Writing Goals

I talk a lot about goals when I talk to the writer-students that I mentor or work with. A lot of time these goals they create are beautiful, concrete, actionable steps.

Write 500 words every day.

Revise two chapters this month.

Submit to five agents before July.

And today I found this post from June 2007 where I had the least specific goals ever.

I’m pasting it in here:

Last night in a massive spasm of insomnia I wrote out my lifetime writing goals in the dark.

The first one is: Write a book that means something to someone other than me.

The second one is: Write a book that’s just fun.

Do you all have writing goals? Are they sales-based (as in selling a book, or making a best-seller list?) Are they different than that?

Sometimes I feel like I’m crouching down at the edge of this great, big cavern, looking, looking, looking for meaning down there, and the clouds are looking with me, trying to figure out where the stories are, where the meaning is, in the world. 

Sometimes I feel like I should get some good sleep. 

Me in 2007 obviously a little depressed

And I realized that my goals haven’t changed. Only now I want to help other people get those goals too.

Also, I still can’t sleep, but that’s because I’m a bit worried about my friends, about the world, about you.


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 233,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.

Last week’s episode.

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Why Do Politicians Hug Me and Other Weird Facts & Questions

I’ve been working super hard creating things and helping other people create things and I’ve been ridiculously stressed worrying about people’s health and systemic inequalities in our health care system and even about my income because of Covid-19 and I don’t have it in me for a serious blog post today. I hope that’s cool with everyone. Instead, I’m going to give you random tidbits about me.

  1. My debut novel TIPS ON HAVING A GAY (ex) BOYFRIEND has the word gay in it, which made some people squeamish.

2. That makes me lose my chill, but in a chill-inspiring way my ex-boyfriend from high school has a really lovely, very religious, very Catholic mom who BOUGHT IT. Yes, her son is gay. She proudly showed the book off to all her friends and that? Well, that made my heart sing. I’m so glad he has her for a mom.

3. I used to be the youngest female city councilor ever elected in my city and I never EVER dated any other city councilors, or politicians although ex presidential candidate Gary Hart once winked at me and I’ve been hugged by Jesse Jackson and Jerry Brown and George W. Bush and Mike Michaud and Paul Lepage and Susan Collins and John Glenn and too many NYC mayors to list. Politicians apparently hug across parties. Also, I’ve been hugged by a lot more male politicians than women. This does not seem fair.

4. I have one ex-boyfriend who is now a writer. He published before he was 30 and wrote for the NYT and Village Voice. I try not to hate him. Just kidding! I don’t try. No! No! I don’t actually hate him at all. I’m super happy for him actually.

5. I have one ex-boyfriend who was in TIGER BEAT MAGAZINE because he was on a Nickelodean TV show before college.  And I find this hysterical.

6. I have one ex boyfriend from fifth grade whose name was Bertram, but he wanted to change it to Steve. He was so sad about his name. He also wanted to be a knight. I hope he at least got to change his name.

7. I have one ex boyfriend who chewed tobacco and spit it into a Pepsi can and thought nobody knew. EVERYBODY knew.

8. I just realized I will never have another new ex-boyfriend, which is weird, just weird…And I also realized that because of Covid-19 politicians won’t be hugging people as much this year, which has a lot of weird ramifications, too.

How about you? Do you have random facts that you never share? It feels weirdly good to remember and share them.

Continue reading “Why Do Politicians Hug Me and Other Weird Facts & Questions”

Super Noses, Stuffed Teddies, and Being Awesome, an Interview with YA Author, Ronni Davis

Super Noses, Stuffed Teddies, and Being Awesome, an Interview with YA Author, Ronni Davis

 
 
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Hey! Welcome to a bonus interview episode of Dogs are Smarter Than People, the usually quirky podcast that gives writing tips and life tips.

With me (Carrie) today is Ronni Davis for our special bonus interview edition.

