Love Your Way Through It

Compassion and empathy makes you stronger. You don’t need to walk through this world with a big stick, scream from a bully pulpit or sermonize with fear. Empathy and kindness for even those who hurt you—or those who try to hurt you—only makes you stronger.

It’s really easy to get all wrapped up in status and ambition, to fall into the syndrome where you think the grass is always greener everywhere except your lawn, to be jealous at other people’s accolades or family’s or looks or luck.

            Shakespeare said that comparisons are odious. And that long-dead white guy was right.

            Comparisons make you feel like poop.

            I know that a lot of people try to make themselves feel better by comparing themself to others and find the others lesser.

I’ve had people do it to me all my life. I bet you have, too.

My husband before Shaun was a hospital CEO in a small, local hospital. I was volunteering to decorate for one of the hospital’s two annual fundraisers. I was up on a ladder wearing my favorite Snoopy shoes and jeans, hardly hospital CEO wife clothes, but good stuff for climbing ladders, hauling tables and putting out poinsettias.

My hair was its natural color and in a lopsided ponytail. I had no make-up on.

I’ll never forget these two wealthy ladies about two decades older than me loudly saying, “What does he see in her?”

            I tottered on the ladder a bit and the person helping me knew that I heard. It would have been impossible not to hear.

            “Don’t listen to them. They have miserable small lives and they’re jealous. Just jealous shrews,” the helper said.

            She might have been right, but it didn’t matter right that second.

I heard their words and for a moment they hurt me, but then I just felt so sad for them. How lonely their lives must be if they had to say that about me. How sad.

All I could do was love them when I thought about the hurt that they must have had inside of their hearts.

            Neither of those women probably even remember that moment, but I do, and I also remember that I made a choice.

            I could have luxuriated in that hurt instead of acknowledging it, seeing it, and then letting it pass through me.

            I could have lashed out at them and matched their pettiness with my own.

            But instead I chose empathy. I had the luxury and safety of doing that because I’m secretly pretty secure in who I am. I love myself even when I suck. I chose to love them when they sucked, too.

            A translation of Dhammapada verse 223 makes it so that  Buddha once roughly said, “Silence the angry man with love. Silence the ill-natured man with kindness. Silence the miser with generosity. Silence the liar with truth.”

Some translations use ‘overpower’ rather than ‘silence.’

Overpower the angry man with love.

            Love your way through it.

            Compassion and empathy makes you stronger. You don’t need to walk through this world with a big stick, scream from a bully pulpit or sermonize with fear. Empathy and kindness for even those who hurt you—or those who try to hurt you—only makes you stronger.

Let’s all be strong together, okay?


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 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!

Thanks so much for being one of the 255,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!


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.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

BE BRAVE FRIDAY the 2021 Version about Little Free Libraries and Dead Friends

On the first day of an awful year, it can be hard to feel hope, to be brave, and that’s okay.


You’re okay.


Whatever you’re feeling and doing. You’re okay.

My friend, Lisa Wolfson aka L.K. Madigan was a beautiful human and author and she died of cancer before 2020.

She was a tremendous, kind, funny, supportive light in this world.

Her book? It’s a beautiful book. Her soul? It is a beautiful soul.


Her incredibly kind and thoughtful husband sent me a box of one of her book for our Little Free LibraryLittle Free Libraries that our local Rotary International club (Bar Harbor/MDI Rotary Club) installed on MDI.

I’ve been quietly putting those books in there, one after the other after another, thinking of the MDI kids who find them and read them, spreading Lisa’s light and heart and love throughout this island.

But I couldn’t post about it because it just…it made me cry. It made me remember that Lisa isn’t here anymore, that so many of my friends and relatives are gone and they deserve to be here and it made me think of everyone else I know (and don’t know) who has gone through so much loss and worry and pain.

Lisa’s books though? They give me hope. Her husband gave me hope because it is proof that people’s light and influence? It lives on.


It is hard to be brave when there is so much loss, but it’s important to be brave so that we can keep spreading other people’s lights and our own.


