Beauty and Love are About More Than Makeup and Fashion

But you know what real, real beauty is? It is the beauty that one individual sees when they look at the love of their life! It is the beauty that starts at a certain younger age and never changes through the years, no matter how much time passes!

Sometimes Shaun is swoon worthy.

On Thursday, my co-podcaster, Shaun, and husband guy, takes over the blog.

He’s adorable. I hope you’ll read what he says even if he does occasionally sound like a surfer dude from the 1990s.

I am sure that there must be a name or a scientific explanation for what I am about to talk about, but I will tell you up front that I am too lazy to look it up and will be simply speaking from my own experience here. So, let’s get started!

If I was to title this blog post, I would call it, Humanity, the Gateway to Love. And not everyone may be able to relate to this because I think it takes some life experience, some maturity and possibly just some plain ol’ years on this planet to understand.

Beauty, what is it? The first answer that comes to my mind is that it is not the popular construct of television and social media. That is mostly makeup and great camera work! Real beauty is the ability to feel attractive and not have to wear makeup or feel pressured to do so. Real beauty is the ability to be secure in who are and not have to worry about people fawning over you all of the time. Real beauty is the ability to not even think about applying makeup, not worry about wearing the latest fashion or having the newest electronic device and still being able to leave the house, socialize and treat others as though they are your equal, nothing better and certainly nothing less!

But you know what real, real beauty is? It is the beauty that one individual sees when they look at the love of their life! It is the beauty that starts at a certain younger age and never changes through the years, no matter how much time passes! It is the beauty that allows an eighty-year-old person to look at their eighty-year-old partner and see the exact same beauty (or more) as when they were both twenty!

This is true beauty, not built on purely physical traits but rather the totality of the circumstances for which one fell in love. Personality, intellect, the ability to relate, the ability to deal with life’s greatest challenges and life’s greatest humors, and depth of soul and heart are what make up a human’s beauty! These should be the characteristics which we look at or for in another human.

Yes, this is a mixed bag post as I am speaking both of general socialization and interaction and I am also talking about love and partnership. Leave the physical qualities out of the picture and treat one another as humans who are something much greater than their skins. As a world we will all benefit from this approach and as an individual you will too. If you happen to be looking for love, this will help you find everlasting love. As someone who was lucky enough to check all these qualities off in another, I can tell you that the beauty of your partner will never diminish as a result, no matter how old you are!

Love Your Way Through It,

Shaun

our cute cats

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 INTERACT MORE.

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 260,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the weird, dumb, strange things people eat. And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the the how to make your story thrilling and Carrie learning that people sunbathe their testicles. We’re classy like that.


And Carrie has a new book coming out! In June! You can pre-order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

It’s my book! It’s coming out June 1! Boo-yah!

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

Goat Voyeurs UFOs are Everywhere and Why You Should Write B Stories

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Goat Voyeurs UFOs are Everywhere and Why You Should Write B Stories
/

Screenwriter Blake Snyder and his Save the Cat method really made the term/lingo “B” story and “A” story super popular. And I think sometimes that damn “B” story gets us all confused a bit, right?

So, basically let’s just go over the terms first.

What the heck is an A story and a B story?

The A story is the book or movie’s big essence. People call it the “dramatic” core. It is the big plotline that the hero of the story follows on her journey.

The B story is the subplot basically. It supports the “A” story. It sometimes feels absolutely unrelated.

The FlyingWrestler blog defines it.

“It’s a secondary story that has its own beginning, middle and end, and is focused on its own problem, separate from but intertwined with the A Story.”

The scriptmag writes ,

“The B Story is your character’s secondary motivation or mission – the OTHER thing they have to accomplish. Your B Story may be a second problem or issue that your main character has to fix. And while your A-Story presents itself at the inciting incident and is solidified at the end of the first act with the acceptance of the adventure, your B-Story often can’t be identified UNTIL the second act begins, because it’s what is illuminated by the adventure beginning.

The FlyingWrestler blog again says,

“Just like the main A Story, the B Story’s main character should have a problem involving something external, which has its own significant life stakes. That means the problem isn’t only an internal issue, involving their need to grow and change in some way.”

So, the question becomes: Does my story have a B story? Or is it all A?

You don’t have to have a B story, but it can be helpful.

