Don’t Say “Epileptics Everywhere.”

“We need to ask ourselves: Are we merely depicting the world as they know it – or are we replicating a particular conventional sense of reality, reinforcing it, contributing to the stability of a word-view we ourselves have been fed.”

During the Super Bowl a person I know posted something about Weeknd’s halftime show and in the comments someone said this,

Epilepetics everywhere are not having a good time atm. Jesus, I can’t even have my head in the same direction as the TV.

Random Facebook Person

And I got a bit tweaked. I don’t know the person who posted that comment. I don’t know if she has epilepsy, but I do and her generalization?

It perpetuated a stereotype about epilepsy. And it also defined everyone who has epilepsy as “epileptics” as if that’s the one defining trait of us all.

Here’s the thing: Not everyone has the same kind of seizure.

They aren’t all big, dramatic, tv seizures.

Sometimes they can be petit mal seizures, lasting less than five seconds. It’s like blanking out but a bit more complicated.

Sometimes they can be a much longer seizure that involves both sides of the brain.

Sometimes they can be a person just having a strange sensation or smell.

Sometimes they can involve a repetitive motion.

But the thing is that not every person with epilepsy has the same kind of seizure and not every person with epilepsy has the same trigger or cause for the seizure.

There’s some more about seizure types here.

But, remember, according to this person on Facebook, “Epilepetics everywhere are not having a good time atm.”

Let me tell you, I have epilepsy and I like the Weeknd and I had a good time with that performance. Was I the only person with epilepsy who did? I don’t think so.

Because remember, just like how all people from one gender, one sexuality, one race, one religion, one job, one state aren’t the same? Well, neither are all people who have epilepsy or autism or ADHD or anxiety or depression or anything, damn it.

Yes. I swore. I swear when I get all self-righteous.

But let’s get to a tiny bit of facts so you can believe me.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation,

For about 3% of people with epilepsy, exposure to flashing lights at certain intensities or to certain visual patterns can trigger seizures.

That’s right. Three percent.

Whether this poster had epilepsy or not, it’s still important for her to realize that her experience doesn’t equal everyone’s experience. It’d also be great for programs with flashing lights at certain intensities to give that three percent some warning, too.

Generalizations are difficult to avoid but as writers and as human beings who want to build a better and kinder world, it’s important to think outside our own experiences and generalizations sometimes.


In a 2005 speech in Nashua, N.H., author M.T. Anderson asked the audience, “We need to ask ourselves: Are we merely depicting the world as they know it – or are we replicating a particular conventional sense of reality, reinforcing it, contributing to the stability of a word-view we ourselves have been fed.”

He was not talking about stereotypes in the sense of disabilities or issues of race, class, gender or sexual orientation, but his question applies to every author who writes a narrative that includes someone with a disability.

We have to ask:

Am I reinforcing stereotypes?  

Am I “contributing to the stability” of stereotypes that I learned as a child?

I’ve discussed in the past how disability stereotypes can be avoided when we’re writing our characters. And I’ll keep discussing it in the future.

In his study, Colin Barnes wrote,

“Disabling stereotypes which medicalize, patronize, criminalize and dehumanize disabled people abound in books, films, on television, and in the press. They form the bedrock on which the attitudes towards, assumptions about and expectations of disabled people encounter daily, and contribute significantly to their systematic exclusion from mainstream community life.” (5)

Barnes

One reason children with epilepsy need good books about their disorder is because society needs those books, too. Social media proves that over and over again.

Society needs those books to combat discrimination and to enlighten its members.

Epilepsy Foundation-convened group on photosensitive seizures, published in 2005. (Harding, G., Wilkins, A., Erba, G., Barkley, G.L., & Fisher, R. (2005). Photic- and Pattern-induced Seizures: Expert Consensus of the Epilepsy Foundation of America Working Group. Epilepsia, 46(9), 1423-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2005.31305.x.)

LET’S HANG OUT!

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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 261,000 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.

Torturing Barbie: Archetype, Stereotype, or Cliché?

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Torturing Barbie: Archetype, Stereotype, or Cliché?
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In the past month, we’ve been talking a lot about archetypes and someone asked us what the difference is between an archetype and a stereotype. 

So here you go, listeners! 

First up, archetypes!

According to masterclass.com when it comes to writing an archetype is, 

“An emotion, character type, or event that is notably recurrent across the human experience. In the arts, an archetype creates an immediate sense of familiarity, allowing an audience member to relate to an event or character without having to necessarily ponder why they relate. Thanks to our instincts and life experiences, we’re able to recognize archetypes without any need for explanation.”

Masterclass

So, what’s a stereotype?

It can be positive. It can be negative. But it’s freaking simplistic. 

And even positive stereotypes can be negative like if you say, “Women are good mothers,” it can be harmful because all women don’t want to be mothers and women aren’t unhappy if they aren’t mothers and some women’s biology doesn’t work for mothering and that doesn’t mean they are unhappy either.  If you go one step further, it equates a woman’s value and role to that biological use. It also makes the assumption that all women are more nurturing and have those motherly positive attributes which means that men don’t. 

And what’s a cliché? 

It’s something you see so many times in tv, stories, life, that it becomes ultra banal, ultra boring and ultra predictable. 

The mad scientist.

The nerdy, but secretly sexy librarian.

The rich old cranky lady.

The egotistical warrior.

How do you stay away from clichés or stereotypes? You can parody them. You can deconstruct them. You can think about how to subvert them into something unexpected. Can the old rich lady actually be kind and not wear high heels and have a small dog? Can the egotistical warrior not be egotistical and self-effacing and neurotic? Can the nerdy librarian not be secretly sexy but actually overtly sexy in a glam way? 


Writing Type of the Pod

Think about your main character and the other major ones in your story. Are they normal? Typical? How can you tweak that and surprise the reader? 

Dog Type for Life

How are you a cliché? Are you fulfilling society’s expectations? How can you step out of your role and people’s expectations? 


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 245,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


Last week’s episode link! It’s about dirty feet and archetypes. Sexy! 

Last week’s bonus podcast with writer Holly Schindler!

This week’s link to our podcast about fatal errors, scenes, and ghost reaper sauce

This week’s 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.


COME WRITE WITH ME! 

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


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME- THE PLACES WE HIDE

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.


New Session of Write! Submit! Support!

Write. Submit. Support. for Novelists with Carrie Jones ONLINE

These six-month courses offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions. We offer support whether you’re submitting to agents or, if agented, you’re weathering submissions to editors. We discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, the feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more.

Find out if WSS is right for you at this FREE WEBINAR on Thursday July 23rd, from 7-8:30pm CDT.Founder Bethany Hegedus will share an inspiring talk on the literary life and will be joined by WSS instructors/TA’s, plus past and present WSS writers who will answer all your burning questions!

This is a great opportunity to meet this session’s faculty, talk with previous students about their growth throughout the program and participate in some inspirational activities led by Bethany Hegedus. *If you cannot attend live, no need to worry! All registrants will receive a video playback of the event!
Register Now for the Free Info Session!