Ronni is one of the best humans around. She graduated Ohio State with a degree in psychology. And she has an amazing debut novel WHEN THE STARS LEAD TO YOU, which you can buy here at IndieBound.

Ronni’s website states she’s a writer, dreamer, wanderer. Have you met any authors who weren’t who are just buttheads?

We talk about that, fitting in, and super noses. We also talk about how it’s cool to sleep with the teddy bears you had as a child. And do not fight us on this.

When the Stars Lead to You is a powerful debut about reaching for the stars and how to put yourself back together after falling apart. Deftly blending the complications of first love with an exploration of mental illness, Ronni Davis is a bright new voice in YA that readers of today and the future are lucky to have.

Debut author Davis provides a new take on the archetypal first love novel by tackling the impact of mental health, race, and class wars. A moving love story, timely given the pervasiveness of mental health crises.”

KirkusReviews

Check out more about Ronni at her website. Her twitter. Her Instagram. And her Goodreads page.

And here’s a quick link to Ronni’s interview!


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.


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 222,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


And here’s a quick link to Ronni’s interview! Super Noses, Stuffed Teddies, and Being Awesome

Link to Jose’s bonus interview. Jokes, Stuffies, And Using Your Weirdness for Good, An Interview with Jose De La Roca

Link to Caitlyn’s bonus episode. Books, Law School during Covid-19 and just being Kick Butt – Using Law to Create Lasting Change – Interview with Caitlyn Vanover

Link to this week’s episode of awesome.

Last week’s episode. Money Is Not the Enemy and the Habits of the Rich

Continue reading “Super Noses, Stuffed Teddies, and Being Awesome, an Interview with YA Author, Ronni Davis”

Tips on Attending a Writing Conference for Children’s Writers When It Isn’t the Time of Covid-19

I am an optimist and I believe that people will be someday at writing conferences again feeling awkward and so in preparation for that, I’m giving all you all some tips. You ready?

Tips on Attending a Writing Conference for Children’s Writers When It Isn’t the Time of Covid-19

Understand that people will hug you.

A lot. They will hug you a lot. This is cool if you like hugs (I do).

If you don’t like hugs you may want to not use your deodorant that day or wear something prickly around your neck like a porcupine. That’s about all that will dissuade children’s writers set for a hug.

Do not feel like a big loser because everyone else seems like they know everyone else and they are all best friends.

They are just pretending.

Pretend too. Go stand by people. Nod.

Realize that pretending works because they all think you are a social media friend who has an icon or avatar that is not their actual face but a giant toenail or perfected carbonized version of themselves.

If they ask you if you are another writer who is cooler than you are? Nod.

If they catch you because you did not remember that the other author has a dog named Fluffy who tends to bite school bus drivers in the elbow, just nod again and say, “I was pretending. I was doing research on a YA character who is a compulsive liar and adopts the identities of total strangers as a way to deal with weight issues.”

They are writers. They will understand.

Realize that they will possibly hug you again in solidarity over the fact that you are so into your writing that you do compulsive liar reasearch at conferences.

Open your arms. Hug them back.

Seriously though, when you are at a conference or convention, remember to embrace and include other people. Don’t talk over them. Listen to their words. Make sure everyone has a chance to speak, to interact, to be included. When you don’t? You’re oppressing them and you’re losing the possibility of meeting a new friend or at least hearing a new take on things, or a perspective from someone’s mouth that isn’t yours. That’s what writing and communication is all about. It goes both ways.

Continue reading “Tips on Attending a Writing Conference for Children’s Writers When It Isn’t the Time of Covid-19”

We dogs smell poop the way sommeliers smell wine. It’s about nuance.

We dogs smell poop the way sommeliers smell wine. It’s about nuance.