“The classic use of B Story in a movie is a romantic relationship that is secondary to a non-romantic A Story. The potential romantic partner often pressures the main character, intentionally or not, to deal with their “stuff,” and consider changing. But as with most such internal growth, the character doesn’t engage in it willingly, with “growth” as the goal. No, characters (like real people) tend to avoid change, until really significant external problems force them into it. Typically the pressures of both the A and B Story problems combine to do that. But even then, the hero usually doesn’t really change until some key moment in the final act where they (usually) snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

“But first, both A and B Story usually reach a rock bottom “All is Lost” moment. So if the B Story is about a relationship, it’s usually broken and over at that point, as are the main character’s hopes for their A Story goal. They will have one last chance to try to solve both in the final act.

Flying Wrestler

If the B Story is a romantic relationship, something has to be in the way of it. It has to be focused on a conflict, and not going well. If two people fall for each other and get together and have a lot of sex, etc., without some looming threat to the relationship, that’s not a story. That’s a positive development for the main character. And we audiences get bored by positive developments. We thrive on problems and conflicts.

Scriptmag gives a great example:

The Wizard of Oz – Dorothy’s A-Story is to find the Wizard and get home, but the B-Story becomes helping Oz and her new friends. She had no idea she was going to have to do that until the adventure began.

Usually when a crisis happens the B story acts like John Wayne in a movie and comes in and saves the A story. They merge and the reader goes, “Ah! They were connected the whole damn time. Doh!”

This is true about life, too, right? We all want to become writers, but then we have this B story of another career or self-sabotage and we might resist it, and then it’s like? Will our B story come save our A story?

But that’s about us as writers, not our actual books. So let’s get back to that.

The B story or subplot changes how your reader sees the main plot, right?

What does the B story actually do for you? Because it’s all about you, right? Of course it is!

It allows you to bulk out your story, but it can sometimes add too much bulk to your story.

It can help with pacing and structure. It’s especially helpful if you make things really dangerous for those minor characters early on while things are kind of still in the set-up for the main characters. This is a bit of a variant from Snyder’s plot form, which tends to insert that B Story at the end of act one.

It allows you to skip boring scenes in the A story sometimes. How does it do that? By creating a jump to another character or another moment/interest.

If you do use other characters to carry that B story, then you have to make sure the reader is interested enough in those other characters. Like in Lord of the Rings. Tolkein puts everyone into smaller units. They each get their own goals. Each group gets their own plotlines. And in the finale every one of those groups matter.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Don’t be afraid to be complicated. A good novel isn’t a picture book and you want there to be a subplot.


DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Don’t be a one-trick wonder. Have multiple goals and live life to the fullest. Don’t just be an A story.

THINGS WE TALKED ABOUT IN RANDOM THOUGHTS

For more about Lego theft, check out here on NPR.

More about UFOs? Check out this NYT article.

RESOURCES

Script.mag has a great article here.

Here’s the Flying Wrestler’s take that we’ve quoted.

And the peeping-tom goat is all here.

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 strange habits.

Spicing Up Your Life

A refrigerator is like life. It is full of culinary experiences which we often take for granted and for many of us, are often the same week after week.

On Thursday, my co-podcaster, Shaun, and husband guy, takes over the blog.

He’s adorable. I hope you’ll read what he says even if he does occasionally sound like a surfer dude from the 1990s.

An adorable Florida man who moved to Maine

Hi folks!

I hope that you have had a wonderful week since I last wrote my Thursday blog post. One of my favorite things to do as of late is the new podcast that Carrie and I have been doing live on Friday evenings at 7 p.m. eastern time.

It is called Loving the Strange and usually we speak on topics such as ghosts, Bigfoot, lucid dreaming and anything not ordinary. However, this week we are going to be doing a hot chicken wing eating episode and are inviting our viewers to ask us questions during the podcast, similar to the show Hot Ones.

I Swear This Isn’t An Ad

I know that first paragraph sounded like a big advertisement for our podcast, and it was sort of, but in actuality I was giving some background for the rest of this blog.

Before I sat down and started typing I was starting to prepare for tomorrow night’s podcast. It is way too soon to start frying delicious chicken wings (Carrie is eating fake vegan wings, blech!), but I thought that I would start inventorying our hot sauce and picking out the ones for us to use, with Carrie’s input of course.

Note from Carrie: I have so far had no input.

