Dressing up like a Flasher for Halloween and other weirdness

Loving the Strange
Loving the Strange
Dressing up like a Flasher for Halloween and other weirdness
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Hey! It’s our third in our October podcasts of LIVE Loving the Strange where we talk about spooky weirdness.

So thanks for hanging out as we talk about weird Halloween traditions and laws and food.

LINKS

https://www.thecoolist.com/strangest-halloween-traditions/

https://www.thecoolist.com/strangest-halloween-traditions/

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/photos/halloween-recipes

https://www.wicca.com/pagan-holidays/samhain.html

https://www.interproinc.com/blog/halloween-traditions-around-the-world

Man, That’s a Beautiful Mullet and How To Pace Your Novel

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Man, That's a Beautiful Mullet and How To Pace Your Novel
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Just like hanging out with a friend, or listening to an instructor drone on and on about the beauty of a mullet, the keys to controlling your novel’s pacing are language and conflict and scene sequence and stakes. We’re going to talk about those today.

What’s pacing?

It’s how fast or slow the story goes for the reader.

LANGUAGE IS A BIG WAY TO IMPACT PACE

Let’s start with word choice. The words you choose can speed up the reader or slow them down. The way the words are grouped on the page? Same thing.

  • Dialogue.
  • Short paragraphs.
  • Short sentences.
  • Action.

Those four things speed things up.

And these things below? They slow that story down.

  • Descriptive passages.
  • Long paragraphs.
  • Long sentences.
  • Abstract language.
  • A lot of talk about feelings.
  • Flashbacks.
  • Information dumps.

Special Help: If all your sentences are the same length and are constantly parallel in construction, you lull the reader to sleep. No sleeping readers, okay? You fall asleep, you run the risk of getting a mullet.

CONFLICT AND STAKES IS ANOTHER WAY TO IMPACT PACING

In the scenes you choose, there needs to be some stakes and some conflict.

Stakes happen when your reader cares about the character and is worried about what might happen to them if they don’t reach their goals. In every scene that stays in your book, there needs to be a stake and a goal.

You can’t just have your character chilling with her bestie if there’s no point in that chillin. You need obstacles and tension and the reader needs to think, “Yikes! What happens if they fail?”

It’s really one of the biggest things about pacing. Because not having conflict and stakes and tension? It makes the reader stop reading.

Scene Sequence Also Impacts Pace

And here it is. The big one. In your story, just like in your life, there will be action moments and turning points and then moments where you think about those big action moments.

Dwight Swain called these moments in a book scenes (the action moments) and sequels (the reflective moments).

Or as I like to call them, LOUD scenes and QUIET scenes. And you want these scenes to be balanced so that the reader doesn’t get bored or the opposite, scream “THIS IS TOO MUCH!!! AH! ANXIETY!”

Randy Ingermanson of the Snowflake method gives three components to each:

Active Loud Scene

  • Goal
  • Conflict
  • Disaster

Quieter Sequel Scene

  • Reaction
  • Dilemma
  • Decision

Pretty cool, right?

So, how do you put all this together?

  1. You want to look at the structure of your story and break it down. Make scenes and chapter cards or just a list.
  2. Look at where the story ramps up and slows down.
  3. Use those sentences and paragraphs and chapters and scene lengths to manipulate that pace.
  4. Think about if your characters are too introspective.
  5. Think about if your writing lacks any detail or does it have too much? Do you wax poetic about the mullet on your main character for 12 pages?
  6. Think about each of your scenes. Do they show character or plot development? Are there obstacles going on? Does your main character want something in the scene?
  7. Have people read it and ask if the story felt rushed or too slow and where?
  8. Remember we need slow paced scenes, too! Not just fast ones!

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Control your pacing; control your story.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Humans are always go-go-go. Life is too fast paced. Slow your roll so you can enjoy your belly rubs, walks, and treats.