I hope your year is full of light and heart and love.


Thank you for being here, for reading this, for being my friend and for spreading goodness. We’ve got this, okay? Let’s be brave together in 2021.


*Apologies for the image tilt. It was cold!

The drop off!

I’ll be back to talking about characters on Monday!

May you have a lovely, safe, and healthy 2021.


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.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

HOW I MANAGE TO BE HAPPY

My husband Shaun just showed me a video he took of me when we were in Belize on a wheelchair project with Rotary International a few years ago. It was during an absolutely terrible time in my life.

But on the video, I’m swimming with some sharks in the warm water, thrilled. In another one, I’m at a restaurant laughing at the amazingly beautiful dessert I’m about to eat.

I’m happy.

“This time sucked for you,” Shaun said as hunkered over the laptop screen, watching. “But look at how happy you are.”

“I’m pretty resilient,” I said.

The reason I’m resilient is because I know exactly who I am.

My daughter Em said on Thanksgiving, “Last summer was a bad time for you. I was a little worried.”

“It was. But I bounced back,” I told her.

Litany of Terrible Things Paragraph

Like a lot of other people, some terrible things have happened to me in my life and I’m not the most prime physical specimen. I have to wear knee braces to hike or run. I have no depth perception, epilepsy caused from a virus that a rapist gave me, constant shoulder pain. I’ve seen a lot of people die in person. I have no parents or grandparents left.

Enough of That

But there’s a reason I bounce back and can usually find my happy place again. It isn’t because I’m awesome or special in any way that is different from anyone else.

Why Do I Always Find My Happy Again?

It’s because I know who I am. My values and beliefs? They are so strong that they can be pretty damn annoying, honestly.

Let me rephrase that: I can be pretty damn annoying, honestly.

No Pretending

I don’t know how to be who I’m not. I don’t pretend on social media and I don’t pretend in real life.

Live In The Moment

I live in the moment, every single moment, and occasionally worry obsessively about money or the health of the people I love or the state of the world, but when I do? It’s always a worry consistent with my values and beliefs.

That’s the secret.

We can’t wait for something huge to happen and shake us out of the monotony of our lives or our selves, to make us evolve into someone who will behave in a way that actually reflects their values.

We have to put in the work every day.

And sometimes (Okay, a lot of the times) I screw up and when I do?

I get sad and disappointed in myself.

And sometimes the people I love screw up and when they do?

I get sad and a little disappointed but then I forgive them.

Why? Because that’s one of my values: forgiveness.

And that forgiveness that we give to other people? It has to extend to ourselves.

Your Values And Actions And Happiness Are Connected

Your values have to dictate your actions if you’re going to be happy. That’s going to annoy some people in your family or your coworkers or your friends. But there’s no other way. To be happy, you have to live the way you think matters, you have to hold onto your integrity.

It matters.

You matter.

And so does your happiness.


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.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

Keeping Our Communities From Burning

This blog speaks about a violent event in my community where a kid was badly hurt.

A few years ago, I was a newspaper editor, working out at the local gym, when my phone went off.

Before COVID-19, the school system my daughter went to had a dress-up costume day.

This is what happened one time.

I’m sharing it again because:

  1. It’s important to remember.
  2. I was a reporter and editor then and it’s important to remember that despite everyone’s hate and rantings, reporters are people to and a part of your community.
  3. Love is important.
  4. Em (my daughter) is wise.
  5. Community is important too, and that’s a good thing to remember right now in these scary-weird times.
  6. We’ve got to remember we can bounce back and love each other and make something better. Sometimes story helps us remember that.

The Call


“You have to get to the high school quick,” Bobbi, my office manager at the Ellsworth Weekly said. “Something horrible’s happened.”

I’d been working out at the Y. The high school was down the road a bit and across a main route through our town.

Bobbi sounded worried. Bobbi never sounded worried.

I ran over in my gym clothes. It was about 40 degrees out, but the sky was clear and blue and beautiful.

The alarms were screaming off in the school and students, crying students, were streaming out of the building.

