Dear Bully, Ten Years Later

So, Megan Kelley Hall and I released DEAR BULLY, the anthology of authors telling their stories of being bullied, or standing by, or being bullies ten years ago last month. We were co-editors.

My involvement in the project was mostly inspired by two girls. One was a five-year-old, Jazmin Lovings who was relentlessly tormented by some other kids in her Brooklyn, NY kindergarten class. The kids even cut her hair without her permission.

Her story absolutely broke me. And I know (and knew) that I didn’t have enough power to change the world, but I had to at least try to do something, some small part.

Megan and a lot of the other contributors (and me) were also incensed and motivated by the story of Phoebe Prince, a young woman who had been bullied by schoolmates and who committed suicide.

We did a lot of interviews, but this one on NPR is lovely because it talks to a lot of us about being bullied AND being a bully and the lasting impact.

And I am still so proud of all the authors in there. 

HEY YOU! AUTHORS! I AM PROUD OF YOU!

For a lot of those authors, it was a big act of bravery to tell their stories. For a lot of them, it was a big act of bravery just to survive. For some of them, the bullying was so destructive it made them want to be invisible, to want to not exist.

And there are resonating truths in every one of their stories. Those truths are that pain is real, that actions and words can shatter us, that it’s hard to remember how awesome you are when people are telling you that you aren’t. 

Just in case you want a definition (and because I get all excited about sources), Bullying is defined by the American Psychological Association as:

Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. Bullying can take the form of physical contact, words or more subtle actions.

The bullied individual typically has trouble defending him or herself and does nothing to “cause” the bullying.

Though all the authors’ stories in DEAR BULLY involve bullying (stunning!) there are differences in the stories too.

Some authors hurt more and more often. Some used the experience to advocate for good. Some couldn’t recover.

For every one of us in there, the story is our own, and it is different. But one of the biggest, and greatest truths in those stories is that each and every one of us survived. We all lived to tell our stories.

And if you are reading this right now, you have lived too. You have to keep on living and fighting and trying to remember that you are awesome. 

People hating you doesn’t change that you have worth.


People being violent towards you, doesn’t mean you don’t deserve respect, and tolerance and love.


People ignoring you on purpose, doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve to exist.

BULLYING ON MEDIUM?

It’s a decade later and there is still bullying everywhere. Obviously on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and YouTube and TikTok, but it’s also even on writing platforms like Medium. On Medium editors of publications often rail against new writers and their lack of professional grammar skills.

Here’s the thing: Your expertise doesn’t give you the right to pull other people down, to rail against them, to crush their dreams.

We all do a lot better as humans and as a society when we applaud each other for trying and working and evolving.

I’m not sure why people don’t get that.

Here’s Robert’s story about what’s happened to him over there.

Robert was lucky because he was massively supported by other writers, but sometimes? Sometimes even when other people support you against your bullies, the angry, mean voices are the ones that continue to take up space in your head.

James Rodemeyer 

Right when Dear Bully came out. James Rodemeyer couldn’t take it any more. He was in a IT GETS BETTER PSA. He was 14, tormented with anti-gay taunts like this: 

“JAMIE IS STUPID, GAY, FAT AND UGLY,” it said in one post. “HE MUST DIE!”

And before he died, after a year of constant cyberbullying, he wrote on his blog in 2011, “I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens. What do I have to do so people will listen to me?”

We have to tell our stories, but we also have to be strong enough and empathetic enough to listen to other people’s stories.

And we have to stop hating. We have to stop thinking it is okay to post anonymous hate. We have to stop thinking that kindness doesn’t matter. Kindness matters. So much.

The world lost Jamie. It’s lost so many beautiful people. But it hasn’t lost Robert; it hasn’t lost those 70 authors in Dear Bully; it hasn’t lost me and it hasn’t lost you.

To read more about Jamey and the Cyberbully Census launched after his death and inspired by him, check out here and here.

What Can You Do?

You can think about whether or not you might be bullying people?

Do you tease a family member mercilessly even when they ask you to stop and say it’s just joking? Do you help people when they are being bullied? Do you know what you should do to help?

There are some great resources here and here and here. I hope you’ll check them out.

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.