We will start with the more mild sauces and work our way up to the hottest sauce that we have. Considering that we have 22 different bottles of hot sauce in our refrigerator, we will be skipping many of them because we will each only be eating six wings on the podcast. I am getting off track again, sorry!

My real point is that when I opened the refrigerator and thought about our hot sauces and how they change or enhance the taste of food I realized that a refrigerator is like life. It is full of culinary experiences which we often take for granted and for many of us, are often the same week after week.

How many of us just go through the motions of life and never spice it up with a dash of heat?

Making life more interesting and less mundane can be as simple as opening a “bottle” of hot life sauce and letting some fly. It is exciting, exhilarating, and oh so much better than just leading the same old bland existence all of the time!

Try it please!

Take a moment at the beginning of each day and say to yourself, “Self, how can I spice up my day today?”

You can choose a mild life spice or an insanely hot life spice depending on your mood. Just remember that the hotter and more adventurous the life spice you choose is, to use a corresponding amount less. It’s the same as food spice. If you use too much life spice, it can totally ruin the experience.

If you can’t bring yourself to add any life spice right now, you should at least watch our podcast on Friday. I guarantee that we will be feeling the effects of the hot sauces by the end and as long as Carrie can keep her fingers out of hers eyes it should be humorous.

Till then, start with some mild life spice and Love Your Way Through It!

Peace,

Shaun

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 INTERACT MORE.

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 260,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the weird, dumb, strange things people eat. And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the the how to make your story thrilling and Carrie learning that people sunbathe their testicles. We’re classy like that.


And Carrie has a new book coming out! In June! You can pre-order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

It’s my book! It’s coming out June 1! Boo-yah!

We Got Our Shots and Damn, We’re Lucky

But, you know what? Prior to COVID, and I am sure that it will be the same after, there were millions of people whose everyday existence was not far off from what mainstream society has been so truly shaken by this past year. Remember this!

On Thursday, my co-podcaster, Shaun, and husband guy, takes over the blog.

He’s adorable. I hope you’ll read what he says even if he does occasionally sound like a surfer dude from the 1990s.

An adorable Florida man who moved to Maine
An adorable Florida man who moved to Maine

Some days are not like the others. Some days are days you never really thought that you would have to live out. Carrie and I got our first round of COVID vaccination today and I don’t think that we are going to post about it on social media, we are just not that kind of people.

Getting the vaccine is exciting in a way, but mostly just having a sense of security that if we do get COVID, you know ten or more days after our second dose, that it may not be that bad and most likely won’t kill us.

However, I must say that it was really a great experience and the hospital running the setup at the Cross Insurance Arena in Bangor, Maine really has it down. We were there a total of 45 minutes and 15 of that was waiting for the doors to open because we were the first appointments of the day. So, a big shout out to all of those professionals and volunteers making that happen!

Basically we had a good morning. Then this afternoon we had to go see our tax man.

Bummer dude!

I think this particular visit fits under both categories, days not like the others and days you never really thought that you would have to live out. I shall say no more other than we are fine and really, we are truly lucky that we owe Uncle Sam so much money. We are lucky that we are not having to choose between food or rent this month. We are lucky that we have friends to talk to on Zoom meetings once or twice a week. We are lucky to have another human being in our house to say, “thank you, I appreciate you and I love you” to us and for us to say the same to them!

It has been a very strange year and hopefully we are coming up on an incredible turning point.

People need a break! People need to work, go to school, get out of the house, travel and just be able to socialize like before COVID.

But, you know what? Prior to COVID, and I am sure that it will be the same after, there were millions of people whose everyday existence was not far off from what mainstream society has been so truly shaken by this past year. Remember this!

Remember that there are people who need you to say hi and smile at them for no reason.

There are people who need to socialize and have friends.

There are people who need to feel loved.

I truly believe that if every single person would take the opportunity to say hello and say one thing nice to a stranger every day, the world would be a much better place!

Not only do such actions make the receiver feel better, they most definitely help the giver feel better as well. I challenge you to try this every time that you are out in public or have contact with someone whom you do not see on a daily basis for a week, or a month if you don’t get out much, and see how much of a difference you can make.

Thank you for reading my feel good post, which I really do believe in, and I hope you will give it a go.

As always, Love Your Way Through It!

Shaun

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.

LOVING THE STRANGE

It’s my book! It’s coming out June 1! Boo-yah!