 
 
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RANDOM THINGS YOU LEARN ABOUT EACH OTHER DURING LOCKDOWN

So, in this house we’ve learned a few random things that we didn’t know before we had to isolate ourselves because of the Covid-19 pandemic and these things include some things that were mentioned on Buzzfeed and some that weren’t including: 

  • Treasure Hunting For Gray Hair In Other People’s Hair Is Fun.
  • People Hook Up on the Scrabble app and Words With Friends. 
  • Sometimes Your Relatives Don’t Close Cabinets.
  • How Much Noise Your Fellow Family Members Including Dogs Make. 
  • Your Husband Is More Southern Than You Thought.

So, while we were checking that out we also saw that Buzzfeed had this other article called, “17 Delicious Cookout Recipes That Will Impress Your Southern Friends” and the first thing we thought was, “Do I have southern friends?” And then we remembered we have an entire Southern family and then we were ashamed. 

But the article was not all that Southern and it confused us.

Did the writer think Northern people don’t have BBQ pulled pork, buttermilk fried chicken, BBQ baby back ribs, corn on the cob, fried fish, burgers, baked mac and cheese normally? And why would Southern people be more impressed by that than Northerners? 

Like where did this regionally specific food divide even come from? The only southern thing that was on there that Carrie (from the North) didn’t grow up with were collard greens. She even had peach ice tea. Albeit, it was the Snapple kind.

They had baked beans on there. Dudes, they are called Boston Baked Beans for a reason. They had potato salad on there! It made no sense!  

And someone in the comments actually wrote: “This post should probably be changed to the perfect SOUTHERN cookout. Most of these things aren’t gonna fly at a cookout in Maine!”

And Carrie lost her chill.

All you all, don’t talk about Maine if you’ve never been here. Similarly, give shout-outs to the origins and history of the foods that you’re blogging about because erasure isn’t a cool thing and that goes for socio-economic erasure and ethnic erasure. The foods of different cultures sustain us, build us, bind us, and also reflect our histories–the good and horrible parts. 

What does this have to do with writing?

When you write about regions, think about it from more than your perspective. When you want to add some authenticity into your stories, think about the strange things you learn about your own house and family during lockdowns. Those details and nuance? That’s what makes a story authentic, not a bullshit blog post about how to impress your Southern friends at a cookout or a food post about Kimchi that never mentions it’s a Korean food. 

Writing Tip of the Pod

Be smart. Be detailed. Be full of empathy, but don’t be so full of yourself that you forget the backs and lives and hearts of the people who came before you. That goes not just for writers, but for regular humans, too. 

Dog Tip for Life

Dogs are all about origins and details. According to Sparrty, our dog, “We dogs smell poop the way sommeliers smell wine.” 

It’s all about the nuance. Be about the nuance not the generalization. That’s true about writing and thinking. Smell the bouquet, appreciate the differences. 

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.

Come Write With Me!

I coach, have a class, and edit things.


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 222,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


Link to Jose’s bonus interview. Jokes, Stuffies, And Using Your Weirdness for Good, An Interview with Jose De La Roca

Link to Caitlyn’s bonus episode. Books, Law School during Covid-19 and just being Kick Butt – Using Law to Create Lasting Change – Interview with Caitlyn Vanover

Link to this week’s episode of awesome.

Last week’s episode. Money Is Not the Enemy and the Habits of the Rich

NEW BOOK OF AWESOME

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.


IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

 

 

Monday Exists and So Do You

Look at you. Working towards your goals. Dreaming big dreams. Inspiring.

Doing.
One word forward.


Another one.


Look at you go.


xo

Gabby the Dog


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 218,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.

Link to Jose’sbonus interview.

This week’s episode link. 


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.


IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Emotional Immaturity is Us Farts are Everywhere

Emotional Immaturity is Us Farts are Everywhere

 
 
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So, um, as you can tell, during the self-isolation, stay-at-home orders of our pandemic, we have descended into the land of the immature. 

Carrie had high hopes of using this time to build up our intellectual skills and read the NYT and Rousseau and Descartes by the light of the pellet stove. But instead we watched Tiger King and What We Do in the Shadows obsessively. 