LINKS MENTIONED

https://www.baynews9.com/fl/tampa/news/2021/10/10/pasco-4th-grader-in-the-running-for-america-s-best-mullet?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_axioslocal_tampa&stream=top

https://mulletchamp.com/

https://www.kiro7.com/news/trending/kid-mullet-champion-named-meet-allan-baltz-2021s-winner/I47UA62EZJAINHKCMEW2PJEN3Y/

https://www.dazeddigital.com/beauty/head/article/44884/1/mullet-subculture-hair-history

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.

best positive podcast - Be brave friday
Send your Be Brave Friday stories to us here! Just hit the contact form or message us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

People Want to Have Sex With Ghosts Shaun is One of Them

Loving the Strange
Loving the Strange
People Want to Have Sex With Ghosts Shaun is One of Them
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So, last week, our listeners requested (nay, demanded) that we talk about ghost sex in honor of Halloween week.

Shaun, of course, was all in.

Carrie, of course, was like, “Are you all serious?”

Yet, she’s conflict averse so here we go.

The first step to having Shaun’s fantasy come true is apparently attracting the ghost to your house. WE DO NOT SUGGEST TRYING THIS!

Over on SPEAKING OF THE DEAD (link in the podcast notes), there are a few ways/things that attract spooky spirits.

1.  Psychic abilities.

2.  Neglected homes with neglectful occupants.

3.  Passive people.

4.  Volatile people and relationships.

5.  Old houses.

6.  People obsessed with ghosts.

The next thing you have to determine is whether or not ghosts get all hot and bothered like a cast member of the Golden Girls.

According to higgy pop, yes, yes, they do. Oh, wait. No. Maybe?

The Cut goes in depth.

Origins
For as long as humans have been conscious of a spiritual realm, humans have dreamed, fantasized, and (some claim) experienced doing it with ghosts. Medieval legends told the tale of Succubus and Incubus, demons who would invade human bodies and have sex with them. It’s a long-standing, cross-cultural phenomenon, and one that probably isn’t going away anytime soon.

How Does It … Work?
Most people experience ghost sex as a dream, or as they’re falling into or out of sleep. Scientists estimate it’s because our brains are especially susceptible to hallucinations at those times.

Paranormal Activity 2 actress Natasha Blasick described her experience with ghost sex thusly:

Suddenly I could feel that somebody was touching me and the hands were pushing me against my will. And I could feel the weight of the body on top of me my body was pushed in different directions. And at first i w as very confused with all that, then I just decided to relax and it was really, really pleasurable.”

Also from The Cut (which I am now in love with):

Anna Nicole Smith famously had this to say about ghost sex in an interview with FHM in 2004:

“A ghost would crawl up my leg and have sex with me at an apartment a long time ago in Texas. I used to think it was my boyfriend, then one day I woke up and found it wasn’t.”

And Ke$ha made headlines in 2012 for claiming she too had boned a spirit. “It’s about experiences with the supernatural … but in a sexy way,” she told Ryan Seacrest on his radio show. “I had a couple of experiences with the supernatural. I don’t know his name! He was a ghost! I’m very open to it.”

RESOURCES

https://www.higgypop.com/news/do-ghosts-get-sexually-aroused/

https://www.speakingofthedead.com/how-to-attract-a-ghost/

https://www.thecut.com/2014/08/everything-you-need-to-know-about-ghost-sex.html

https://www.ranker.com/list/women-ghost-hookup-stories/jacob-shelton

https://www.yourghoststories.com/real-ghost-story.php?story=8117

https://www.bustle.com/articles/46546-7-celebrities-whove-had-sex-with-a-ghost-or-at-least-cuddled-with-one-in-honor

https://www.yourghoststories.com/real-ghost-story.php?story=8117

https://www.yourghoststories.com/real-ghost-story.php?story=12471

WORD! AWARD-WINNING ELLEN BOORAEM TALKS WRITING TIPS AND HOW SHAME KEEPS HER FROM GIVING IN TO PROCRASTINATION

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
WORD! AWARD-WINNING ELLEN BOORAEM TALKS WRITING TIPS AND HOW SHAME KEEPS HER FROM GIVING IN TO PROCRASTINATION
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The amazing writer and human, Ellen Booraem, spent nineteen years as a small-town journalist before quitting her day job to write four award-winning fantasies for readers ten and older (The Unnameables, Small Persons with Wings, Texting the Underworld and River Magic.

In this bonus podcast, we talked about Ellen’s writing tips to deal with writing blocks, the big leaps she took to start a fiction career at 52, and the incredibly cool WORD festival (the annual Blue Hill Maine literary arts festival) that’s coming up this October (which you should all check out).