Ghosties, Ghoulies, and Things That Go Bump in the Night

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Ghosties, Ghoulies, and Things That Go Bump in the Night
/

On this week’s LOVING THE STRANGE, we talk about:

  1. Shaun’s criminal past as a Florida man
  2. A ghost in Bar Harbor
  3. How you should check your facts before printing your ghost story
  4. How you can use ghosts to your advantage to scare the children
  5. How jump scares keep you alive.
  6. A haunted Elsa doll.

RESOURCES AND WORKS CITED

https://www.yourtango.com/2015276237/8-weird-reasons-weirdos-are-the-best-people-to-love

https://q1065.fm/have-you-seen-acadias-ghost-cat/

https://www.ranker.com/list/maine-creepy-stories-legends/isadora-teich

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 INTERACT MORE.

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 260,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the weird, dumb, strange things people eat. And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the the how to make your story thrilling and Carrie learning that people sunbathe their testicles. We’re classy like that.


And Carrie has a new book coming out! In June! You can pre-order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

It’s my book! It’s coming out June 1! Boo-yah!

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 260,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the weird, dumb, strange things people eat. And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the the how to make your story thrilling and Carrie learning that people sunbathe their testicles. We’re classy like that.


And Carrie has a new book coming out! In June! You can pre-order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

Stop Giving The F-Word and Just Succeed

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Stop Giving The F-Word and Just Succeed
/

The other night Shaun and I imbibed some alcohol and I declared that to not have a who-gives-a-swear-word attitude is to be compliant.

This made Shaun really happy.

I said it because I was talking about authors and politics and being afraid to say what you think because you are afraid of backlash. I’ve been listening to a lot of entrepreneurs and marketers who all preach putting your authentic self out there so that your group of supporters are supporting the real you, not some fake, shadow version that’s trying to appeal to everyone.

Shaun said “Google authors who struggled and said, ‘F-it, did a 360, and found success.”

This was hard to do, actually. There was no nice search results for that. But one thing it brought up was the infamous book called, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*&k.”

In the article of the same name (Link is in the podcast notes), Mark Manson wrote,

“Chances are you know somebody in your life who, at one time or another, did not give a f- and went on to accomplish amazing feats. Perhaps there was a time in your life where you simply did not give a f- and excelled to some extraordinary heights. I know for myself, quitting my day job in finance after only six weeks and telling my boss that I was going to start selling dating advice online ranks pretty high up there in my own “didn’t give a f-” hall of fame. Same with deciding to sell most of my possessions and move to South America. F-s given? None. Just went and did it.”

There’s a lot of stupid minutiae that we go around giving too many f’s about daily, isn’t there? And that? It drains are energy for the things that are important to care about.

Manson goes on and says, “Indeed, the ability to reserve our f-s for only the most f-worthy of situations would surely make life a hell of a lot easier. Failure would be less terrifying. Rejection less painful. Unpleasant necessities more pleasant and the unsavory s-word sandwiches a little bit more savory. I mean, if we could only give a few less f-s, or a few more consciously-directed f-s, then life would feel pretty f-ing easy.”

There are a lot of super famous authors who struggled for a bit before hitting success. Toni Morrison. Stephen King. Raymond Chandler. Margaret Atwood. Frank McCourt. Madeleine L’Engle, a much lauded children’s book author, almost stopped writing after getting a rejection on her fortieth birthday.

She is quoted as saying, “I had to write … If I never had another book published, and it was very clear to me that this was a real possibility, I still had to go on writing,” she claimed.

Her book, A Wrinkle in Time was rejected twenty-six times and then was a smash hit, winning the John Newbury Medal.

She stopped giving a f about it being a waste of time, feeling guilty that she wasn’t financially contributing, and did it.

Or think of someone who isn’t a writer-writer. Jay-Z tried to get a record deal from everyone in 1995. No company would sign him. He didn’t let their lack of vision or support define him. No. Instead, he didn’t give a f- about what they said and made his own record company. Then the same thing happened as he tried to make a distribution deal. He also allegedly stabbed someone at a record release party, so that might be taking the not giving a f a little too far, but seriously? The guy has done so much and become such an influence.

Still though, no stabbing.

So, how about you? What’s holding you back? What are you wasting your energy on?

Writing Tip of the Pod

What would you write if you did not give a f- about whatever is holding you back?