Which brings us to the topic of our episode.

Farts? 

No. Not farts again. But a Medium article by Niklas Goke entitled

“15 Signs You’re Emotionally Mature- How you know you handle life like an adult”

(The link is in the podcast notes.)

So, Niklas has a bunch of assertions about how we know if we are emotionally mature, which seems a pretty big construct in itself, right? Like how do we as a society define maturity if we as a society can’t even define what is truth? But whatever, we’re just going to go with it because it’s not farts. 

Niklas says that you have to train yourself to be emotionally mature and build the characteristics. He’s got fifteen characteristics because he’s apparently an overachieving guy. But he actually took his questions from The School of Life’s 25 suggestions about emotional maturity. So, it’s all derivative, baby. 

We’re joining in. And we’re condensing them into five.

It’s Not All About You All the Damn Time 

If someone tells you to stop farting in their face, maybe stop farting in their face? It’s good to remember the world isn’t just about you and the immediate release of your gastric discomfort. That’s mature. 

Not All People are Psychics

You might want to think about what your actions and facial expressions are telling the people who are stuck in the room with you. Nikos says we don’t all have a lovely Sims icon over our heads telling people our feelings. When people don’t realize you’re hungry or sad? That’s not always on them. It’s sometimes because you aren’t giving them the clues. Express how you feel so everyone doesn’t have to guess all the damn time. That’s mature. 

You Are Cool In Your Lack of Coolness

You aren’t perfect. You can be annoying. The people who matter will love you anyway. We have so many bad scripts and biases running in our heads. Don’t waste a lot of time or energy trying to pretend to be perfect.  It’s best to admit when you muck up or that you have weaknesses and be open about your boo-boos. It means your strong. That’s mature and also sexy. 

Try To Be Chill About the Dorks

Realize a lot of time when other people suck, it’s because they are lonely or upset or feeling super vulnerable. Try to respond with kindness unless they are really hurting you or a threat. Then respond with a restraining order. You have to protect you, too. That’s mature. 

It’s Cool To Celebrate Things  

It’s okay to realize that there’s no reason to be angry, to compromise, to love others even though they are flawed and appreciate those flaws, those compromises, your own ‘failures.’ Celebrate being alive every day and having enough money to get coffee, to be able to hug your friends, to go through life without a mask on. Those things we take for granted? They are big things even though they might seem small. Appreciation? That’s mature. And also sexy. 

Writing tip of the Pod:

It’s okay to have a mature character once in awhile.

Dog Tip for Life:

It’s okay to be the mature character once in awhile. It’s also okay to fart. 

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.

RECENT EPISODES OF AWESOME AND BONUS INTERVIEWS

This week’s episode link. 

Last week’s episode link 

Link to Sam’s interview.

A bonus interview with Dr. J.L. Delozier, Pennsylvania doctor and writer. 

bonus interview with poet and coach Fiona Mackintosh Cameron. 

NEW BOOK OF AWESOME

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

Continue reading “Emotional Immaturity is Us Farts are Everywhere”

What To Do When Life and Writing Sucks – Be Your Own Damn Hero

Being your own hero in the story of your writing is a big deal and it’s something we all shirk from. If we are the hero of the story, of our own life’s story, what does that exactly mean?

It means we are in charge of our story as much as we can be. It means that our actions and words and choices define what happens next in the plot of our life.

Yes, sometimes random horrors or brilliant moments happen and those things aren’t (or at least don’t directly seem) caused by us. But, those moment are still… They are part of our journey and who we are is determined by the choices we make as a reaction to those moments of random horror or beautiful brilliance.

One way to get a bit of traction in how your story goes in your literary life is to define what Todd Henry calls “The Big Three.” These aren’t exactly priorities. They aren’t exactly projects. They are the big loops happening in your creative life right now.

Here’s an example of a Big Three:

What is the problem I’m solving?

How do I add more value to the world?

How do I make what I’m doing matter?