We also touch on how working at a newspaper made us visual writers and trained us for fiction.  

Ellen volunteers as a writing coach for students in her local middle school and is a founding organizer for Word, the annual Blue Hill (Maine) literary arts festival. Having ventured from her early time as Alton Hall Blackington’s next door neighbor in coastal Massachusetts, she now lives in coastal Maine with her partner, painter Robert Shillady.

Publisher’s Weekly called Ellen’s latest novel, “A dense emotional core, resonant voice, and themes of grief, shifting friendships, and family enliven Booraem’s contemporary fantasy, reminding readers that ‘hope is everywhere.’

To find out more about Ellen and her books, check out Ellen’s website:

https://www.ellenbooraem.com/

To find out more about WORD (which is online this year), check out its website:

https://www.wordfestival.org/

And Word’s full schedule including workshops, art, and readings is here:

https://www.wordfestival.org/word-2021-full-schedule

Big Foot Fights and Trailer Sauce and No Flat Writing

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Big Foot Fights and Trailer Sauce and No Flat Writing
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A lot of writers will worry that their stories seem flat. There’s a reason that they are worrying about that and it’s one of the core elements of good writing.

Ready?

You want to vary your sentence structure.

Take a bit of writing that you’ve done that feels flat—or maybe even one that doesn’t. Count the words in your sentences for two or three paragraphs.

Are they all five words? Twelve? Twenty-seven?

That robotic sameness in sentence length is one of the main reasons that writing can feel flat.

It’s like those ancient Dick and Jane books.

See Dick run.

See Jane skip.

See Dick wave.

The other big bugger is when all of your sentences are simple and declarative.

I walk to the forest. The trees are gracious, tall. I inhale the pine scent.

There is actually a whole, entire world of different sentence styles that writers can use and when you use them? That’s when you make your writing shiny and sexy and all the good things.

The names for these structures are pretty boring, honestly, but we’ll try to look beyond that, right?

Simple – You have one main clause.

Carrie is the best wife.

Compound – You have more than one independent clause. You probably use a conjunction.

            Carrie wants to get another dog, but Shaun keeps saying no.

Complex – Oh, the sentence that probably has to pay for a therapist or is reading Foucault obviously in the park. This sentence has an independent clause and a subordinate clause. It’st the BDSM of sentences.

            When hell freezes over, we will allegedly get another dog.

Compound-Complex – It sounds like a place with a cult, right? But it’s just a sentence with at least two independent clauses and one subordinate clause.

Carrie really needs a new dog to love, so Shaun said that they would get one when hell freezes over, so Carrie immediately got some dry ice and sent some down to Lucifer.

Refresher moments:

What’s a clause? A bunch of words chilling out together and one of those words in the group is a verb and another is a noun. Fancy people call the verb, the predicate, but we aren’t fancy here.

What’s an independent clause? It is a bunch of words that has a subject and a predicate. It is grammatically complete all by itself and doesn’t need anyone. Not any other words to stand alone! Darn it.

What’s a subordinate or dependent clause? A bunch of words that needs other words to be a sentence. This poor beautiful baby cannot stand alone and be complete, kind of like a  protagonist in a Hallmark romance.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Vary your sentence structures and don’t be flat.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Variety is good. Don’t eat the same Milkbones all the time. Mix it up.

Be fluffy.

Resources Mentioned in the podcast:

https://nypost.com/2021/09/17/teen-gets-usb-cable-stuck-in-penis-in-attempt-to-measure-length/

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/weird/article251950768.html#storylink=mainstage_card

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.

best positive podcast - Be brave friday
Send your Be Brave Friday stories to us here! Just hit the contact form or message us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

Play Projects for Writers – Find Joy in 30 Days

The process feels completely counter-intuitive at first because it requires that you stop fretting about your ideal work or how you could ever get paid – and start doing something.

Last month I decided that I was going to write a poem a day and post them on Medium.

This was a big deal for me because:

  1. My first published writing was poems even before I went into the newspaper world.
  2. I really wanted to be a poet when I grew up.
  3. I am super vulnerable when it comes to sharing my poems (even more than my art, actually).
  4. I have a lot of hang-ups about being a poet. Poets have a voice. I didn’t think I had one for a long time. I was too poor, too raw, too lacking in a million ways.