Teachers hollered at them, “Get into the parking lots. Keep moving. Keep moving.”

Some of the teachers were crying, too.

Everything inside of me fell. I hated being a newspaper person because I hated these kind of stories, the tragedy stories.

“He was on fire,” one guy who played soccer told me.

I didn’t ask him. I didn’t ask anyone anything because they were in pain. I just waited.

The boy crumpled. He pressed his hands to his face. “Jesus. He was on fire.”

I hugged him. Then his friends, mostly other jocks, came and hugged him, too.

It wasn’t the only group hug going on. The kids huddled together. Some paced. Others cried, squatted down, stood up. One girl was praying.

The fire trucks arrived, an ambulance, a TV news crew, more newspaper people, a Lifeflight helicopter.


We waited and stared at the high school’s blank, brick facade. We waited and waited and the TV news people started putting microphones in students’ faces. The school superintendent came out. He was crying. He looked at me and cried some more. He was a chubby, jokey guy with ruddy, Irish cheeks. He wore a maroon Ellsworth-lettermen jacket.

He shook his head at me. I didn’t ask him any questions. I could tell by his face that he didn’t know the answers.

I started turning blue from the cold. A TV camera guy gave me his jacket.


“I don’t want to be here,” he said.
I shook my head. “Me either.”

What Happened

That day, Donny, a boy I knew a bit, a boy who hung out with one of my best friend’s sons, had gone to school in costume for their Halloween celebration. He had made the costume himself with some help from his family. It was a sniper outfit with leaves and camouflage stuff. The boy sitting behind him during assembly allegedly kept flicking his lighter. People told him to cut it out.

The guy with the flame supposedly said something threatening like, “I’ll bet you’ll burn.”


The boy allegedly flicked the lighter up one more time and lit the edge of Donny’s costume on fire.

It was flammable.

Donny ran down the bleachers. Somehow people got him to drop and roll in the middle of the gym floor. Others screamed. Others thought it was a stunt. Others didn’t know what was going on. It’s the same gym where graduation happens. It’s the same gym where all the basketball games are played. It’s a place of community, a place people get together. A place of celebration and connection.

But not then.

The school nurse saved his life. So did the assistant principal. Everyone agrees about that. Donny was Lifeflighted to Boston. He missed months and months of school. He had terrible, terrible burns. When he finally came home, there were parades and balloons and articles. He rode in a limo. He could barely walk out of it and get to his house, but he did.

Donny is a hero for surviving.
So is the community.

And we’ll survive again and again, no matter what the universe throws at us. No matter what we throw at each other.

That’s because we’ll hug each other in parking lots, put out the fires burning in each other’s bodies, sob together, and work hard to make things right even (and especially when) we don’t know how.

We will argue over rainbow sidewalks in town and then make them on school property. We will protest and then make cookies for the people who support the opposite politicians that we do. We will go to local Facebook groups and create communities within community where we will bring food to people quarantining because of COVID, read library stories together, share jokes, share possibilities.

After that incident at the high school, a lot of kids had nightmares, a lot of kids’ lives were affected, especially Donny’s, especially the boy who set Donny’s costume on fire. But gradually, that gym has lost its horror feel, and pre COVID-19, we walked in there for events and games and every time something good happens, our community gets a little tighter, a little stronger.

The gym isn’t being used now because of COVID.

That’s okay. Because it will eventually be used again, reclaimed one more time by a community that evolves, hopes, and persists.

Three years after Donny was burned, my daughter, Em, was dressed up as a penguin for Halloween. Her middle school is having that same costume day, the celebration. So was the high school. If you bring in a can of food you get to wear a costume to school, which was cool.

She was bringing in extra cans in case any of her friends forget.

I asked her why.

And she said, “Because when people need help you give it to them. I like to be prepared.”

Right now, as we face divisiveness, elections and COVID-19, it’s a time when choosing to promote kindness, community, and simple steps like wearing a mask are easy ways to be prepared, to help the people who need it.

