. You’re on a bull. You’ve been on there for 40 seconds. Wave to your friends. Bow to your fans. Scream, I RULE THE WORLD. Look in mustached bull driver’s eyes. Uh-oh. You got cocky. His twinkling eyes turn evil. That bull is bucking a lot harder. You’re going to…

REGRET YOUR LIFE CHOICES.

16. FALL. Try to do this gracefully. It is impossible. So laugh and bounce back up. Thank God that you weren’t wearing a skirt. If you are wearing a skirt, thank God you’re wearing nice underwear. You are, aren’t you? 

PODCAST

To follow that up, I give you a podcast that talks about writing and poop texts. 


WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears JULY 16 with Steve Wedel.

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

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

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

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

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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

Writing simple can be complex

So lately I’ve been thinking (Amazing! I know!) about what it is to be an individual, and how as writers we can create individuals who mirror real life truths on our page.

“An individual is someone who cannot be neatly classified or categorized because he or she cannot be easily dissected or analyzed, divided into definable parts. The individual is, first and foremost, a being-unto-itself, a unique whole

Kevin L Stoehr, “You Who Philosophize Dylan” 

The problem is that people are hopefully complex, yet often in writing there’s this overall simplification of story and character that does not mimic that complexity. It seems like corporate media America has decided that people want simple things, which is fine, as long as there are also complex things to balance out literature, particularly children’s literature. And we all buy into it.

M. T. Anderson talks about something pretty similar in an interview with Joel Shoemaker in VOYA back in 1999.

But maybe that drive towards the simple is something that we should make little rebellions against. Maybe instead of following the grade-school description of what a story and genre should be, we should be fiddling around with that description.

Maybe instead of simplifying our characters we could expand them, make them more complex than hairstyles and clothing choices, than ‘good girl,’ ‘good boy,’ ‘bad child.’ And I’m not talking about giving the evil villain one redeeming quality, I’m talking about giving the evil villain a complex identity. 

Making Things Predictable

 When my daughter Em turned 13, she had one major gripe with the books she read. She said that most plots are too predictable. She said that most characters just have one defining trait, and well, that bored her.

 I’m just worrying that maybe we should be putting some emphasis back on complex stories and characters for the big-time readers who are losing their faith in books. I’m not saying to rid ourselves of the simple stories, I’m just saying we should embrace the complex, too. 

I guess, I’m just worried that in our surge to make lots of money by reaching massive audiences we are making out stories too simple, our genre choices too straight forward.

And we fall into traps because we’re so afraid nobody will buy or understand our books. We don’t want to scare off readers with something difficult to read. We want to keep things straight and common, no eccentric teachers, no bizarre-o main characters.  We make sure the character always has a clear want and they go after it. We make sure the main character isn’t too complicated. Some of us follow formulas and plotting rules, and that’s okay. It’s not bad. I just don’t want it to be the only way. And I don’t want the authors who brave themselves up enough to deviate to be blasted.

Someone asked me why I made Belle have seizures in TIPS ON HAVING A GAY (ex) BOYFRIEND and not have those seizures be an active part of her character development. Okay, first off, I did it because that’s how Belle is. Her epilepsy isn’t about her character any more than having thick hair is about her character. It doesn’t have to be.

It’s only by treating epilepsy as a condition rather than a defining character trait that we can:

  1. lessen the stigma of epilepsy
  2. create a character who is an individual

And obviously this doesn’t just apply to epilepsy. It applies to every condition and physical trait that can cause stigma. But we can’t do this is we make our characters too simple, too one dimensional. It’s only when we make complex INDIVIDUALS that we can really battle stigma and stereotyping and all those things that we don’t want to perpetuate. 

So what I want to know is what happens if we keep making narrative more and more simple. What happens to our minds? What happens to our books? Do we become numb? Do we look sideways at books that aren’t simple? Do we become so used to simple that we start believing it’s complex? And has that already happened? I hope not. I really, really hope not. 

Writing simple can be complex

But there’s another side to things. By making the choice to have a character have hobbies that aren’t necessary to the plot, to quote philosophers occasionally in a romance/horror novel? By making a science fiction origin story, clean and easy to read and focusing on a girl? To make a character have epilepsy but not be defined by it? Those are simple writing choices that can have complex ripples.

Don’t be afraid of the ripples.

Things Referenced

Joel Shoemaker, “Hungry . . . for M.T. Anderson: An Interview with M.T. Anderson,” VOYA 27, 2 (June 2004) 98-102.

“Bob Dylan and Philosphy.” Edited by Peter Vernezze and Car J. Porter. Chicago: Open Court Press, 2006 182-193.

PODCAST

To follow that up, I give you a podcast that talks about writing and poop texts.


WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

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

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

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

Check it out here.

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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


WE’VE BEEN MARRIED TOO LONG AND POOP TEXTS

We’ve Been Married Too Long and Poop Texts

Sometimes you get married and you’ve been married for a long time and you remember that the beginning of your marriage is like a poem and there’s white space and new discovery in every line. 

Sometimes you’ve been married a long time and it’s a routine, a science experiment that can be replicated. There can be beautiful comfort in a rut or a routine. 

Some people want life to be poems. 

Or not.

Some people want life to be expirments. 

Or not.

Some people like patterns to their lives and their books, but some people don’t.  

As writers and people, we have to decide if we want to be science experiments, or do we want poem moments again. Listen to the podcast to hear Shaun talk about poop texts, poop talks, Hallmark-quality texts and makes up brilliant poems and admits to excessive emoji use. Also, we haven’t really been married too long. 🙂

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Random things in your childhood come up in your poems and stories. It’s okay to not realize this until your siblings tell you.Also, poop is funny.  

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Dogs smell their poop. They are proud of it until they kick grass on top of it. Dogs are not afraid of the poopy side of life. Embrace your dark side, but then know that the things you poop away should stay away.  

Shout Out

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.


WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

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

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

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

Check it out here.

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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