Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation

Join an internationally bestselling children's book author and her down-home husband and their dogs as they try to live a happy, better life by being happier, better people . You can use those skills in ...more

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March 01, 2022 00:16:44
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To Hell With Goals. Sort Of. How To Find The Best Habits

A lot of people give up on things because they focus on goals. Their goal is: Write 50,000 words by April.Lose 20 pounds before the wedding.Have $100,000 in the bank by January. Goals are lovely. Goals are sexy. Goals work brilliantly for some people, but for some of us goals are absolute bullshit. I know this. Yet I still fall into the goal trap all the time. If I don’t lose twenty pounds and only 19.5, I feel like I’ve failed. If I only write 49,998 words, I feel like I’ve failed. And I’m not even going to talk about the bank thing. That’s because goals are all or nothing. You get them or you don’t. Habits though? Habits are an author's and a human's best friend. Habits are amazing and good ones? They create other good ones. Charles Duhigg wrote,The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. And in it he talks about keystone habits and how if we understand habits, we can figure out how to kick ass, basically. He wrote in an interview: “Take, for instance, a bad habit I had of eating a cookie every afternoon. By learning how to analyze my habit, I figured out that the reason I walked to the cafeteria each day wasn't because I was craving a chocolate chip cookie. It was because I was craving socialization, the company of talking to my colleagues while munching. That was the habit's real reward. And the cue for my behavior - the trigger that caused me to automatically stand up and wander to the cafeteria, was a certain time of day.“So, I reconstructed the habit: now, at about 3:30 ...

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February 22, 2022 00:15:56
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Making Life Changing Moments and Booby Free Day

There is an article over on Medium that annoyed Carrie, which to be fair, Medium articles by self-professed self-help gurus often do. Cough. It's not because the guy has 250,000 followers, she swears. It's just because he's a bro-looking white guy regurgitating other people's stuff. And here's the thing. To make impact, you don't want to vomit up other people's books or thoughts. You want to be your own person. In New Hampshire literary circles of the 1970s and 1980s there was a dynamic poetry husband and wife duo of Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon. They were nothing alike in their poetry and Donald usually received a lot more kudos, but Jane? She made her moments. I'll always remember my Aunt Maxine introducing me to Jane when I was eight or something and saying, "She is a spectacular poet." She pretty much gasped it all out because she was so enthralled. I always wanted to be gasp worthy, honestly--in a good way, right? So, there's a piece in the National Book Review by Mike Pride that talks a bit about Jane (who died at just 47) where it talks about how her husband dealt with people being stupid about the difference between their poems and styles. "Hall reacted when anyone suggested that he was a poet of big ideas while his wife wrote sweet and simple poems. “Yeah,” he’d say, “her style is a glass of water – a 100-proof glass of water.” There is a tendency for us all to look away from the moments, the truths of our lives and existence and instead go for those superlative, larger than life moments, stories, celebrities, all that ...

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February 21, 2022 00:02:01
The Apple

The Apple

Hi! This year (2022), I've decided to share a poem on my blog and podcast and read it aloud. It's all a part of my quest to be brave and apparently the things that I'm scared about still include: My spoken voiceMy raw poems. Thanks for being here with me and cheering me on and I hope that you can become braver this year, too! The apple fell to the ground joining the others; rotting had already begun the way it does. We all fall and crack. On the wire a squirrel ran to the right, green apple in her mouth, prized obviously, bigger than her head. Another fell before a second squirrel appeared, apple in mouth, bounding on the wire to the left this time. I know I’m not the squirrels. I know I am not an apple (though I feel round lately), but I gather things too big to hold and drop so many, bringing them to the road where they’ll be carried off by others or maybe smooshed under wheels of cars or just left to rot. I know. I’m not the apple rolling aimlessly until I can’t move anymore. I know. Hey, thanks for listening to Carrie Does Poems. These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in Carrie, so thank you for your support. The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Eric Van der Westen and the track is called A Feather and off the album The Crown Lobster Trilogy. While Carrie only posts poems weekly here, she has them (in written form) almost ...