Much love to all of you.


CARRIE’S TEACHABLE CLASS!

I have a quick, pre-recorded Teachable class designed to make you a killer scene writer in just one day. It’s fun. It’s fast. And you get to become a better writer for just $25, which is an amazing deal.

HEY! I LIKE YOU! LET’S HANG OUT!

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.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.


HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

My Patreon site I read and print chapters of unpublished YA novels. THE LAST GODS and SAINT and now ALMOST DEAD.

I also share some writing tips that are also going to be on Teachable as the WRITING CLASS OF AWESOME and send people art.

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.

TIPS ON SURVIVING BANNED BOOKS WEEK

posted this back in 2006 when maybe fifteen people were reading my blog and I knew them all in person, I think. But I thought it might be good for this week, too.

The official Banned Books Week is Coming Up! Are you ready?

Sparty Dog Inspiration
Sparty Dog Approves These Tips



TIPS ON SURVIVING BANNED BOOKS WEEK


1. Remember, it’s okay to get ridiculously mad that people ban George by Alex Gino or Captain Underpants or Judy Blume’s Forever or Brent Hartinger’s Geography Club or The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas or anything by Carrie Jones (Okay. I added this last one in.)

2. Remember, it’s okay to think that it’s stupid for people to think kids (and adults) are so weak of mind that reading about a boy being a wizard will make them become Satan worshipers or that ready about potty mouths will make them about potty mouth and etc…

3. Wonder if you’ve ever met a satan worshiper. You know you’ve met a potty mouth.

4. Decide to google (YOUR STATE) Satan worshipers. Then decide not to, because it’s too freaky.

5. Go back to being angry about Banned Books.

6. Why do this? So you can be intelligent while you’re angry read: Kathi Appelt’s exceptional essay about the interplay of fear and banned books. If you can’t find it (Okay. I can’t right now), read someone else’s. 

7. Tell your friends about the essays you’ve read.

8. Argue with someone who thinks it’s okay to ban books. Try not to swear at them and to not go all potty mouthed. It may be hard. Try not to lose your temper. That may be harder.

9. Think about how my favorite line from Kathi Appelt’s essay is “Fear, of course, has a twin: hatred.” Then go all fan girl over Kathi Appelt.

10. Go check out the always the important and insightful American Library Association’s banned and challenged book news and information.

11. Read a banned book. Do better than that. Read three. Buy one. That’ll show them. Who is them? The book banners. That’s who.

Morning People, You Are On Notice

Morning People, you are on notice.

Seriously, the entire United States is geared towards you and now that the school year (remote learning version thanks to COVID-19) has started, I’ve decided that I just have had enough!

In case you doubt, let me list what heinous crimes you have committed:



1. Made it so school starts at 7:55 a.m.
         

Yes, that is AM as in AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHFREAKINGAIT’SM-MORNING.


2. Made it so in order to get to school on time, or to get your little people to school on time you must wake up at 6 a.m. (at least)
3. Made it so banks open at 7 and close at 4!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4. Give all the dinner specials to EARLY BIRDS!

That is so wrong. It is us late night people who eat up all the leftover food. The early birds already get the fresh stuff.

 Those early birds also get the cool graphics that are kind of schmarmy.


They also get the worm. Let me say, I think all worms out there should joinme in my revolt against these Morning People/Early Birds.

Listen up worms! The early birds aren’t just getting you! THEY ARE EATING YOU! It is time to revolt! Leave those tequila bottles and gather up arms!

Oh, wait. You are worms. You don’t have arms. Do you have any fighting abilities whatsoever? What? Oh, you can burrow away. No. That’s not much help, really.

Proof that I am not a morning person:

1. When I woke up this morning my right eye went on strike and refused to open for a half hour, which meant I had to walk around the house using only one eye.
       

My left eye behaves. She has no gumption and has never gone on strike. I don’t think she’s actually related to me.

2. I fell up the stairs.
3. When I walked the dog, I thought a tree was a person and said hello.

This can kind of be blamed on my right eye.