Making your own big three is a big deal. It’s a bit like the six-month goal sheet that we make at the Writing Barn, but it’s more loose. And it’s best used when you apply it to every stimuli that you see. When you are watching a movie, think about your big three for a second. When you’re at a random meeting or a soccer game, think about your big three. How are you shaping your life and your art? How is your art shaping the world? Does it matter to you? How? How not?

What you put your energy and time into matters. The things you do, your commitments, have to not be so overwhelming that the creative part of your mind shrivels up and dies. You want to and deserve to flourish. Keep the things that matter to you, add value to you, and pluck off the rest.

And remember, so many ideas and epiphanies happen when your mind is at rest – in the shower, driving in the car (sort of at rest), at the edge of sleep, working out. There is a reason for that. It’s in the white space that ideas sprout, that innovation has the room to occur.

Writers Write

So what do you do when you can’t write? If our actions define us, then do we stop being a writer if we stop writing? It’s a good question.

Bring On The Pressure

Some of us kick butt when the pressure is on. Death. Pandemic. Job loss? For some of us those things actually make us run to the page and write and process and puke up all the words.

MAKE IT ALL GO AWAY

For some of us? Well, we can only write when we’re happy and excited and things are going in a kick-butt ways.

So What Do You Do If You Are In The Second Group?

It’s okay to take a hiatus. If you hold your breath, you don’t stop being a human. If you take a writing pause, you don’t stop being a writer.

Are you afraid that if you stop writing that you’ll never write again? If so, you need to get a support group to help you talk through that. You need people to keep you accountable.

Channel Your Inner Oprah

Be about the self care. That doesn’t mean binging Tiger King or running six miles while drinking green shakes made of kale. It’s about finding the right way to journey through your day, your week, your month and finding a balance. Find the things that make you happy and put them on your to-do list for a half hour a day. Make it a priority to make yourself happy and balanced. Don’t be all about work. Don’t be all about other people’s needs. Don’t be all about not writing. Take care of your damn self.

When people are hurt? They need to recover. Allow yourself to recover.

I am trying terribly hard to start running again. I am a person who actually has to wear knee braces when I run so my knees don’t pop out. Full disclosure: My knees pop out just sitting in a chair for three hours. And when they pop out? I can’t run for two weeks or so.

Running is my favorite thing to do.

But I have to pause every month or so and stop and let myself recover.

Writing and our brains can be like this, too. We need to give them time to revitalize, get strong. 

So how do we do that?

Create A Plan Of Action

Let’s say you’re a writer as a full-time job. You kind of have to keep writing to keep paying for your food, your house, and so on, right? What do you do if you are having a crisis of faith and brain?

  • Make a scheduled time plan and stick to it. Figure how long each tasks take and when the deadlines are and do a bit each day.
  • Remember why you are writing in the first place. 
  • Try to remember that things are almost always temporary and change is a natural state. This is how I get through almost every bad feeling and experience. I know that it can’t last forever. Sometimes I have to chant that to know it, but it works.
  • If something isn’t essential, put it at the bottom of your TO DO list. Like laundry. You don’t get to do laundry until you’ve written 300 words. That sort of thing. I do this all the time.
  • Take care of your darn self. Drink water not just tequila. Have a salad not just Doritos. Keep your body strong.
  • Check in with others. Find people who aren’t full of judgement and who are supportive. Check in with them every day. A little accountability and support go a long way in making you feel less alone. I promise.

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 213,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw, weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.

RECENT EPISODES OF AWESOME AND BONUS INTERVIEWS

This week’s episode link. 

Last week’s episode link 

Link to Sam Spellacy’s interview.

Link to Cara Sawyer (librarian of awesome) interview. 

A bonus interview with Dr. J.L. Delozier, Pennsylvania doctor and writer. 

bonus interview with poet and coach Fiona Mackintosh Cameron. 