But I called it a play project and I did it. And it was so much fun. It was fun to take a break from novels and editing and coaching and just play at something totally different, something with no expectations.

A lot of writers I work with forget to play with their writing. They spend a lot of time fixated on one project or one purpose/goal—to get published, to get to 80,000 words, to get an agent.

That’s all lovely.

Until it isn’t.

Sometimes, our hyper-fixation on goals (when it comes to art or writing) and our desire to make a living at it, keeps us from playing and exploring and growing.

Some of us don’t want to grow or play and that’s fine, too! There’s no one way to be a writer and no one reason to and a lot of us only do it to make a living.

This post is probably not for those writers though. Sorry!

So what is this play project thing?

I first saw the idea in Marianne Catwell’s book, but it emerged at least a decade ago.

According to John Williams (from his website, Screw Work, Let’s Play):

The core of the programme is getting the participants to launch a play project – a 4 week project that will be fun to do and explores an area of work or creativity they feel drawn to. 

He continues by saying:

The process feels completely counter-intuitive at first because it requires that you stop fretting about your ideal work or how you could ever get paid – and start doing something. If you are stuck on that very first question “What would I enjoy?” you will benefit hugely from this. At a later stage, you can create further play projects to move you towards getting paid.

Here’s why Play Projects are the bomb-diggity:

You get into action at last so you don’t feel powerless over your life any more

You find out what you enjoy, what you don’t, what you’re good at, what you’re not so good at – all extremely useful information for your future work direction

It’s fun – you get your creative juices going again – and this is a much better state in which to make career decisions and make them happen. As one participant on our programme said “This has affected every area of my life – people are commenting that I haven’t looked this good in ages!”

Once you’re out in the world on the move, you meet a lot more interesting people and opportunities – sometimes you even land some paid work without really trying to!

What are the rules?

According to Marianne Cantwell and Williams:

  1. Pick a project that gets you excited.
  2. Make it something you can complete in 30 days.
  3. Have a tangible product at the end — Like three blog posts, 20 poems, 3 picture books.
  4. Make time for it. Put in 30 minutes a day or just three days a week. Be all Nike ad and “just do it.”
  5. Start

The key is to give yourself the freedom of thinking of these as mini projects, as play, but focused play. And then as you do it, it’s cool to ask yourself questions like:

Is this fun?

Why am I avoiding doing this?

Holy crud, do I hate this?

And for me? I found out that I loved writing poems every day.

Actually, I love it so much that I am still doing it (with weekends off) and I’m having the best time making new friends on MEDIUM (where I’m posting those poems) and exploring new groups of writers and poets and myself.

So, how about you? What’s your play project going to be?

WEIRD, WILD DRINKING TRADITIONS and a LADY WHO CRUSHES THINGS WITH HER BREASTS

Loving the Strange
Loving the Strange
WEIRD, WILD DRINKING TRADITIONS and a LADY WHO CRUSHES THINGS WITH HER BREASTS
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This week’s podcast is all about the weird, wild drinking traditions in our world, plus some random facts, which led us down a wormhole (thanks, Dee!) to discover a woman who crushes things with her breasts.

We hope she’s okay. Allegedly, she has a house on an island in Maine. Maybe we’re neighbors?

RESOURCES

https://www.thrillist.com/vice/17-weird-drinking-laws-from-around-the-world-crazy-liquor-laws

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/worlds-strangest-drinking-customs_n_5758554

https://www.lastnightoffreedom.co.uk/ideas/drinking-traditions-around-the-world/

You Should Start Your Own Publishing Company – Be Brave Friday

what if you started your own publishing imprint? You’ve already got a great platform, a well-developed brand and access to a ton of talented writers, many of whom, like me, are struggling to launch their stories into the world.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
You Should Start Your Own Publishing Company - Be Brave Friday
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IT’S BE BRAVE FRIDAY WHERE SHAUN OR I (FROM DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE AND LOVING THE STRANGE AND JUST BEING AN AUTHOR IN MAINE) SHARE PEOPLE’S UNEDITED, UNFILTERED STORIES, SO WE CAN ALL CELEBRATE THE BIG AND LITTLE BRAVE THINGS WE DO ALL THE TIME.

SOMETIMES WE DON’T EVEN REALIZE WE’RE BEING BRAVE.