4. When I went to put my cell phone into my shorts pocket, I actually put in the deodorant!

This means I walked around with deodorant in my shorts.

5. It just took me twenty minutes to remember how to spell deodorant.

And when I just wrote it right there? I spelled it wrong again! Darn it. DEODORANT! You are on NOTICE! 

Secret: Oh, no! I am so scared.


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

Continue reading “Morning People, You Are On Notice”

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)
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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)”

Hungover Writer Burrito- Cooking With a Writer, Vegetarian Recipes and Stuff

Everyone. I’ve decided to try my COOKING WITH A WRITER POSTS again. Let me know if you want me to stop.

And this one is one of my last ones. I’m channelling back. 🙂

Sometimes your writer self (the vegetarian kind) might need a bit of a pick-me-up after a long night of channeling Hemingway or any of the other dead authors of the 1900s or living authors of the 1980s.

Here is our offering, tweaked and twisted from a really good recipe (see the notes) and super yummy.

Print Recipe
Hungover Writer Burritos
Man Verdict: YOU do NOT have to be hungover to eat this. Or a writer. My Verdict: All vegetarian burritos are good burritos. Dog Verdict: They'd only let us eat the plain rice and the tortillas. No fun at all.
Burritos
Cuisine american
Keyword burrito
Servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups • cooked rice that you’ve already cooked or cook it now
  • 2 whole • limes (Juiced like the Energizer Bunny man – but not. Oh, that’s gross now that I think about it. Juiced like highly motivated and squeezed out, okay?)
  • 2 tablespoons • fresh cilantro Chopped. I like to scissor mine.
  • half whole onion Diced
  • 4 cloves garlic Minced or whatever.
  • 2 tablespoons • vegetable oil
  • 1 can • can black beans or pinto beans (drain those bad boys like a writer who is trying to gether last 1 666 words of her 234,500-word novel about narwahl egosa post-Instagram age), 15-ounce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • .5 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon • hot sauce (Or more if you’re pro spicy. I am pro spicy. It makes me remember that I’m alive. Less if you’re my mother. She is dead so I hope you aren’t my mother.)
  • Any • Salt if you’re into that.
  • Some • Flour tortillas because this is not a Keto recipe.
Cuisine american
Keyword burrito
Servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups • cooked rice that you’ve already cooked or cook it now
  • 2 whole • limes (Juiced like the Energizer Bunny man – but not. Oh, that’s gross now that I think about it. Juiced like highly motivated and squeezed out, okay?)
  • 2 tablespoons • fresh cilantro Chopped. I like to scissor mine.
  • half whole onion Diced
  • 4 cloves garlic Minced or whatever.
  • 2 tablespoons • vegetable oil
  • 1 can • can black beans or pinto beans (drain those bad boys like a writer who is trying to gether last 1 666 words of her 234,500-word novel about narwahl egosa post-Instagram age), 15-ounce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • .5 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon • hot sauce (Or more if you’re pro spicy. I am pro spicy. It makes me remember that I’m alive. Less if you’re my mother. She is dead so I hope you aren’t my mother.)
  • Any • Salt if you’re into that.
  • Some • Flour tortillas because this is not a Keto recipe.
Burritos
Instructions
  1. 1. Toss the rice and cilantro. Do it in a microwave-safe bowl. Don’t just toss it. You aren’t still drunk are you? NYE was two days ago, writer! Get a grip!
  2. 2. Drizzle lime juice on it. Think about how the word drizzle is a cool word.
  3. 3. Drizzle.
  4. 4. Put it in the microwave for 45 seconds or so.
  5. 5. Take it out of the microwave.
  6. 6. Stir it, but not super enthusiastically. More like a last revision pass where you’re just putting in the time and trying to find out how many times you’ve made your characters nod. 87? That’s too many.
  7. 7. Back to cooking. In a big skillet, saute garlic and onion in oil for ttwo minutes. The onion wants to be soft like the protagonist’s skin in a romantic thriller featuring damsels and pirates. The damsel is the protagonist.
  8. 8. Lower the heat (medium-low). Add beans. Put the cumin, hot sauce, and chili powder on there. Roll with salt if you’re into that. Let it cook for five minutes.
  9. 9. Put rice into tortillas. Put bean mixture in tortillas. Realize you did not warm up the tortillas.
  10. 10. Warm up those tortillas in the microwave (under paper towel that’s damp for 15 seconds) if that’s how you roll or in an oiled-pan on the stovetop (low heat) if you’re like that. It really depends on your level of lazy. If you’re still hung-over, I’m guessing that lazy level is high.
  11. 11. Eat.
  12. 12. Watch Hulu or Netflix or something while you eat. Claim it’s book research. Realize that in 2020 writers lie like that to themselves. That’s why they do fiction. Be glad you write fiction
  13. 13. Eat more.
  14. 14. Go get a beer to go with it. Actually get the whole case so you don’t have to get up off the couch too many times.
  15. 15. Realize you’ll have to make this again tomorrow. Decide you’re okay with that.
Recipe Notes