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

Continue reading “What To Do When Life and Writing Sucks – Be Your Own Damn Hero”

First Kisses and ACDC Woman

I am now going to begin a series of first kiss blogs. Is this merely a way to prove that I have indeed been kissed? 

Well, sort of…

What does this have to do with writing???

A lot. I’ve recently realized that while none of my characters are me, that I occasionally use back-story incidents( that I’ve manipulated a lot) of my life to fill out the back story of their lives. 

So, here is a story of one of my first kisses.

I was sleeping over JJ’s house. She was a Reagen Republican and I was the only fifth-grader in NH who liked Jimmy Carter. I loved Jimmy Carter, actually.

JJ’s mom was a nurse and she quilted, big crazy quilts with velvet in them and fluttery stitches, which was really cool. Everybody in JJ’s family was large and tall and rugged. Her dad was around seven feet tall. I felt like a short unhairy hobbit in their log cabin, which was kind of cool because I liked hobbits even if I didn’t like all their hair.


So, we were all hanging out upstairs, JJ, her fourth-grader brother named Eric, and me. We snuck downstairs for some apple pie and there in the middle of the living room was her big mama dancing with her huge father to a Kenny Rogers tune. I think it was “Lady.”

The one that goes, I’m your knight in shining armor and I love you…


“EW!!!” J.J. screamed and we all slammed up the stairs, totally disgusted by the thought of parents dancing.


After a long talk about how grosser than gross parents are Eric went, “I hate Kenny Rogers.”


“Me too,” I said.


“Who do you like?”


“ACDC,” I say, which was true, because all the cool kids in my grade liked ACDC because they had a song called “Big Balls.” I had no idea what that song was referring to because I was an idiot, but I liked to sing it at the top of my lungs in my bedroom while my mom was still at work because I knew it was somehow naughty.  


Eric looked at me in shock. “Cool.”


I nodded in a way that I hoped conveyed that I thought it wasn’t a big deal.


“I love ACDC,” Eric said.


JJ then called him a twerp and told him to go to bed. 


JJ and I hunkered down and read books. We had to read the Hobbit for English.

I’d read it before and was just skimming it because I was lazy. We finally shut off the lights. 


Maybe two minutes later JJ’s door slammed open and someone smashed through the pitch black room and threw his chunky boy body on top of me in the bed. He screamed in a huge, deep, scary voice, “ACDC WOMAN!!!”


And then he kissed me. Pow. Sort of on my lips, but mostly on air because my mouth was open wide and screaming.


JJ threw on the light and her brother leapt up and out of the room, throwing the words “I love you, ACDC Woman” over his shoulder.


JJ, horrified, gaped at me. “My brother kissed you.”


I nodded. “I know. I was there.”


She glared at me. “Shut up. You like Jimmy Carter.”


“You like Reagen.”


“My brother,” she declared, “should have better taste.”

How about you? Did ACDC ever get you kissed? Do you have weird first kiss stories? If you’re a writer, do bits of your past ever end up in your characters’ back stories?

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 209,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw, weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


RECENT EPISODES OF AWESOME AND BONUS INTERVIEWS

This week’s episode link. 

Last week’s episode link 

Link to Sam’s interview.

A bonus interview with Dr. J.L. Delozier, Pennsylvania doctor and writer. 

bonus interview with poet and coach Fiona Mackintosh Cameron. 

Continue reading “First Kisses and ACDC Woman”

Fart Jokes, Zoom Fatigue and Coronavirus

Fart Jokes, Zoom Fatigue and Coronavirus

 
 
00:00 / 00:27:05
 
1X
 

What do you call a person who never farts in front of other people? 
A private tooter.

What do you call it when someone eats refried beans and onions?
Tear gas.

Success is like a fart. It only bothers people when it’s not their own.

How do you say “fart” in German?
“Farfrompoopin.”