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February 15, 2022 00:10:24
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Why Dogs Kick Dirt In The Air After Pooping And You Should Too

So, if you've ever had the pleasure of dog ownership, you know that dogs do their business and then kick dirt up in the air or grass or just nothing. They stand there looking kind of silly and kick or scrape at the ground. Sometimes their paws don't even make contact with anything but they still do it and look like they are inventing some new TikTok dance that we're not coordinated enough to do. They aren't. They're just acting on instinct. According to the AKC Dogs have glands in their paws that release pheromones that trigger social interaction with other dogs. These pheromones from dogs’ feet last longer than the scent of urine or feces, making them more effective as a communication tool. If you’ve ever sniffed your dogs’ paws, you’ll notice a specific smell that isn’t always a clear sign that they need a bath or grooming appointment — it’s likely that your pup has recently stimulated the pads on their paws to produce pheromones and spread their “scent.” While these chemical reactions aren’t visible to the human eye, they’re as powerful as putting a mailbox out in front of your house with your last name on it to claim property. The behavior dates back thousands of years, when dogs lived in the wild and were responsible for fending off prey. In the presence of other dogs, the action was used as a protection method. Your pup isn’t attempting to ruin the lawn, but simply letting other dogs know they’re in charge.  What can we learn from this? Well, we could say that we're learning that silly seeming behavior can have deeper roots, right? Or we can say not to make assumptions ...

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February 08, 2022 00:15:09
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It's the Moments Not the Superlatives that Matter

Ashley Bryan died this week. He was 98 and a brilliant artist, writer, and human who lived on an island in Maine near us and was the keynote speaker at a book festival we had. In a 2017 Horn Book interview with Roger Sutton and Nikki Giovanni, he said, If someone says they are taking my time — that's the one thing you never can take. I have to offer it. Time is of the moment, and the moment is all I have. If that moment isn't precious to me, then I'm not living. Nothing is more important or precious to me right now than both of us talkingAshley Bryan Ashley also said in that same interview I love poetry. It's at the heart of everything I do. Poetry transforms what we call language, and uses language as the stuff to become something else. I get spun around by what happens in words. When that occurs, it inspires images that seem so original to me as an artist, even though I'm following what the poem has offered. So, I, Carrie was a bit heartbroken by this, not just because Ashley Bryan like me goes out in public with paint on his sweater (as you see in a photo on our blog taken when he was at the book festival), but because Ashley was such a light in this world. He seemed to get it--to not just rejoice in the moment, but to also rejoice in the twists to the moments. In a New York Times article from 2020 entitled "Why Mundane Moments Matter," Simran Sethi writes Although we, as a culture, typically favor the ...

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February 01, 2022 00:19:41
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Feeling Worthy is Complete B.S.

Improving yourself is a really great goal. If you can quantify your progress and you’re into that? It’s even better, but what actually matters is what’s going on inside of you and that’s hard to quantify. Emotions are a little bit subjective. Then can change and cascade and they aren’t easy to describe, let alone quantify sometimes. But what we think it’s really about–this whole self-improvement/self-discover thing is about not feeling like poop all the time inside your brain and emotions. Feeling comfortable with who you are is important. Reconnecting with who you are means that you are so much more free, so much more capable, so much more courageous. And feeling comfortable with yourself and your weirdness and your moods and the thoughts that filter in and out of your brain is really the thing. It’s kind of THE big thing. It’s sort of what we all want. But when we want that comfort, it’s as if any internal suffering we have becomes a failure to the goal of self-improvement and that’s not super helpful. We’re allowed to f-up. We’re allowed to not feel constantly comfortable and not be ashamed or feel unworthy. It’s part of being alive and human, and it’s okay. But most of us don’t want to feel like poop all the time. That’s definitely okay, too. What matters is living with your whole heart, living with purpose and living with compassion for yourself and others. We have stories in our lives. We have patterns. And when we’re aware of them and where they come from? That helps us understand that we are okay, that we’re worthy, that we can be the good guy in our own damn ...

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