This is adapted from a much better recipe on the amazing website of awesome called Spruce Eats. You can find it here. 

 


BRAVE THING I’M DOING

Pretty soon, I’m going to have a Teachable class all about the scene. It’s going to be pretty cheap and hopefully you’ll sign up and like it.

COME WRITE WITH ME! 

I coach, have a group class that involves coaching and edit, and I straight-up edit things. Find out more here. 


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Join the 252,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


Last week’s episode about poop, dentists, surgery, flavored alcohol and Jung. 

This week’s episode! Five Writing Quotes to Make You Feel Better About Things!

A bonus podcast with Jessica Burkhart! 

A link to our podcast about fatal errors, scenes, and ghost reaper sauce

Print Recipe
Hungover Writer Burrito- Cooking With a Writer, Vegetarian Recipes and Stuff
Burritos
Servings
Servings
Burritos

Five Writing Quotes To Make You Feel Better About Things

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Five Writing Quotes To Make You Feel Better About Things
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Carrie is a bit burnt out this week so we decided to take a fast look at the advice and quotes that writers give to each other.

Quote #1

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
—Stephen King

Mr. King has strong feelings about adverbs. He has strong feelings about a lot of things. Just because a successful man has strong feelings about things doesn’t mean he’s correct.

Quote #2

“Know your literary tradition, savor it, steal from it, but when you sit down to write, forget about worshiping greatness and fetishizing masterpieces.”
—Allegra Goodman

This is just here because it has the word ‘fetish’ in it, but the truth of it is pretty obvious. Don’t write because you want to be John Steinbeck or God or Toni Morrison. Write because you want to be you.

Quote #3

“There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.”
—Doris Lessing

Many agents, editors, readers and critics would disagree with Doris.

Quote #4 A and B

“The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.”

“I don’t know about lying for novelists. I look at some of the great novelists, and I think the reason they are great is that they’re telling the truth. The fact is they’re using made-up names, made-up people, made-up places, and made-up times, but they’re telling the truth about the human being—what we are capable of, what makes us lose, laugh, weep, fall down, and gnash our teeth and wring our hands and kill each other and love each other.” – Maya Angelou

These are my favorite quotes about writing ever. Writing is about being understood and communicating truths that go straight inside of the reader and helps them see their truths, too, truths and connections.

Quote 5

“Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river.”

― Lisa See

Like any craft, when you read other people’s stories, it helps you see how to construct your own.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Advice can be take it or leave it, but try to remember to be yourself.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

You can learn a lot about your craft by seeing other dogs’ techniques. Don’t be afraid to be learned.

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.

COME WRITE WITH ME! 

I coach, have a class, and edit things. Find out more here. 


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Join the 252,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


Last week’s episode about poop, dentists, surgery, flavored alcohol and Jung. 

This week’s episode about generalizations and what men want. 

Last week’s bonus podcast with Jessica Burkhart! 

A link to our podcast about fatal errors, scenes, and ghost reaper sauce