These jokes are from Fatherly https://www.fatherly.com/play/21-best-funniest-fart-jokes-kids/

Why are we talking about fart jokes? Well, because right now there’s a pandemic and people are dying and economies are crashing and there’s a lot of pain out there. Throughout history, people have been in pain, lived and died, faced wars, pandemics, economic uncertainty, loss of freedom, a lack of human rights. 

And throughout history there have been fart jokes. As writers and humans, it’s good to think about that. 

The oldest joke in recorded history? It was a fart joke. Flatulence is almost always funny unless it is a joke told by Ancient Sumerians, maybe? 

Here’s the joke: 

“Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap.”

I am going to be honest here. I don’t get it. 

The oldest British Joke is this one from 10th Century—“What hangs at a man’s thigh and wants to poke the hole that it’s often poked before? Answer: A key.”

Those naughty Anglo-Saxons, you can tell Shaun’s related to them. Notice their joke is not about farts, but a twist on something anatomical, a set-up and a reversing of expectation. 

Jokes are often about rebellion and not caring about cultural taboos, right? 

According to the author of the article in the Conversion there are certain theories about what makes these sort of jokes funny: 

The superiority theory says that we laugh when we feel “sudden glory,” as Thomas Hobbes put it – a sudden sense of superiority over a person, especially someone to whom we ordinarily feel inferior. Cases of slapstick humor, such as the pie-in-the-face or someone slipping on a banana peel, fall into this category.

Kant and Schopenhauer argued on behalf of the incongruity theory, which says we laugh at the juxtaposition of things that don’t ordinarily go together, such as a talking dog or a bearded woman. 

And relief theorists like Spencer and Freud maintain that laughter is how we relieve nervous tension regarding subjects or situations that are socially taboo or inappropriate. This explains the popular appeal of jokes based on sex, ethnicity and religion.

Last week, the BBC posted a story about Zoom fatigue. Manyu Jiang wrote: 

“Your screen freezes. There’s a weird echo. A dozen heads stare at you. There are the work huddles, the one-on-one meetings and then, once you’re done for the day, the hangouts with friends and family.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, we’re on video calls more than ever before – and many are finding it exhausting.”

Jiang talked to experts and learned that video chats are hard and tiring because our brains have to go into overtime to understand non verbal cues, the pitch of a voice, and so on. The silence that happens is not natural. It makes us anxious. A 1.2 second delay in response makes people think that you are a jerk.

And most of us are not reality tv stars and we see our face and we feel watched. It is like we are on stage. 

And the calls remind us of how weird these circumstances are. We do not get to hang out with our friends or our coworkers and these video calls remind us of that and not only that the bubbles of our lives (work, family, friends, school) are suddenly all in the same physical space. That can weird us out. 

So tell fart jokes if it is appropriate. Turn off the video if they let you. Put your screen to the side instead of the front of you. Build space around the meetings if you can. And breathe. 

Try to remember the value that happens in humor and connections and fart jokes. 

Writing Tip of the Pod

Fart jokes last longer than most other things, just like farts. 

Dog Tip For Life

Right now, we need more fart jokes and less Zoom meetings. We need to engage with the people we’re isolated with and notice the nuance, the pauses, the gaps. 


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.

RECENT EPISODES OF AWESOME AND BONUS INTERVIEWS

This week’s episode link. 

Last week’s episode link 

Link to Sam’s interview.

A bonus interview with Dr. J.L. Delozier, Pennsylvania doctor and writer. 

bonus interview with poet and coach Fiona Mackintosh Cameron. 


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

THIS IS WHAT IT’S ABOUT

Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.

But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor. 

As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.

You can order it here. 


IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods

ART NEWS

Becoming

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

WHAT ELSE? 

I’m still revising ANOTHER NOW, which is a big time travel story. It is killing me. 

AND FINALLY, MY NEW PATREON STORY

And over on Patreon, I’m starting a new story this week! It’s a chapter a month if you want to check it out. It basically costs $1 a month to listen to my story and $3 a month to read it. There’s a new chapter every week. It’s super fun; I promise. Here’s an excerpt.