Dog Tip for Life

Embrace who you are and don’t give a f- about what other dogs think of you. They don’t know your story. You get to be you.


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.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 260,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the weird, dumb, strange things people eat. And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the the how to make your story thrilling and Carrie learning that people sunbathe their testicles. We’re classy like that.


And Carrie has a new book coming out! In June! You can pre-order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!


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.


NEW BOOK ALERT!

My little novella (It’s spare. It’s sad) is out and it’s just $1,99. It is a book of my heart and I am so worried about it, honestly.

There’s a bit more about it here.

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

How Do You Defy Expectations

When my super cool daughter Em, was in sixth or seventh grade she was in the newspaper for doing this logrolling day with Timber Tina at the Great Maine Lumberjack Show.

This place is where she studied logrolling all summer and is where she battled seven boys, trying to knock them off logs by fancy footwork and all that. Timber Tina (she was on Survivor for one show and then went back for a reunion show, too and is amaze-balls)is a professional world-class lumber jill. The log rolling day was in honor of her son Charlie, this absolutely amazing guy who died that same summer. He was really young, still in his teens.

The picture was hilarious because of the boys in the background staring after she’s knocked off one of their own.

That night the issue came out, Em plopped on her bed, nuzzled under the covers and said, “I can’t believe I’m in the paper.”

I smiled. “It’s great. You should be proud.”

She hugged her stuffed kitty (appropriately named Kitty Kitty) to her chest. “I bet I’m the only cheerleading logroller.”

“At least in Ellsworth, Maine,” I added. “And don’t forget you’re also a stunt girl.”

She as named Stunt Girl at a Stunt Camp in California. It’s this big stunt camp honor. The stunt camp was all about jumping off buildings and stuff. All of this mattered because when people looked at Em, they didn’t think Brave Girl or Logrolling Girl or Stunt Girl. They tended to think Smart Girl, Brilliant Girl, Very Polite Girl, Artistic Girl, Pretty Girl.

“Aren’t you going to tell me I defy stereotypes?” she asked that night, holding out her arms for a hug.

I hugged her back. “You already know.”

Why This Matters And Isn’t Just A Braggy Mom Post

And as I remember all this, thanks to some pretty good written records, I’m sort of struck by how brave Em has always been to defy the expectations of what people think small, brainy, artistic girls are going to be doing. She was a cheerleader and a log roller. She jumped off buildings. She got into Harvard and Dartmouth all on her own. No mommys and daddys buying buildings here folks. She was a field artillery officer in the Army. She studied Krav Maga in Israel, volunteered in Costa Rica, studied film for a tiny bit in high school in New York all by herself. All these random things. How cool is that?

It’s pretty damn cool.

Somehow Em usually never lets other people’s expectations define her.

I wish that we could all be that brave, that we could have the opportunity and empowerment to be that brave, that we could all become who we want to become, define ourselves instead of others or society defining us. How shiny the world would be then, wouldn’t it?

A LOT OF IT COMES FROM YOUR FAMILY

In my family, my sister was the good one. Another sibling was the handsome, successful one. I was the quirky smart one. Another sibling was the angry one.

Those labels are who we were expected to be.

But the thing is that my sister? She’s smart. She’s successful.

That angry sibling? He did some amazing things before he died. Things that make him stunningly successful in my eyes.

And I’m quirky, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the smartest of us.

But those are the expectations, the roles, the labels and those scripts our family’s right for us (both good and bad) can really stick.

How Do You Defy Expectations

Think of who you want to be.

Think of what you want to try.

Think of why you haven’t yet.

If it isn’t about money and resources and you can, give whatever it is a try. Do the thing that people don’t expect you to do (Try not to go to jail though. Legal things are usually a better choice.) and see how it feels. See how you feel.

Do people expect you to be quiet? To be loud? Do they expect you to be an activist? A peace-maker? Think of how you can be the opposite of expectations if you feel like those expectations are holding you back. The first step is to imagine being what it is that YOU want to be, not what your teachers, family, friends, coworkers, employees, bosses want you to be. YOU.

Is there something you always wanted to do, to be, and people scoffed. Show them how wrong they are. Blow their minds. Blow your own mind, too.