I’ve been reading your stuff on Patreon and Medium and loving it, as always. I keep having this crazy idea pop up in my head, so I’m finally going to go out on a limb–it’s Be Brave Friday, right?–and ask you about it.

You’ve likely already thought about doing this. Also, it’s probably not realistic. Then again, maybe it would be amazing!

So here goes:  what if you started your own publishing imprint? You’ve already got a great platform, a well-developed brand and access to a ton of talented writers, many of whom, like me, are struggling to launch their stories into the world.

I’m so tired of reading excellent work by wonderful humans, but knowing it has little chance of reaching readers. Most authors barely have time to write, much less launch their own platforms, etc., even if they choose to self-publish. An imprint like yours could lend legitimacy to a whole swath of quirky life-affirming stories and help those stories reach the readers who need to hear them. 

I know that you’re already working 24/7 to create your own content and run your own business. And I imagine the benefits to you would be quite small, though ultimately something like this would likely give you some marginal financial returns and increase your visibility, too.

That being said, I’m looking for a cause to devote myself to, so I’d be more than willing to write up a mission statement/business proposal and contribute my time, talents and even some limited financial resources on an ongoing basis. I’m guessing a whole lot of gifted writers, editors and designers would be willing to do the same. I know, I know: this is a giant, wild and probably foolish idea, but it wouldn’t stop nagging me.

I love and admire you. I want your stories and stories like yours to reach everyone. I want good humans to flourish. And now I feel scared and silly for saying all of this aloud. But I said it anyway, and that’s a win, right? 

Sending you all kinds of love,


BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

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?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


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 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

He Built a Guitar Out of His Uncle’s Skeleton And Over-explaining Makes Bad Writing

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
He Built a Guitar Out of His Uncle's Skeleton And Over-explaining Makes Bad Writing
/

Authors, let’s just admit it. We’re insecure.

Writing is communication and we want to make sure that our readers are getting what we’re putting down (Translation: Understanding what we’re saying).

So, what do we do?

We over-explain.

And that over-explaining slows down our pacing and makes our reader not want to read anymore.

There are lots of bigger ways of overexplaining.

And what is overexplaining? It’s when you just keep adding things on to make your reader get what you’re saying.

Like this:

Shaun punched the wall. He was so angry he could spit. His hands clenched into tight fists. “What kind of butthead are you?” he roared.

So, all four of those sentences tell us the same thing.

Shaun is angry.

You can cut down that to one or two and the reader is still going to get it. Trust the reader’s brains. Trust yourself.

Here’s a rewrite.

Shaun punched the wall. “What kind of butthead are you?”

But it’s not just in long passages that us writer people do this. We do it in short bits too.

Here are some big ones.

            She shrugged her shoulders. (She shrugged)

            He nodded his head in agreement. (He nodded) or (He agreed)

            They shook their head no. (They shook their head)

            He looked at his watch to check the time. (He checked the time)

Other things we do is

            Tell something that we just showed. (Shaun punched the wall. He was so angry.)

            Add in a dialogue tag that we don’t need, (the she said/they asked) when we don’t need it.

            Add in silly adverbs that we don’t need.

            Add in a bunch of statements all saying the same thing. (See that original example).

Acting like the reader is stupid. (Of course we know the person is nodding their head. We don’t think they are nodding their butt.)

            Info dumps

When you do this over-explaining thing you:

  1.  Slow down the pace
  2. Ruin the subtext.
  3. Break my heart.
  4. Make the scenes dull. Over-explaining takes out the pizzazz.
  5. It takes away the immediacy and the forward motion of the plot and scene.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Be all one and done, people. Trust the reader to get it. Trust your skills to communicate well.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE.

If you want a treat, sit in front of the pantry and drool on the floor.

LINKS WE TALK ABOUT IN THE PODCAST

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article254523322.html

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article254523322.html

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.

best positive podcast - Be brave friday
Send your Be Brave Friday stories to us here! Just hit the contact form or message us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

Helping Toxic People Even When They Didn’t Help You – Be Brave Friday

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Helping Toxic People Even When They Didn't Help You - Be Brave Friday
/

It’s Be Brave Friday where Shaun or I (from Dogs are Smarter than People and Loving the Strange and just being an author in Maine) share people’s unedited, unfiltered stories, so we can all celebrate the big and little brave things we do all the time.

