This post about Friday Writing Life is basically about me almost dying thanks to the devil and an ankle brace.
I go through most of my life feeling pretty lucky. I have a place to live. I have food. I’m not under constant threat of violence. That’s all pretty sweet and it hasn’t always been that way for me.
And part of the way that it’s happened is that I just keep working and doing and going after things, but not in a despot way, but in an “Everyone let’s make this world better together!” kind of way.
Part of determining what you’re passionate about is asking yourself if you’d do what you’re doing even if you made no money at all. For me, being a writer, is just something I do. I can’t imagine not doing it. And I feel lucky and blessed that I get to do it for a living and also help other people do it, too.
I like that so freaking much.
I like it when I get to witness other people shine.
And it impacts me way too much when they suffer, or make mistakes, and recently a scam call made such a horrible mistake that I thought I’d share it with you.
This week, I got this phone call from “headquarters” about how I had “four complaints against me” and the “local cops” would come get me unless I called a specific number back in 24 hours.
And here’s the thing – people in positions of power who are threatening you with jail time for ‘four complaints,’ don’t call the local authorities, ‘cops.’ They call them police. Or law enforcement. But not ‘cops.’ Word choice matters. That’s your writing lesson of the post.
The call made me think of the other interesting and randomly threatening phone calls that have happened in my life. I think my favorite ones are where I am threatened not by ‘local cops,’ but by the actual devil himself. Because honestly? If you’re going to get threatened why not by the ultimate in evil, am I right?
So, anyway, those of you who are my friends on Facebook heard how I got this crank call on another Monday night awhile ago.
That time, the caller said, “Prepare to die, Satan claims you, Carrie.”
And I was all, “Hm. Wait! Can you not hang up so quickly, creepy-voiced man, because I would like to try to discuss this and maybe argue Satan out of it!”
But he hung up.
Apparently, Satan does not like to argue with random children’s book writers? Who knew?
And I was all, “Man, that was so creepy it was kind of funny.”
This is pretty much my response to everything creepy. Floating apparition? I laugh. Possible UFO? I laugh. Weird man running away after ringing my doorbell? Hold on, while I giggle. It’s sort of my defense mechanism for all bad things; I fight them with humor. It’s either that or screaming and screaming hurts your throat if you do it for too long.
I have other defense mechanisms. These are called dogs.
So, for the whole night I was basically all, “Dogs. Come Velcro yourselves to my sides.”
Gabby: Carrie, we are always Velcroed to your sides. Geesh. *shakes doggy head*
And then because I had no attention span I kind of forgot about the call from the devil because I was busy writing and living and writing more.
But two days later, I almost died.
I was driving to this cool conference of librarians in Maine and I was on the turnpike and wearing the ankle brace from hell. That point of origin is just like the devil I guess, although originally he was from heaven.
The brace, which was on my left foot, suddenly flopped onto the brake. Now, basically the ankle brace from hell was so heavy and thick I could stand on a puppy and not notice. So, when the car lurched and lost 40 mph (like I was going 70 and then was going 30) JUST AS I WAS PASSING A LOGGING TRUCK (because – Maine), and the car’s tires made this weird noise AND the car behind me wiggled all around to avoid the collision (Nice Driving, Mr. Car Driving Guy, btw), I realized that something was going on.
Fortunately, the brace was not on a poor little puppy.
Unfortunately, it was on my brake.
This is a brace about 1/4 the size of my monster.
And I yelled, “Get thee behind me, Satan,” because obviously all the Friday nights that the Albertsons brought me to Pioneer Girls at Calvary Baptist Church in New Hampshire had conditioned me more than I realized. They were trying so hard to save my first-grade self’s soul. Apparently, Satan thought they failed.
Anyways, I moved the brace and kept going and then got to Augusta (where the conference was) and totally cried. I mean, I sobbed.
Seriously. I was a total wuss because:
1. I did not want that crank caller to be right.
2. I did not want to die because of my stupid ankle brace from hell.
3. I almost got the people in the car behind me hurt, too, and that’s something I couldn’t have lived with.
So, yeah. If you feel like someone is about to crank you and tell you that you’re about to die and that the devil has claimed your soul: DO NOT PICK UP THE PHONE!
That’s my brilliant life lesson here. Don’t pick up the phone if the devil is calling, or even if you just think it’s a scam caller who is going to send the ‘local cops’ after you. Life is too short to have the evil beside you or in front of you or blabbering on into your ear. Put it behind you where it belongs.
WRITING NEWS AND APPEARANCES AND STUFF:
Okay. I hope you don’t mind me sharing this, but I earned out my picture book biography of Sara Emma Edmonds!!!!
This is such a huge thing for me that I can’t begin to tell you how cool it feels especially since it’s with this picture book. Sara was this cool woman who dressed like a man so she could fight in the U.S. Civil War, but then her superiors asked her to dress like a woman and spy on the other side. So, she was a woman dressed like a man dressed like a woman and taking names the entire time. So amazing. Thank you so much to everyone who bought it!
THE CLASS AT THE WRITING BARN
The awesome 6-month-long Writing Barn class that they’ve let me be in charge of!? It’s happening again in July. Write! Submit! Support!is a pretty awesome class. It’s a bit like a mini MFA but way more supportive and way less money.
PRAISE FOR CARRIE JONES AND WRITE. SUBMIT. SUPPORT:
“Carrie has the fantastic gift as a mentor to give you honest feedback on what needs work in your manuscript without making you question your ability as a writer. She goes through the strengths and weaknesses of your submissions with thought, care and encouragement.”
I swear, I did not pay anyone to say that. I didn’t even ask them to say it. The Writing Barn just told me that the feedback had intensely kind things like that.
FLYING AND ENHANCED – THE YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE FICTION SERIES
These books are out there in the world thanks to Tor.
What books? Well, cross Buffy with Men in Black and you get… you get a friends-powered action adventure based in the real world, but with a science fiction twist. More about it is here. But these are fun, fast books that are about identity, being a hero, and saying to heck with being defined by other people’s expectations.
This quick, lighthearted romp is a perfect choice for readers who like their romance served with a side of alien butt-kicking action–School Library Journal
TIME STOPPERS THE MIDDLE GRADE SERIES OF AWESOME
Time Stoppers’s third book comes out this summer. It’s been called a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, but with heart. It takes place in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. I need to think of awesome ways to promote it because this little book series is the book series of my own middle grade heart. Plus, I wrote it for the Emster. Plus, it is fun.
Dogs Are Smarter Than People – the podcast.
Shaun and I are total dorks in really different ways. You can tell when you listen to the podcasts, which come out every Tuesday.
We give writing tips, life tips, random thoughts. Occasionally, the dogs bark. Thank you so much to the thousands of people who have listened already. You guys are really amazing and our minds are basically blown by all of your support.