Continue reading “How Do You Defy Expectations”

Flour Tattoos and Hyperbole is the Biggest Danger in the World (That’s Hyperbole right there)

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Flour Tattoos and Hyperbole is the Biggest Danger in the World (That's Hyperbole right there)
/

So, this woman, Aileen Weintraub on the Huffington Post, has an article that’s headline is, “I’m a Grown Woman and I Still Sleep with a Stuffed Animal.”

“George is my deep, dark secret, and I’m sharing our story now in the time of COVID-19 because many of us are quietly struggling.”

Aileen Weintraub

And the article is sweet and lovely, and poor Aileen had COVID-19 and was terribly sick and was even more stressed because George, her stuffed dog has been with her for thirty years and she didn’t know if her stuffed animal would be able to go with her if she had to come to the hospital.

And she was ashamed because stuffed animals are allegedly “transitional objects.”

She wrote,

“I love my family, but this little hound doesn’t take up much room and he doesn’t shift the sheets. I don’t have to explain myself to him. He doesn’t ask questions and he’s always there, a personal touchstone I can depend on. George doesn’t judge. He never complains and I never have to cook for him. He never rummages through the fridge and tells me there is no food in the house. He doesn’t leave towels on the floor. He doesn’t bark while I’m on a conference call. George gets me.

“When I was quarantined for 16 days as the coronavirus ravaged my body, no one in my family could touch me. I communicated with them via text or through a closed door. But George was there. He is so quiet that it would be easy to forget him. I never do.

“George is my deep dark secret, and I’m sharing our story now in the time of COVID-19 because no matter how strong, confident or successful a person may appear, the truth is that many of us are quietly struggling. When everything seems hopeless, when it looks like we will never get out of the hellfire that is 2020, perhaps it’s OK to admit to finding softness and comfort from something as simple and familiar as an old threadbare stuffy.”

Aileen Weintraub

God bless this lady because if George, the stuffed animal in her bed, is her deep dark secret? What a nice life she’s had.

What Is Hyperbole?

Hyperbole is basically defined as an exaggeration that people use to emphasize an effect. It’s extravagant. It’s bullshit. It comes from the Greek word for “excess.”

I’m not sure if this ‘deep dark secret’ is hyperbole, but it sure feels like one.

And the problem with hyperbole? Is that it’s not truth. It’s inauthentic. It’s the tool of politicians and apparently op-ed writers and we’re all freaking too used to it. We don’t examine the extravagant claims of influencers, writers. Headlines and tweets and speeches and email subject lines are full of them.

 In writing fiction especially, hyperbole can be a brilliant tool. Listen to this Monty Python bit about being completely not rich.

You were lucky. We lived for three months in a brown paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six o’clock in the morning, clean the bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down mill for 14 hours a day and when we got home, our Dad would thrash us to sleep with his belt!​

Monty Python people

The Problem

Writers, you can use hyperbole but don’t use it in your nonfiction. Even Aristotle was anti-hyperbole saying it was amateur and childlike and that it was the tool of bad, angry politicians.

Why is it bad?

It’s bad because it’s used to manipulate us and our emotions. It makes normal things suddenly feel over the top, excessive, the deepest and darkest of secrets or the most terrifying moments of existence. It’s when someone yells at you for your opinion or your actions and you call it an ‘attack’ in which you are in fear of your life. It’s when you’re pushing for your agenda and twisting truth so that you can be the savior or the victim and it is dangerous AF.

And it’s normal now. We’re used to seeing the exaggeration of truths becoming lies. No, that article is not going to make you instantly a best selling book writer or super fit in three fast weeks. No, that politician isn’t going to save your country. No, that person with an opinion different than yours does not deserve to die.

Hyperbole pulls us away from the truth. In the excess and exaggeration often comes an otherness, an us versus them mentality that prevents us from finding truths, middle roads, and we become so engrossed in it that we see a story about a woman’s deepest, darkest secret being about sleeping with her stuffed animal and we believe it.

We’ve got to return to truth, to discourse, to authenticity.

And we have to do it before it’s too late before that extremism is the norm, exaggeration is the defacto position for all of us, before we forget what truth even is.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Write truth. Write things that resonate. Hyperbole is a great tool, but it shouldn’t be your go-t0 response.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Don’t hyperbolize the simple stuff.

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.

Continue reading “Flour Tattoos and Hyperbole is the Biggest Danger in the World (That’s Hyperbole right there)”