Sometimes we don’t even realize we’re being brave.

Here’s Jordan’s brave story and we are so grateful, Jordan, for you trusting us and sending it in. So much love to you.

So I don’t know how long this is going to take me to put this together. I’ve really thought a lot, back and forth, about whether or not to even reply with this, but I think I’m going to, just for a sense of talking to someone outside of my normal circle.

I know this isn’t probably what you were looking for when you mentioned a story, but this is something that’s just been weighing on my mind for a little while now.

Back in 2014, when I was still a freshman in college, I made the decision to start coming out to my family. My mom had been estranged for reasons that is a whole other story. She’s not the same person she was when I was growing up, so it’s hard to really gauge who she is as a person at any given day.

When I wanted to open myself up a bit and come out to her, she responded in a way I assumed she would, being married to a southern church-going bible-thumper–she told me “I don’t agree with that” and to not bring it around my sister (who was 10 at the time).

I was very disappointed and went on with my life. I kept my mom at a distance because if she didn’t want part of my life to be highlighted, I wasn’t going to filter that. She just wasn’t going to get any of it.

I went through my college career. Struggled, thrived. Made friendships and experiences that have changed my life completely. I reluctantly invited her to my graduation, not even knowing for sure if she’d come–simply because that meant that she would actually have to make the trip.

Cut to 2020, where it’s the hell year for everyone. I’ve moved back to where I grew up to be closer to a few family members of mine. My mom begins communicating with me to inform me that her marriage has fallen apart due to infidelity and other personal things going on.

My concern only lied with my sister. She’s a young adult now but she still has no skills of being able to navigate the craziness that will surely come about with my mom. My mom never knew how to do anything for herself, and she always burned any bridges she made with people, so no one was ever at the ready to help her if she needed it. I knew that if I didn’t step in, my sister was really going to have an even worse time than she was already.

I took time off of work to get my aunt (her sister) to help me find a place where my mom could live. Having no income and no job experience in the last 18 years was going to be extremely tough, but time was of the essence. I managed to find a place and help her get moved in.

Honestly, I wanted either two things to happen. I wanted her to just leave it at that, and not communicate with me any more, or I wanted her to change back to who I knew she was when she was someone I looked up to.

I find it hard to find that kindness inside myself and have to go out of my way to constantly help her when she chooses to not help herself. I don’t know if its actual “trauma” but there are so many hurtful things and happenings that she doesn’t acknowledge or anything.

In her mind, she may believe that it never did, but the things she said, she still said. My mom has never accepted any kind of responsibility for herself and that just takes a toll after a while.

My mom has shoulder surgery next week and I’m dreading it more than anything because I know she’s going to need help and the only one who can offer it or is even remotely even willing to, is going to be me. It’s hard enough working in the public during an ongoing pandemic, in a southern state where the government could care less about the constituents dropping like flies.

Now I have to find a balance of keeping my income at a steady rate while also babysitting my impossible mother.

The past year and a half or so, I made a vow to myself to try and keep a positive outlook and not to lurk so much in negativity. This situation kind of makes me feel like I can’t do this without kindness but it’s so hard for me to feel like I can put kindness forward in this. I know this isn’t your problem, and this may be heavier than what you expected in any kind of responses to this?

I’m not even 100% sure that this message is a solid, coherent thought. At times in this scenario, I feel like I’m a bad person, but at the same time, I don’t care if it does. Even growing up, I always felt like the kingpin of my family. Like, if I wasn’t there to hold everyone together, it would all just fall apart and the damage couldn’t be undone.

To the point where, now, I would rather be isolated and alone than have to worry about it. I guess my question through all of this is how can you put forth kindness in a situation that just constantly drains you? I know it’s not really a comprehensible question but a part of me just wanted to type these thoughts out because I feel like if I mentioned it to anyone close to me here, it would make me seem (for lack of a better word, this really isn’t the right one) like a sociopath.

I think you’re a wonderful person, Carrie, and I’m very sorry if this was exhausting to read or just too impersonal in any way, but thank you for even just presenting me with the idea of being able to just send a thought out to another person, whom I weirdly I feel I can trust with that thought. I hope life is treating you properly, and I am wishing you all of the peace and joy that I can. 

– All the love,

  Jordan

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best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

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The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

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