“We help ourselves through it.” Surviving Darkness

Normally on Mondays, I write about life and things that I’ve observed, things that are happening. Sometimes, I use actual citations.

Gasp!

I know! I know! Citations.

But this Monday,  my blog is going to be a little raw. That’s because I think my heart is a little raw.

I spent the weekend in Houston, Texas, hanging out with the amazing crew at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston. I went there shortly after what is being called as the worst attack against Jews in our country.

On the way to the event, I rode over with this brilliant, beautiful woman, her 10-year-old daughter and author and awesome human Ethan Berlin. The driver’s daughter told me about the last time she saw our hotel, which was a year ago.

“It was during Harvey,” her mom added. “We came over in a tank.”

“Did you get to go inside the tank?” I asked.

The girl’s eyes lit up. She did. The hotel room was nice, too.

“It was pretty,” she said, but I could tell from her expression that it was all scary, too. Really scary.

Then the mother-daughter duo told us about how sometimes when it rains really hard, they get scared again, remembering the 49-inches of rain and devastation that Hurricane Harvey brought to their home, their community center, and their neighborhood.

“We help ourselves through it,” the mom said. “I taught her how to deal with it, but last week? She was the one who helped me remember how to cope.”

And I honestly almost lost it in the back seat of their car, hugging my backpack that held a puppet of Moe Berg, sitting next to this beautiful, brilliant kid. Because their love, their pain, and their pride in each other was so poignant and real.

It was so real.

We gathered around before the events started and talked about getting through things again. It was just tiny snippets of conversation, but this beautiful rabbi took it all in as everyone quickly connected with their trauma, their pains, the moments in their lives that were so big and catastrophic that they come back again and again, a refrain in a song that echoes.

“We all have those moments,” she said.

We do.

Later in the day, we were signing books in the most amazing pop-up bookstore ever, and a balloon broke, making that horrible snap that reminds so many people of gun shots and there was this moment – this absolute second immediately afterwards – where everyone paused, silent, trying to figure out what that noise was.

And then everything went back to normal, kids singing songs, grabbing books, moms and dads herding them around to authors and events, spending their Sunday celebrating kids, books, literacy and each other.

And it was beautiful. It was so beautiful.

This center serves 1,000 people every day. This time-lapse video shows how 12 feet of water ended up filling the 35,000-square-feet center. And they rebuilt. It is beautiful. People and kids filled that building again this past weekend. The community survived. The building survived. But it’s more than that. They thrived.

They helped themselves through it.

In this community are so many families, so many stories of good times, of bad, of helping themselves through things and coming out the other side as beautiful moments of light, connection, of poetry, of souls. And there is so much that this country, that this world, can learn about the act of coming together, of community, of connection, of helping each other through it.

If you haven’t voted yet, please vote tomorrow. Please vote on the ideas and ideas that resonate with you. Politics is more than attack ads. Politicians shape and create the laws and tenor of our nation. They support or deconstruct what our government and its branches actually are and what they can be.

And even after you’ve voted, please try to choose paths and actions that create goodness, equality, not disenfranchisement and hate. When we come together as communities, especially as intersectional communities, that’s when we evolve both as individuals and as a nation. Respect for difference and discourse goes a long way. But what doesn’t go along way? Killing each other. Oppressing each other.

We shouldn’t all be terrified when a balloon pops. We should be people who rebuild and thrive. We should be people who go to places of worship, walk in parking lots, go to schools and yoga studios and our own homes without being afraid, without being vulnerable.

Writing News

Next and Last Time Stoppers Book

It’s  out! You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Timestoppers3_005

Moe Berg

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

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I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.

I’m WRITING BARN FACULTY AND THERE’S A COURSE YOU CAN TAKE!

I am super psyched to be teaching the six-month long Write. Submit. Support. class at the Writing Barn!

Are you looking for a group to support you in your writing process and help set achievable goals? Are you looking for the feedback and connections that could potentially lead you to that book deal you’ve been working towards?

Our Write. Submit. Support. (WSS) six-month ONLINE course offers structure and support not only to your writing lives and the manuscripts at hand, but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors.

Past Write. Submit. Support. students have gone on to receive representation from literary agents across the country. View one of our most recent success stories here

 

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